Hanno sparato contro il sole

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This installation is the result of a generative artwork, which can run for a (potentially) infinite amount of time, always generating different image combinations. For this particular exhibition a video capture is used, where a sequence was recorded in real time.

The artwork borrows the name from the poem “Hanno sparato contro il sole”, by Alfonso Gatto, written in the context of the Resistance movement in Italy:

Non s’ode nulla ma il vento
risveglia il fischio d’un treno.
L’alba è già scesa sui capelli biondi
dei ragazzi che avanzano in cielo.

L’erba dei prati s’è ritta, a folate
la luce corre a trattenere l’aria
per mostrarsi sul prato coi fanciulli
ancora illesi e splendere di loro.

Hanno sparato i ciechi contro il sole
e la terra li mostra per vendetta
senza riparo, neri della luce
che li fruga e li lascia avvinazzati
nel sangue dei fanciulli.

Son leggeri
i partigiani con le stelle rosse.
Il silenzio sarà d’un altro mondo
a velarti d’un soffio, dove l’alba
corre nei mari liberi al saluto
della terra promessa ed in ogni uomo
decide la speranza che la terra
fiorita di lavoro abbia il suo canto.

The poetic reinterpretation is visually rendered at a breath-like pace, incorporating both a synchronic and an anachronistic approach.

The synchronic approach was pursued through the exploration of Google Images with verses and expressions from the poem as search terms (in the original Italian language, and also in its English translation). Adding the words “Salerno”, “Italia” and “Alfonso Gatto” later complemented the previous results.

The anachronistic approach resulted from shifting the interpretation to the present day, where the “resistance” takes many different forms, from anti-COVID-19 facemasks and vaccines to the anti-extremist and anti-neo-fascist citizen movements, thus also using these search terms for retrieving visual content.

To further convey the intertwinement of the different eras, the images are randomly combined into groups of three-dimensional cubes, symbolizing different events / spaces / times, which interpenetrate and influence their neighbouring structures, in a continuum where cause and effect are almost indistinguishable. All the images are heavily processed and covered by artistic fair use, as they are never replicated in full and have undergone several distortions, in geometry/shape, colour and transparency.

As each new verse is formed, the image set is renewed. Since they are randomly selected, sometimes the images will appear to have a direct connection to the verse being shown, other times they will feel disconnected and suggest detours from the original, inviting the audience to create their own meanings and interpretations from the unexpectedness of the visual stimuli combinations. Overlaying the images with the current verse and using partial transparencies in the geometric composition contributed to achieving an ethereal visual context, much like the visual echoes that form in our minds when absorbed in reading poetry.

The movement of the geometric structures alludes to the passing of time, like gears in a time-machine, and the cyclic changing of individual scale and rotation speed is symbolic of both the subjective and objective importance some of these events can have in their time and space: from impactful to nearly irrelevant, a revolution or a tree leaf. However, regardless of their comparable importance, they are all an intrinsic part of the continuum, where the central (present) event will seem to overtake the viewing area, only to disappear in the continuum.

The lines of the poem materialize and dematerialize in sequence, dropping from above, as if they are being carried by an inspired breeze. This process also serves another function, which is to semantically provide a partial context to the current verse: as the full sentence sometimes spans across more than one verse, the viewers are thus given a glimpse into the immediate past and future (previous/next verse).

Alfonso Gatto’s poem will continue to be rendered in(de)finitely, immutable in content but reinterpreted across time, connecting generations.




Artist and visionary

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Hanno sparato contro il sole @ In Strada, Salerno, Itália – Pedro Alves da Veiga · 03/12/2021 às 15:10

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