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Artists in Residence
11.2012




Massimo Pianese - Post-human reverse current


  
Massimo Pianese in front of his coffee grounds bars, Villa Sträuli, 2012. Photo: Cat Tuong Nguyen


Massimo Pianese's (born 1979) residency at Villa Sträuli lasted for five and a half months. Villa Sträuli is a bourgeois town house with three live/work spaces for artists of any media in the centre of Winterthur. Stiftung Sulzberg has been the supporter of this program since 1999. Italian artist Pianese loves cold places, and enjoys the pleasantly calm atmosphere of the Villa. Here he can continue his long term project 'You Are Not A Salmon' started in 2010, in which he explores reverse current, «l'inversione dei flussi», and post-humanity.

Pianese, who doesn't understand German, is surprised that he's only met a few Italian-speaking Swiss and that the announcements on trains are only in German, English and French. And in the city, when he speaks English, people answer him in German. But he doesn't mind this at all. That drivers and cyclists automatically stop close to intersections when a pedestrian is near has greatly impressed the Neapolitan.

Despite the fact that the Villa Sträuli team actively connect their artists with other people engaged in the cultural sector, he has developed projects on his own. He's more at home on the Internet, where he researches complex balances, connections and changes in the economy, technology, nature and society. The salmon, which swims upstream against the current to spawn, is to him an allegory for the paradoxical, energy wasting behaviour of humans in areas like applied chemistry, genetics, physics and technology. In the first part of his project he used galvanic cells containing lemon, tomato and orange juice, in order to power neon lettering spelling out the sentence 'You Are Not A Salmon', demonstrating the most wasteful method of generating power through natural resources. For his project in Winterthur he asked the public to give him their coffee grounds, which so far only one bar has done. Through an elaborate process he turns this rubbish into purchaseable coffee grounds bars, which could either be preserved as pieces of art or used as compost for the cultivation of mushrooms. With an eye on the gold reserves in Swiss banks, the project connects Italy's and Switzerland's coffee cultures, pointing out the interdependency between the flow of money, goods and rubbish.




Bis: 30.10.2012


‹Meet the Artist›, Villa Sträuli, 30.10.; Project presentation 27.10.

This interview is published with the support of the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia Moving Words for the Swiss advancement of translation.

Translation: Paul Harper

Deutsche Version



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Ausgabe 11  2012
Institutionen Villa Sträuli [Winterthur/Schweiz]
Autor/in Yvonne Ziegler
Künstler/in Massimo Pianese
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