Project Description



What’s in a tool? Millennia of understanding, desires, and hopes. It also holds aspiration for liberation and empowerment. A tool is also the mean to give help and dispense justice. Rehearsal is the section that with its works of art explores what does it mean to choose a tool to explore opportunities for empowerment. Is there something out there in the inherited power of matriarchal traditions that can actually assist us to alter the course of the path of destruction that humanity has walked for over two millennia? The exploration is made through the ambiguity of the meaning of progress and the ambivalent nature of everything that is created which combined with the shaky ethics of the hands that wield the instruments of so called progress.

Rehearsal 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.

Rehearsal is a collection of images that draws from the entirety of Preferring Sinking to Surrender and leads to the tenth and last section of this complex work of art. Its focus is on duality and change. All changes are revolutionary, since they alter a pre-established order. This section explores the duality of tools, their use in food production and harvesting and as weapons of defense and offense. 

Peasant’s revolts or plebs’ rebellions have been a characteristic of empire forming and decline. They have been moments in which to reaffirm human dignity against the oppression of slavery and financial misery. These forms of re-alignment of a state’s approach towards its citizens, who are not just masses to be controlled and exploited, has all but disappeared within the West. The reasons are manifold, but the internet revolution has not offered possibilities of freedom but further entrenched systems of control where were none. Privacy has disappeared and unless one cuts off their ties from the state and its systems, renouncing the digital existence that we have grown accustomed to and entering in a form of ‘pariah existence’ where every function becomes an impossibility, there are not very many options left. The state demands of financial resources from its citizens even when they have nothing or next to nothing, hence the obligation to exist within the financial terms set by the state and its governing oligarchies, is unchallengeable.

“Nevertheless, looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery. We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity.” [1]

George Orwell’s analysis, dated back to 1945, outlines in general terms a theory of state development that, as bleak as it might be, is to date more poignant than most socio-political essays. Therefore, the big question asked by the works of art in Rehearsal is: how did we reach this point? Is it possible to develop tools that can challenge a state of oppression? The works of art in Rehearsal are a reflection upon past struggles and the ever widening gap between the illusion of democracy and the reality that people experience on the ground.

The return to matriarchal theories of existence and acceptance cannot be achieved without an untangling and resistance against all that is acquiesced oppression and that is being sold as empowering freedom. 

[1] George Orwell, “You and the Atom Bomb,” Tribune, October 19, 1945.