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Michael Andrews. A Fiber Artist at the Widget Art Gallery. ARSHAKE by Elena Giulia Rossi

Some time ago, Arshake introduced artist Chiara Passa’s Widget Art Gallery, a gallery that exists in the space of a tiny app, just like the ones we use every day from the home screen of our computers (like the calculator, the weather forecast etc). This nifty app can be easily downloaded on mobile devices like iPhone or iPod touch. This makes it a pocket-sized gallery, which we can consult at any time to see the current exhibition or browse the archive. “Here, in this tiny space” – to return to the description we wrote in 2013 – “or in this microscopic reconstruction of a universe – according to how we want to see it – the artist becomes architect, gallerist, curator, divulger of works or artists considered ‘smeared’ in the everyday world, but also a jealous collector and archivist. Everything intertwines in an interconnected discourse packed with cross-references simplified by the app’s visual immediacy and simplicity of interaction. The works exhibited are created in various formats – audio file, video, zip folder, server-side procedure and gif, the latter being the favoured form because of its multifunctional nature and ease of exchange between video, photo and simple static images”. Three years have passed since we first spoke of Widget. At that time it had been four years since the gallery opened its virtual doors in 2009. A lot has happened in the meantime, numerous artists have taken their turn to define that physical space which is so real and yet so surprisingly malleable, even between the classical walls in which it is shown. Here, artworks are realised in the perception of diverse mediums, such as projections, installations, collages, materialised in a perceptual hallucination, but no less real for all that. Chiara Passa’s curatorial choices in her selection of artists, like the works conceived by them for Widget, show a growing interest in the hybridisation of languages. Artists who are not particularly digital have taken the challenge of entering the room, translating their creative thought into the virtual dimension while always leaving a trace of their own stylistic signature. Over time, the curator’s interest has turned increasingly to the involvement of artists who are not necessarily linked to media art, yet whose work displays particularly versatile and experimental style. Among these are TOMASO BINGA (the pseudonym of Bianca Pucciarelli Menna), a forerunner for over half a century in research and experimentation into sound poetry, who took a male name as an ironic and controversial comment on the privileges of the male-oriented world. Thus a 1974 performance of hers, “Donna Ingabbiata” (caged woman), in which she is fed by a male hand through the bars of a cage, is brought into the Widget exhibition space (July-August 2015). The image of a head dangling from the ceiling poses the question of the emancipation at the disposal of the media dimension. This was not a pre-meditated path. For the artist-curator, it was natural to follow the changes in language, which come from technology and waver between the liquid world and the real world, between physical tools and virtual tools, just as for the artists involved it was natural to be interested in experimentation beyond technique and beyond the screen. Today Widget presents a project by Michael C. Andrews, a visual artist known for his work in the fibre art movement. “I’m filling the WAG room with flirtatious bodies. Each one does a slow striptease but instead of removing articles of clothing, the bodies are erotically turning themselves inside out. There will be five performers in total over the course of the WAG exhibition. Each one will appeal to a variety of tastes and desires. It’s like a drag show for the bodiless”. An artist accustomed to creating by doing, to exploring sculpture and action through textile construction, virtualises his performance through a performative act. If you access Widget today, you can take a look at the second of the five performances and browse past projects in the archive, in a space where the language of the code allows our perception to take shape.


Behind the gif (ITA) May 2016. Link

Chiara Passa nasce a Roma, il web la consacra Artista Digitale; i suoi progetti sono in mostra dal 5 aprile al 22 luglio 2016 alla mostra STOP AND GO, l’arte delle gif animate a Roma. Nel suo stravagante sito si racconta con molta precisione che non si occupa solo di gif ma spazia tra tutto ciò che riguarda l’internet-art: animazioni, video-installazioni interattive, opere site-specific e video-sculture, sviluppo widget ed app per dispositivi mobili.

01 Qual è il percorso progettuale con cui crei gif?
Adopero le nuove tecnologie ad ampio raggio per comprenderne ed estrinsecarne il linguaggio. Sperimento in maniera creativa e personale sulle molteplici possibilità che i new media continuamente mi offrono. La mia ricerca artistica – comprese le GIF – è caratterizzata da uno studio costante sulla forma geometrica ed essenziale e da una visione dinamica e tridimensionale dello spazio virtuale. Costruisco GIF adoperando vari software e linguaggi, dalla vecchia maniera frame by frame all’utilizzo del software jolly After Effects.

02 Quanto tempo investi per creare una gif?
Dipende dalla complessità del progetto artistico, in genere da due giorni a un mese circa. La Gif-scultura Dimensioning extrusion n.1 in mostra a Stop & Go , è un progetto più complesso per la cui realizzazione ho impiegato un buon mesetto. La GIF-scultura infatti è costituita da una parte effimera e da una materica, ispirandosi al concetto di architettura impossibile. L’opera creata attraverso la tecnica della realtà spaziale aumentata, detta anche video-mapping, è formata da una GIF-animazione sintetica che crea livelli meta-dimensionali di lettura dell’opera stessa, ridisegnando nuove percezioni, volumi deduttivi e confini su di un terreno tridimensionale estremo, ossia su una superficie scultorea geometrica minimalista ottenuta attraverso la programmazione e successivamente la stampa 3D.

03 Hai qualche artista di ispirazione? Quale?
Mi ispira la geometria strutturale, le teorie cartesiane percorritrici del cyberspace, lo spazio architettonico e internet come luogo. Ho sempre analizzato i cambiamenti dello spazio liquido (Novak) attraverso una varietà di tecnologie e dispositivi. Le mie GIF-animazioni, come ad esempio The fourth dimension banner, fruibile attraverso il web, penetra l’architettura della zona liminale dell’interfaccia di internet, sospendendo il confine tra mondo reale e virtuale. L’esperienza di varcare l’interfaccia offre allo spettatore un viaggio dove forme sintetiche diventano disegno, struttura, architettura e realtà.

04 Perché in questi anni le gif hanno avuto questo successo?
La tecnica GIF esiste dai primordi del web e continua ad avere molto successo proprio per la gran duttilità del formato stesso che varia tra immagine fissa, fotografia, animazione e video. Le opere d’arte sotto forma di GIF si prestano e si adattano brillantemente alla versatilità di uno spazio open e multifunzionale come internet, diventando infatti un linguaggio molto usato dagli artisti contemporanei.

05 Come è nata la passione per queste immagini in movimento?
Ti occupi di altro nella vita? Sono un’artista attiva già dal 1996/97. Il mio lavoro combina vari mezzi per creare opere multimediali sia nello spazio internet che nello spazio tangibile; producendo animazioni, video-installazioni interattive, progetti d’internet-art site-specific, video-sculture e art-objects. Inoltre sviluppo widgets e applicazioni per dispositivi mobili che utilizzano spesso Realtà Aumentata e Realtà virtuale. Le GIF che creo sono oggetti animati sotto forma di opere d’arte “materializzate” attraverso lo spazio digitale. L’opera d’arte “animata” nella mia ricerca artistica è una entità che si organizza da sé attraverso la superficie. Gli oggetti GIF che si presentano ai nostri sensi attraverso l’animazione, vivono di una metafisica propria durando oltre tempo e coinvolgono lo spettatore a confrontarsi con una sorta di altra spazialità, un altrove digitale che è ormai la nostra quarta dimensione, impossibile da ignorare, poiché è il nostro tempo reale che spendiamo ogni giorno in senso digitale/virtuale proprio attraverso i cosiddetti “nuovi media”. Dal 2009 mi occupo anche della Widget Art Gallery, una web-app che ho progettato sotto forma di galleria d’arte virtuale concepita come una stanza singola che ogni due mesi ospita una mostra personale site-specific. Le opere esibite presso la WAG sono proprio GIF animate, tutte scrupolosamente conservate e collezionate in un archivio online accessibile a tutti.

06 Hai qualche consiglio da dare ai futuri giffer?
Non lasciarsi ingenuamente affascinare da nessun mezzo e in generale sperimentare il più possibile. Direi ai giffer di guardare anche l’attuale e interessante formato APNG (Animated Portable Network Graphics), che può considerarsi una sorta di evoluzione del formato GIF e che, a differenza di quest’ultimo, offre maggiori possibilità; infatti supporta immagini animate a 24 bit e la trasparenza a 8 bit, diventando veloce e versatile soprattutto nei browser.

07 Si dice gif o jif?
È ancora in corso il dibattito proprio presso la società autrice CompuServe e la giusta pronuncia parrebbe essere GIF con la G morbida. A me personalmente piace pronunciare una soft-GGGIF!

08 Gif preferite?
La collezione della Widget Art Gallery, una galleria che propone ogni giorno materiale visivo di digital art.

Super Place by Helen Longstreth. Postmatter magazine, April 2016.

Step into a new digital dimension in an exhibition at Furtherfield that challenges the architecture of the gallery. "I wanted to shake up the static concept of space, by searching for new possibilities and dimensions offered by the digital world" "Viewers are forced to confront themselves within a fourth digital dimension, a place that has become intrinsic to our daily lives and is impossible to ignore" Nestled between an adventure playground, a boating pond and an athletics track in the heart of Finsbury Park the unassuming Furtherfield gallery, part of the larger arts organisation Furtherfield, has been hosting exhibition engaging with the crossovers between art, technology and social change since 2004. For their latest show Dimensioning – Live Architecture, Italian new media artist Chiara Passa plays with the possibilities of digital dimensions within the physical gallery space. Exploring architecture as interface, Passa has designed an interactive site-specific installation in which digital devices interact with the gallery walls, to create a multi-dimensional extension of space, allowing visitors travel through the walls and into the moving diagrams. Sketched across the white gallery walls, fragile lines form complex architectural shapes that create the impression of walking through a geometric equation. On each wall these sketches correspond with a smaller complex shape which, when viewed via a specially designed app, becomes a window into a virtual world as the images suddenly stretch and animate on the screen. The exhibition ends in a small room covered in colourful geometric shapes. For a final disorienting act, visitors are able to experience a version of this room in a 360° virtual reality animation, where the moving diagrams take over and a new architectural dimension takes shape.

POSTmatter: You describe your work with virtual architecture as creating "super places". What do you mean by this?

Chiara Passa: A ‘super place’ is a space that moves beyond its regular static function, to form new dimensions. For the ‘Live Architecture’ project I created a series of digital and interactive artworks, which aim to reshape architecture within the digital setting of the internet, to challenge the notion of architecture itself and transform it into something alive and vibrant.

PM: In what ways do technologies help create a new sense of place for you?

CP: With Dimensioning – Live Architecture I wanted to shake up the static concept of space, by searching for new possibilities and dimensions offered by the digital world. In the exhibition I have used augmented reality technology to highlight the way that augmented reality can actually diminish concepts of reality itself. By expanding and modifying reality, such technologies can increase the premise of ‘unreality’ in our normal surroundings.

PM: Architecture is clearly a central feature of this show. What draws you to explore and experiment with architecture within the built environment?

CP: The constructed environments that I have developed for the Furtherfield Gallery are characterised by the shape and geometrics of three-dimensional and virtual space. I wanted visitors to the gallery to engage with this environment through the interface, in order to see synthetic shapes move from structure and architecture into fantasy. Through the walls I wanted to put the viewers into the 3D software scenario I used to build the whole interactive installation. Once in this scenario the viewers are forced to confront themselves within a fourth digital dimension, a place that has become intrinsic to our daily lives and is impossible to ignore.

PM: How does the interplay between digital and physical realms come into your work?

CP: Within the installation at Furtherfield the viewers are absorbed into an illusory and transitory vision of the spaces adjusted to their hidden requirements. According to Leon Battista Alberti belief’s on the universe, if space is the extension of our intuitions of the physical world, Dimensioning – Live Architecture wants to expand this space and the possibilities of perception.

PM: What appeals to you about working with new media art and new technologies like VR?

CP: I use new technologies to experiment with the creative possibilities of new media art. VR and AR make everything possible in terms of expanding concepts of space, place and time. Often I build virtual interactive environments that develop all around the viewers, using camera tracking system technology that reacts to their movements. For these works I redesign the whole ambient building, creating virtual atmospheres and vibrations beyond corporeal limits.


Chiara Passa. Dimensioning Live Architecture on Arshake 2016 by Elena Giulia Rossi. Online article with images.


Furtherfield Gallery presents Dimensioning Live Architecture, a solo show by Chiara Passa featuring the most recent artworks in her Live Architecture series.The digital dimension is analysed from an architectural perspective, using a combination of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies which interact with physical space, starting from the murals which cover the walls of the gallery and which open out into the digital field.
From here further spaces are reached, "super places" generated by and in our system of perceptions, stimulated and augmented by digital technologies and the latest platforms, such as Google Cardboard viewers.Visitors stand in the middle of the "window-camera" view of the software, which has also been used to build the animations on display. They use augmented reality to "travel through" the walls, into the diagrams. Worlds open the doors to other worlds and synthetic shapes become design, structure, architecture and reality."
Between analogue and virtual, Chiara Passa's work is a journey inside digital architecture which opens up the world that exists and lives within the film of interface and that hints at infinite expansion, architectural combinations and recombinations, just as the animation created for Arshake were to invite us to come in and explore the space inside the banner.Chiara Passa, media artist (Rome 1973). Graduated at Fine Arts Academy of Rome; master in new audio-visual mediums at the Faculty of Modern Literature. Her artwork combines many media and platforms analysing changes in 'liquid space' through a variety of techniques, technologies and devices – often constructed using augmented reality and the virtual reality technologies. She works with animation and interactive video-installation; digital art in public space as site-specific artwork and video-mapping; video- sculptures and objects; art-applications and widgets for mobile platforms.Dimensioning Live Architecture,
She explores the potentials offered by the intrinsic languages of these emerging platforms to experimenting in a rigorous and personal way with the full expressive range and "unknown creative possibilities that the new media are continuously offering to me". She received the E-Content Award (2012). Her work is regularly exhibited internationally in galleries and at festivals, conferences and institutions including ISEA, Vortex Dome (USA), Media Art Histories Conference (DE), Electrofringe (AU), FILE | Electronic Language International Festival(BR), CCCB – Centro de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (ES).
Furtherfield is a leading organisation for art, technology and social change. Furtherfield Gallery and Commons spaces in the middle of London's Finsbury Park explore complex themes relating to digital culture, inspiring diverse people to get involved with arts and technology on their own terms. Debate is facilitated amongst an active international community of artists and thinkers via online platforms, combined with accessible art shows and labs to enable co-creation and widen participation. Furtherfield is a not-for profit, artist led organisation, an Arts Council England National Portfolio organisation, supported by Haringey Council.


Furtherfield Gallery is proud to present Dimensioning – Live Architecture an exhibition of new digital artworks by Italian artist Chiara Passa. Text and pdf Press.

Passa's concept of «super places» and her search for new dimensions, or "campo piu' in là" (a "further field") underpin her work using architecture as an interface to understand the possibilities of the digital dimension. She uses augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) to create interactive installations in which the technologies punch through and pull out a new sense of place in combinations of interior, architectural and natural environments.
In this exhibition visitors can explore her new digitally mediated perception of space and time in an animated multi-dimensional 'trompe l'oeil' of the gallery rooms as 3D wireframe view. Visitors stand in the middle of the "window-camera" view of the software, which has also been used to build the animations on display. They use augmented reality to "travel through" the walls, into the diagrams.
"Worlds open the doors to other worlds and synthetic shapes become design, structure, architecture and reality."
Passa's work offers a refreshingly passionate approach to experimental and philosophical play with technologies. We think that this is especially valuable in an age where our expressive range and behaviour is increasingly pre-determined by the digital tools, techniques and devices that we use daily, and the interests, experiences and values of those who create them. Also for this exhibition visitors will experience her VR 3D animation using a Google Cardboard viewer.

“The fourth dimension banner”, site-specific animation for arshake.com Dec. 2013-Feb. 2014. Text by Elena Giulia Rossi.

Fourth Dimension banner is the project that Italian artist Chiara Passa has conceived as a site-specific for the Arshake banner, a continuation of Live Architectures series of digital and interactive installations created over time in a multi-faceted production developed to «reconsider the architecture of outer and indoor areas as an alive and vibrant entity». This is one of the many forms in which takes shape the «Liquid Architecture» of cyberspace, as Marcos Novak had anticipated in the early 1990s; «metamorphic» architecture made up of «fluctuating relations of abstract elements»[1], architecture which tends towards music.
Chiara Passa has always analysed changes in liquid space through a variety of techniques, technologies and devices. Animation, video, installations, net art, interactive projects and video-mapping all become instruments of research targeted at the different ways space is configured and how it is generated from electronic language, from the interaction with humans to the way they blend and melt together at a given point.
Widget Art Gallery (2009-ongoing) displays how her research has recently come to the point of compressing virtual and physical space into a single creative and expositional environment located in portable devices «situated» in the same «widget» application with which it has been programmed. Software language becomes structure while the figure of the author dissolves into the ubiquitous identity of artist, curator and collector. A «new way to make space and place the work in the environment»[2] is working within the portable device and supervised by the artist and this time also coinciding with the work itself.
Her Live Architectures act as if they were «alive»; «..they move beyond their own functionality», conditioned by human intervention called to determine the different geometric configuration and structure. An example of this is the voice of the spectators which alters the architecture in Speaking at the Wall (2008) and the movement of these elements which are recorded and translated into the geometric coordinates that determine the space of Meta Motus (2010). We are referring to «super places», a definition that had made its way into Chiara Passa’s vocabulary as far back as 2001, when a brief holographic animation project was titled Super Place Project. Her artistic pursuit has been evolving and maturing ever since through a series of transformations that alternate among different types of videos: generative, video-mapping, interactive and performative installations. Humans are always present – even when they do not appear. The body is a single entity with space, complementing it «with its habits, expectations and emotions» [3]
Fourth Dimension Banner penetrates the architecture of the liminal area of the interface, a thin film or technological skin that (like natural skin) has surpassed its role as boundary between the inner and outer world. Now, «the technological and virtual imaginary is no longer produced within the psyche but from the outside, above and inside the screen.» [4]
We are entering the interface to begin a voyage that is as dreamy as it is real – where worlds open the doors to other worlds and where «synthetic shapes become design, structure, architecture and reality» (C.Passa).
One’s gaze is now directed to the interior of metaphoric architecture and to the threshold leading to the virtual – nowadays anything but clearly distinct from reality if not on a representational level. The interface is revealed as a «functional and operative device with no residue, incrustation or noise».[5]
In the case of Chiara Passa, sound has often been a fundamental element for the «materialization» of her «super places». In Fourth Dimension Banner, the artist lets silence suggest the nature of the liminal zone being crossed – «a virtual window that changes the materiality of built space, adding new apertures that dramatically alter our conception of space and of time». [6]
_________________________________________________________________

[1] Marcos Novak, Liquid Architectures in Cyberspace, in Cyberspace First Steps, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991
[2] A. Tolve, Exposition of the Exposition, arshake publishing, e-book, 2013
[3] R. Diodato, Estetica del Virtuale, (Aesthetics of the Virtual)Bruno Mondadori Publishing, Milan 2005, page 129
[4] Derrick de Kerkhove, Dall’alfabeto ad Internet, L’homme «littéré»: alfabetizzazione, cultura, tecnologia, (From the Alphabet to Internet, L’homme “littéré”: literacy, culture, technology) Mimesis Publishing, Postumani Series, page167
[5] E. Quinz, Interface World. Mutazioni della scena: dal testo all’ambiente, (Interface World. Mutations of the Scene: from the text to the environment) in A. Menicacci, E. Quinz (edited by), La scena digitale (The Digital Scene) Marsilio Publishing, Venice 2001, pages 328-329 quoted in R. Diodato, Ibid., page 139.
[6] Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window. From Alberti to Microsoft, The MIT Press 2006, intro. page 1.


"Widget Art Gallery. A Gallery Between Worlds" on Arshak.e, by Elena Giulia Rossi. (Eng/It)

"Nueva, híbrida y... equivocada", on El Pais (Esp).

"Gallerie d’arte online. Intervista con Chiara Passa",
on Artribune by Filippo Lorenzin. (Ita)

"A Symbol" Bill Miller at The Widget Art Gallery"
, on Furtherfield.

"The Widget Art Gallery - for IPhone, IPod, IPad", on networked_review.

'Nell'era del telefonino l'arte è mobile'
by Valentina Bernabei on La Repubblica (Ita).

'Gallery in Your Pocket':
An Interview on Rhizome with Chiara Passa.

'Not Here Not There'
Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 19.

'Una galería de arte en el bolsillo’ by Stefano Caldana & Roberta Bosco, El Pais (Esp)

'Virtualidad y dispositivos móviles: nuevas posibilidades expositivas', by Lorea Iglesias. (Esp)

'ART IN THEORY' Luxflux: Intervista a Chiara Passa (ita)

'Suoni E Immagini Nello Spazio
' Digicult (ita)

Chiara Passa Responses to five questions about digital culture posed by Lev Manovich.


1. We live in 'remix' culture. Are there limits to remixing? Can anything be remixed with anything? Shall there be an ethics of remixing?

1. We live in the age of information—rather, of petroleum. We summarize, remix, cut and paste all at the speed of present-day communication. Information today is transmitted through cybernetic energy in an instant. But why place limits on this “remixing culture?” Actually I would define culture as “modus vivendi,” the more it’s existed in society, from the beginning of time. The problem is that today’s society, having reached an equilibrium in well-being, is stagnant. Therefore, it will be difficult to see new advancements (in all fields) until the end of the petroleum age. Only when a new age begins will we see innovations in these fields, and thus a new way to communicate, walk, remix, write, make art, eat and maybe even make love.

2. In the last few years information visualization became increasingly popular and it attracted the energy of some of the most talented new media artists and designers. Will it ever become as widely used as type or photography - or will it always remain a tool used by professionals?

2. The visualization of information goes back quite a ways. Today, internet and digital media are at everyone’s disposal. The “web” phenomenon, in particular, sets the difference between “high and low technology.” An artist, a web designer and “the richest man in the world” will use the same software, without difference—a unique technology—to create a website: Flash, Dreamweaver, Front Page, html, vrml, wml, Java, php, etc. Internet technology attracts and diffuses itself easily between pop culture because it’s in the palm of everyone’s hand. While in cinema, it’s exactly that difference between “high and low technology” that maintains the highest level of business. The knowledge of means, money and professionalism make a difference and create that “gap” that, according to me, will always be there between professionals, users and “lovers of the trade”. The more this “unique technology” diffuses itself, the more the “gap” will widen, because there will always be less to make up the difference. Also if, in my opinion, this “unique technology” is placed in the right hands, it can do miracles.


3. Today cinema and literature continue the modern project or rendering human psychology and subjectivity, while fine art seems to be not too concerned with this project. How can we use new media to represent contemporary subjectivity in new ways? Do we need to do it?

3. To me it seems that, since the beginning, cinema and art have both represented psychology and subjectivity, just in different ways and times. Actually, I’ve noticed that lately, the cinema is becoming more conceptual than narrative (I’m thinking of the films Ferro 3 and 2046, or directors such as Lars Von Trier, Lynch, etc.), and art more narrative: the interactive video installments of the Studio Azzuro come to mind, that to do a metaphor of reality, they become familiar with their installations using narrative scenes. Contemporary art (digital) doesn’t need to represent human subjectivity (and yet it represents it in the form of video games) but needs to be “represented!”.


4. 'Blobs' in architecture and design - is this a new 'international style' of software society, here to stay, - or only a particular effect of architects and designers starting to use software?

4. More than just a style, a “blob” is geometry revised through fractions and algorithms (existing since the 70’s). Today, maybe for designers, artists, architects, and “lovers of the trade”, it’s one of many instruments; a means of expression. And like all means, it’s not enough to be candidly overpowering, otherwise we would always see more works that used this process of the technical, to the detriment of the message.

5. While the tools to produce one own media have been more accessible and more powerful, people never consumed more commercial media than now. Thus the essential division between 'media amateurs' and 'media professionals' which got established in the beginning seems to be as strong as ever. In short, the 1960s idea that new technologies will turn consumers into producers failed over and over again. Will this situation ever change? What will be the next stage in media consumption after MP3 players, DVD recorders, CD burners, etc, etc, etc.?

5. Surely the production and consumption of media is increased because the wealth of contemporary society has increased (especially that of the west). I feel at the same time producer and consumer, in the sense that I use the above mentioned technology. Therefore, the 60’s intuition hasn’t failed. It’s the way in which technology is used that makes the difference. For example, a film made by “media amateurs” can be much more interesting, participate in many more festivals, and can be more exposed to the public than a Hollywood production, notwithstanding the “professionalism” (and the budget) of that production. In fact, “amateurs” (artists, bloggers, activists, journalists, etc.) publish and obtain more success than media professionals. “I read Indymedia and la Repubblica; it’s a shame you can’t find the first at a newsstand.” Today more than ever, that which makes the difference between “media amateurs” and “media professionals” is money.

On "Calling a conversation in universe"


In “Calling a conversation in universe” camera lens, isolated in a neutral background, are animated in continuously different versions: variations bordering on abstractions and research on the composition of images. The “attracted” camera lens, look inquisitively at each other, court and couple with each other to the rhythm of electronic music, especially created for the animation by musician Mokamed. In short, the usual, everyday “war” inside the real and virtual one. In “Time bomb the love”, missiles change into basic architectures, through vertical-horizontal movements, to the rhythm of technical music. Thus, the missile, a symbol of breaking through space becomes a living space, a mobile unit. Missiles and camera lenses an imaginary pairing, highlight two aspects which are closely related to us: one is tied to a more “intimate” realm, sexuality, the other tied to the social situation with wars taking place, distinguished by missiles filmed by camera lens, which we use for information. Therefore, camera lenses: photography but also military, are attracted to each other to clash, and as the dynamics of war consists in waits and bombings, camera lenses and missiles couple and explode expressing the climate of tension we live in everyday. The challenge is undoubtedly the use of new technologies and the media, which give us the possibility to “freeze” fragments belonging to a “data-image” flow (fluid, unstable) which is always changing. My animations draw upon the speed of communication to create a final result, the fruit of unpredictable sense moving and sliding.

- L’oading – genetically modified videogames-

I've worked with Chiara Passa this year in occasion of the “L' oading” exhibition, from me curated at the Civic Gallery of Contemporary Art of Siracusa "Montevergini". Objective of the exhibition was the recognition of the more interesting artistic experimentations in the field of the digital artworks, in Italy and worldwide, using like topic and thread conductor the videogame. I have chosen to insert in my selection the animation "Calling a Conversation in Universe", realized by Chiara in 2002, because draft, to my judgment, it’s a meaningful work to comprise the influence, aesthetic and conceptual, who the videogames have on the contemporary visual culture. In this Chiara’s project, the aesthetic of the computers games is used to simulate one metaphorical history of love, a virtual courtship "who happens between two ‘photographic lens’. One in front of the other, they scan obsessing, attracted and they are rejected to one with each other. They are accompanies with a cold and hypnotic electronic sonorous. The reference to the more intimate sphere of the human communication, the sexuality, joins to a reflection about the “seduction”, often deceptive, of the mass media. Chiara uses the new technologies to comprise the intrinsic language. She never was overwhelmed and ingenuously fascinating from the digital medium; experiments in rigorous and personal way on the unknown creative possibilities who they offer to her. Medium, who too much often we see to become the only message in art works that seem to ingenuously celebrate the progress of the technique. Her animations are characterized from a constant study on the shape, geometric and often essential, joined to a three-dimensional and dynamics vision of the virtual space. Her installations force the spectator to be confronted with a other ‘oddity space’, with an ‘digital elsewhere’, it is by now our quarter dimension, one perspective who is impossible to ignore. Because the binary code and the world wide web are modifying the man and its visions, its language and its "symbolic shapes". And the artists, as the sociologists of the average teach to us, from Mc Luhan to De Kerchove, are the most effective antibodies of the technological and scientific progress; they sniff in advance the implications and the risks, the riches and the dangers. In the Italian panorama the art work of Chiara Passa it is shaped like a search outside from the common one, in a moment in which the artistic experimentations with new technologies arduously still not to being accepted from the public, great part of the critic and above all from the market.

Valentina Tanni. Civic gallery of Contemporary Art , Siracusa 2003


"ART AND CRITIQUE" (Arte e Critica), October-December 2001

Chiara Passa moves inside the digital planet, inventing virtual architectures, all with a circular geometric matrix and vividly using colours; mainly reds, acid greens, electric yellows. Compressed missiles, but also buildings referring to utopian architecture, spaces, which are apparently ascetic, futuristic, full of symbolically loaded truths: “The circle is the symbol of life for me,” says the artist. “It is that place inside of which everything has the same distance from the centre.” A meditation on living, which becomes a meditation on being and, lately, on being an artist involved in the Pipeline project. The project is an interactive four story house thought of as the artist’s house and designed as a place for everyone, a space of extreme freedom where the basic decor does not hinder, on the contrary, it highlights the purpose of the single areas, from the area of mental and spiritual exercise to the area of love joining. Universal themes and symbolism are vividly united, the images and videos link in the dimension of objects giving birth to energetic “compressions” of sense.

by Daniela Bigi.


COMPRESSIONS

The present communications’ system has allowed the passing from a passive to an active function of the informative message. Therefore, our role as information consumers has undergone an individuation process. Chiara Passa makes us ponder the mechanisms of this interaction, how each one of us can choose, manipulate and reinsert data taken from the ether, today. Chiara highlights the possibilities which modern digital technology gives us, today, to block and dispose of the information flow to our liking. Compressions is composed of extrapolated and manipulated stills, of a series of frozen images and forced to collapse until they loose their original identity. Thus, Chiara Passa, deviates the correct decoding of the missile-message, which is clearly visible in the computer created video movie named “time bomb the love” (’98). In order to dilate the transmission of a different image, in which shapes recompose themselves in bare and futuristic architectural prospects. The new architecture-message thus becomes independent from the initial source and acquires three dimensionality in space, like in “the acid house” (’99) a ceramic work of a house plunged in a natural context which accentuates its alienating dimensions. All of this is transmitted with a winsome and easily understood chromatic language, also because it is close to the visual grammar used by advertising companies, web designers and largely manifested in music videos. It could be the most effective and popular of the esthetical research of the last years.

Daniela Lotta. L’Officina, Vicenza 2000

Time Bomb the Love!

Looking at the images created by Chiara Passa one is immediately struck by the extreme synthesis and by the intense colours with which the subject matter is depicted: whether it is missiles isolated in a neutral background and proposed to us in continuously different versions. In this case the research on one single theme repeats itself in order to explore different formal solutions, continuous variations bordering abstraction and an elaborate research on image composition. This is how a link with some aspects of the painting tradition surface (symmetrical frontal compositions, colours applied à plat), as well as, through the use of innovations introduced by the recent computer technology. As a matter of fact the compositions are composed of a kind of blocked image, a single frame, that is isolated and blocked. The challenge is undoubtedly the one with new computer technology, which gives us the opportunity of freezing fragments belonging to an ever-changing data flow. In this new scenario the still image can substitute the camera shot, as well as, aspects of traditional painting, immobility thick with aura,. Thus a deep contact is created among the most recent technological innovations and fluid, liquid, unstable and ever-changing mass media images. The speed and conceptual “lightness” of the nineties need an ability to make things elastic and originally mix information coming from data banks available to us: mass media. They are a constant background of our lives, and they are now brought to the art world in order to produce a new and modern outcome. Chiara Passa’s images live through this elasticity, picking up the speed of communication to generate and end result which is the fruit of unexpected “shifts” and slides of sense.

Guido Molinari. Galleria Studio Ercolani, Bologna 1999

"Pipeline Project"

Pipeline, straight line, chipset, actually “virtual”, is a project of a cylindrical house four stories high. It originates by a digital manipulation of a missile, a symbol of breaking and space exploring. inside it have obtained another "space", a dwelling place or rather, a "super place", a home for anybody. The whole project, (built with Macromedia Flash, 3d Studio and Quick Time) is interactive and entirely walkable by the spectator (it could never be a "non-place"). Pipeline Is a home (artist's) which denies the concept of "absolute ownership", it Is a temporary mental space which fits in with spectator's needs just when it turns out that space is recurrent. Mouse exploring in the first visual display Ieads to interactive signs that bring the view of other architectural projects of cylindrical houses, created by the manipulation of some Russian, American and Arabian missiles.
Clicking on the red missile, the "enter" button (In a continuous becoming home, “in my slang compression") always in the first display you can enter the elevator that leads to other four floors. On the first floor there is a super-essential bedroom, almost a “Zen” one...surfing with mouse over the bed you can listen two people making love.
On the second floor there is a lounge (a little "theatrical") with a round sofa winding all around the place. Moving in this room you meet a interactive hairdryer and if click it, you’ll listen to shoot!
On the third floor we are in the relax room, ‘projection-study’, watching a interactive ‘Buddha film’, changing in a waterfall; and in the end, on the fourth floor we find the ‘balance room’, with an egg inside containing the external prototype of a yellow house keeping its balance on a single point, interacting with equal and counter forces generated by constant egg oscillations.