Rossella Biscotti’s work delves into the material and affective histories of the spaces we inhabit, unravelling systems of meaning and relational networks between the human and the non-human. Her practice, which interweaves film, sound, sculpture and performance, explores the functioning of ecosystems as open, shifting and polyphonic, as are collective imaginaries and the media by which they are conditioned, be they narrative or material. By bringing together art, archaeology, anthropology, environmental sciences, geopolitics and activism, she questions the uses and abuses of global power by revealing all that lives on the margins of official discourse.
For the exhibition at Fabra i Coats, Biscotti presents two large installations occupying two floors of the Art Centre: The City, a multi-screen projection of a Neolithic city, and The Journey, a sound piece set around the Mediterranean, accompanied by two respective sculptural works, Trees on Land and Drifting, which take us to an olive tree cemetery and to the currents of the sea. Between the two floors, another work connects them physically and conceptually from within the building’s infrastructure: A Conductor, a recycled cable from a decommissioned nuclear power station, is connected to the Art Centre’s electrical supply and provides power for the entire exhibition.
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Revealing the politics of visibility to point out the infrastructures and their invisible channels of information makes us aware of two things: on the one hand, the control strategies and the impact we have on our environment, that is, everything hidden beneath the apparent superficiality of these vast masses of land and water (or ash, marble, glass, air…); and on the other hand, how we make sense of our surroundings while ignoring the active role of material culture. Understanding the parallels between the community being unearthed and the one doing the unearthing, between the destructive action of bacteria and the fire used to combat it, between the waves of the sea and those of sound, between the energy of plankton and that of a recycled cable, leads us to question our ethnocentric conception of the world in terms of heritage, energy or landscape, but also in terms of life and death.
Living in the world implies making it, creating it. What seems to us like an excavated desert and the vastness of the sea, Rossella Biscotti tells us, is also a constructed landscape that structures our experience and vision of the world. The lack of an absolute image or perspective that can unify the multiplicity of views and voices of these two spaces not only serves to reflect on the articulation of societies, present or past, but also allows for new perceptions of our relationship with the environment. And if our interaction creates our conception of the world, it can also change it.