May 13, 2012

Fragment! Fragment! Review from Group 1

Fragment! Fragment! Review from Group 1


Bologna with its strong  characteristics was a strong piercing contrast to the exhibition space at Front of House which seems anonymous, face-less and could be in any other town or city.

To fill that gap between this contrast and not to work mainly with photography or film -which would be quite natural- was going to be one of our non-outspoken goals.

As a first step everybody felt that we had to get involved with the city and get to know it better.

A pentagonal shaped tile found at the dome near Front of House was our starting point. Drawing the outlines of  the tile onto the map of Bologna, which had almost the same shape. Walking or cycling along the lines was one oft he first tasks we set up but was in the end too rigid and excluding. It was perhaps as a starting point too conceptual, as many other things caught our attention, such as courtyards and very characteristic for Bologna,the arches, that gave the feeling of a private public space on the daily walks underneath them.

Our group’s interest began to be more specific as time passed and many group meetings were held.

We soon were aware oft he fact that the Intensive Programme held the challenge that all the participants were neither tourists nor inhabitants of Bologna, so to say inbetweeners in their own context within a context.  The overall subject was to be that of souvenirs, remainders of time and space.

During intensive conversations and by reflecting on these subejcts, we formulated some questions.

What is a souvenir? What memories are fragments conserving? What is left from interventions in the city?

How do I move as an inbetweener perhaps even a living obstacle and how do I get absorbed by the city? What is left at the end?

Louise and Katie started to make delicate casts from parts of buildings they were intrigued by during their walks through the city in a very quick and efficient method by using aluminum foil, tape, newspaper and glue. These casts brought to Front of House no longer showed the specificness of the buildings, pillars or columns they were taken from but were anonymous pieces which original shape cannot be tracked down by the viewer. The main material, printed newspaper, even blurred the shape of the casts and brought in a matter which Louise and Katie were interested in throughout their researches. They were tracking down „ghost architecture“, remainders of ancient archtecture built into new buildings. These „ghosts“ were sometimes only to be seen by the different arrangement of the bricks.
The blurring of the casts and their fragility set the meaning of a cast ab absurdum. They became independent objects without being bond to the original architecture.



Karen collected remains of posters (tape and small paperbits) which had already been torn off  and in this manner left a gap in meaning and information but gained an individual existence.
By peeling off the tape, the surfaces such as paint from walls and boards were torn off too, so a part from the city was also taken by this action. Some parts have been overlapping over time, so little sculptural objects were created by coincidence and time.


Federica was intrigued by the memory of smell and fragrants throughout the city. Sometimes one would pass through a nice delicious smell and then turning round the corner it would merge with the striking smell of pee or other non delicious smells.
Here she was interested in the fact that smells or fragrants merged, no matter how much well the went together or not.
In the final presentation she translated this fact into an installation and brought objects together which at first sight wouldn’t fit together at all but making use of these objects through performing (dripping icecream onto a rusty ladder squirting detergent onto an old board and tieing the bottle to it in an balanced way) had it’s own legitimation and the necessity of the way of installation.

The other time and memory related branch of interest was that of being part of city as a whole but then again not fitting in and being a stranger, no matter how hard the efforts are.

This was manifested in the subject of obstacles, living obstacles, invisible spaces marked by lines of tape on the sidewalk, also visits of dancing and aerobic classes.

By experimenting and examining the fluidity of  the passers-by reacting or not reacting onto the obstacle (it was once Armelles son playing under the arcades, the other was Federica marking a space around her by tape). Days later there were still the lines of tape on the ground but for the passers-by they became invisible. They were walking right through the marked space, the remaining marks became obsolete but still were there.

Saumin was working on the translation of these observations into a concentrated sculptural object which both would  highlight the fluidity of  the passers-by reacting to the obstacles. The obstacle itself was a pile of ice positioned into the middle of a pentagonal shaped map of Bologna. The ice melted, the obstacle shrunk through time and the map of Bologna was sogging up and the water flooded off the map onto the ground of Front of House. At the end one could see a puddle in which the map of Bologna was lying – the borderings got blurry and the vanished obstacle merged with its plinth.



Rosa participated in many dance and aerobic classes and filmed herself  taking part in them. The film she created out of these many scenes is a cut-up.
First she is an anonymous subject like all of the other participants, trying to do the same choreography by watching the others and trying to remember the steps.  She doesn’t fit in, is a stranger as she hast he least knowledge oft he steps, is observing the others trying to do the same -  and also looks different. But by wearing the same outfit during the whole classes, she gets more and more familiar to the viewer. An interesting change ermerges while watching the video as she as the stranger and at first the one most unfitting becomes the most familiar to the viewer. As obstacle or stranger she gets more and more familiar and at the end is completely  familiar and taken natural.

At Front of House we chose one specific wall and its outskirts as a platform for our presentation. The artworks on, infront and around the wall looked – as we have been told in our assessment–rather isolated and didn’t communicate vividly with eachother.

It didn’t seem to be a one-piece which contributes to the idea of making things fit which at first sight do not fit together. There could have been a more harmonic picture but this could have minored our intentions.

Also the performance seemed hard to understand as we did not perform on a stage or pedestal. We were standing in the crowd reading out loud our gathered thoughts on our group’s subjects and experiences during the stay and work in Bologna and Front of House. These thoughts were before connected to eachother by characteristic words in which our group was interested in thoughout the whole group work.

It was our intention to stand in the crowd as we have seen ourselves of not outstanding or overlooking Bologna from a higher viewpoint  but being aware that we were during those two weeks among the city, it’s inhabitants, buildings and objects fitting in but then again not quite fitting in.


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