Project Description

“… THROUGHOUT A PERSON’S LIFE THERE PERSISTS A TENDENCY TO RESERVE TO THE SELF THE LARGEST POSSIBLE SHARE OF THE POWER TO ORGANIZE THE SURROUNDINGS AROUND ITSELF AS THE CENTER.”

THE POWER OF THE CENTER, RUDOLF ARNHEIM

How does power manifest itself and how can it be challenged? Is it possible to subvert millennia of symbolisms that not only have replaced meanings and sedimented a cultural and social understanding of life but also have not left any place for gender alterity other than social ostracism and invisibility? What role does publicness play in the construction of new social forms of protest that are rooted in past knowledge and are able to uncover the discarded, silenced, and erased alternatives to current capitalistic models of social and financial enslavement? Can these old models be viable alternatives, if revisited and adapted, or are they gone forever? Preferring Sinking to Surrender, Part II engages with the concept of protest as a lifetime of daily resistance and resilience in search of alternative itineraries, forms of engagement, and symbolisms. The works of art ditch the pretense of rationality and scientificity and are based on emotive exchanges, historical remnants, and a matriarchal social idea of curare (to take care) that embraces those who have been marginalized, bringing them to the center of power from the periphery where they have been ostracized.

Preferring Sinking to Surrender, Part II is one of ten sections of Lanfranco Aceti’s installation titled Preferring Sinking to Surrender which was conceived by the artist for the Italian Pavilion, Resilient Communities, curated by Alessandro Melis for the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2021. The ten sections are: Tools for Catching Clouds; Preferring Sinking to Surrender, Part I; Preferring Sinking to Surrender, Part II; Sacred Waters; Le SchiavoneOrthósSeven Veils; Signs; Rehearsaland The Ending of the End. These sections, singularly and collectively, create a complex narrative that responds to this year’s theme How Will We Live Together? set by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale.  

The works of art — realized as a series of performances, installations, sculptures, video, and painting contributions — are part of the installation at the Italian Pavilion from May 21, 2021, to November 21, 2021, the opening and closing dates of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Power, the body, and publicness are constructed through the performance, the images of the itinerary, the landscape traversed, and the censored views as a contrasting statement to the engendered and increasingly threatened idea of a society in which the social element still should find a place. The diversity and non-conformity of the body of the performers compared to the ideal of the soldier and savior, in Foucauldian terms, speak of a diverse interpretation of political resistance and social resilience. There should be a way, an itinerary to take, and a place to traverse, which could bring about change, beyond socially perfunctory and politically assimilable forms of protests. The journey, in this section, is an exploration of such forms of protest and of the way in which the constant mediation and immediacy of social media contributes to the construction of a useless cacophony, increasingly managed and domesticated to be subservient to, and not subversive of, capitalistic interests.

The performances will take place in Rome, Venice, Naples, but also in other cities around the world including Athens, London, and New York, creating a narrative between the individual, the space traversed, and the symbolisms of power as architectural forms of what is permitted and what is prohibited.

CONTRADA CAMPOLARGO, SOMEWHERE IN ITALY, SOME TIME AGO

The first performance was realized in the field of what is known as being ‘formerly countryside’. It is part of a small village in Italy, transformed into an industrial area where the factories, heavily subsidized by the state,  provide post-postmodern labor for insufficient living wages while polluting societal models, agricultural lands, and utopias. It is the periphery of a peripheral village, rendered invisible by sixty years of local and national corruption and buried under the resulting blight.

PIAZZA DEL CAMPIDOGLIO, ROME, ITALY

The performance was seated in the center of Rome and in one of its most iconic squares, Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michelangelo, which continues to reflect the notion of caput mundi — center of the world. The centralized structure of power is juxtaposed to the representation of nothingness (as being nothing and of no value) of the periphery, suddenly inserting in the institutional space something ‘other’ than the rhetoric of aggrandizing and self-celebrating visual discourses.

GIARDINI AND PIAZZA SAN MARCO, VENICE, ITALY

The Venice performance is made of two parts: the first is within the grounds of the Venice Biennale and the second in Saint Mark’s Square. The itinerary is historically saturated and multilayered with meanings, all reduced to a simplified view from above which the artist has further detached and defleshed to the bare minimalist pink lines of drawings that represent the itinerary walked by the performer. 

Preferring Sinking to Surrender, Part II in Saint Mark’s Square is a performance that explores the liquidity of resistance and resilience and the value of power in this context. Transformational possibilities, that allow the reconsideration of and transition from weaknesses into strength, have been rendered visible in the architecture of the city and in its adaptation to a forced coexistence with water. Liquidity, in it various forms, including negative meanings of wavering and being undefined, offer an opportunity to reimagine the traditional meaning of power as an opportunity for the redefinition of life in social, technological, financial, and environmental terms. 

PIAZZA PLEBISCITO, NAPLES, ITALY

The performance in Naples is inspired by the conflict between order and disorder, in particular by the attempt to render life orderly against its tumultuous and passionate existence that in philosophical terms might also be defined as a ‘pathological condition’. The resistance of Neapolitans to order and the reveling in what appears as chaos, but is a constant condition of antagonism against oppression, makes of the city the mirror of an overflowing and riotous life that continues to resist the imposition of a Cartesian grid.

“Reflection on dirt involves reflection on the relation of order to disorder, being to non-being, form to formlessness, life to death,” [1]… power to powerlessness, center to periphery.

The next sections of these works of art, Sacred Waters and Orthós, explore the meaning of water in the post-postmodern context and the inseparable and intertwined theme of dirt as both life giving soil and deadly sedimented pollution.

References:

[1] Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, introduction by Mary Douglas (London and New York: Routledge, 1966), 5.

 

Image Captions:

Image 1: Lanfranco Aceti, Waiting for a Change of Direction, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 2: Lanfranco Aceti, Earth, Wind, and Fire, 2021. Performance with wood pole, ripped linen sheet, and wheat field. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 3: Lanfranco Aceti, Give It a Cut, 2021. Performance with ripped linen sheet and scissors. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 4: Lanfranco Aceti, Stitched Up, 2021. Performance with ripped linen sheet, thread, and needle. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 5: Lanfranco Aceti, Folded Dreams, 2021. Performance with ripped linen sheet. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 6: Lanfranco Aceti, I Am Standing Still, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 7: Lanfranco Aceti, Power to the Idiots, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Google Maps’ view. Print from the planning of the performance. Dimensions: 100 cm. X 67 cm.

Image 8: Lanfranco Aceti, Power Walk, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Google Maps’ view. Print from the planning of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 9: Lanfranco Aceti, The Moon on the Ground and the Eyes on the Sky, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Google Maps’ view. Print from the planning of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 10: Lanfranco Aceti, Power Ascending, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Google Maps’ view. Digital print from the planning of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 11: Lanfranco Aceti, Power Descending, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Google Maps’ view. Digital print from the planning of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 12: Lanfranco Aceti, The Many Faces of the Moon, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Walking map. Print from the planning of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 13: Lanfranco Aceti, The Visible Paths of Life, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Walking map. Print from the planning of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 14: Lanfranco Aceti, What Your Eyes Don’t See Blinded as They Are by Shiny Mirrors, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Print from the aftermath of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 15: Lanfranco Aceti, The Moon Is Still on Top of My Spear, 2021. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Print from the aftermath of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 16: Lanfranco Aceti, Lineage of Power, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 17: Lanfranco Aceti, Three Different Colors for Three Different Worlds, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 18: Lanfranco Aceti, Two Different Colors for Two Different Worlds, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 19: Lanfranco Aceti, A World of a Different Color, Number 1, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 20: Lanfranco Aceti, A World of a Different Color, Number 2, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 21: Lanfranco Aceti, A World of a Different Color, Number 3, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 22: Lanfranco Aceti, Changing World, 2021. Gif animation.

Image 23: Lanfranco Aceti, Binary Transitional Moments, Number 1, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 24: Lanfranco Aceti, Binary Transitional Moments, Number 2, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 25: Lanfranco Aceti, Three Visions of Future Steps, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 26: Lanfranco Aceti, Three Memories of Past Steps, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 27: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Left, Number 1, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 28: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Right, Number 1, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 29: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Center, Number 1, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 30: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Left, Number 2, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 31: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Right, Number 2, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 32: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Center, Number 2, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 33: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Left, Number 3, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 34: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Right, Number 3, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 35: Lanfranco Aceti, Trinary Transitional Moments, Center, Number 3, 2021. Wood pole and ripped linen sheet. Performance in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. Photographic print from the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 36: Lanfranco Aceti, From Rag to Flag, Step Number 1, 2021. Oil and acrylic paint on canvas. Photographic print. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 37: Lanfranco Aceti, From Rag to Flag, Step Number 2, 2021. Oil and acrylic paint on canvas. Photographic print. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 38: Lanfranco Aceti, From Rag to Flag, Step Number 3, 2021. Oil and acrylic paint on canvas. Photographic print. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 39: Lanfranco Aceti, From Rag to Flag, Subtraction, 2021. Oil and acrylic paint on canvas. Photographic print. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 40: Lanfranco Aceti, From Rag to Flag, Addition, 2021. Oil and acrylic paint on canvas. Photographic print. Dimensions: 67 cm. X 100 cm.

Image 41: Lanfranco Aceti, From Rag to Flag, Alternatives, 2021. Gif animation.