This story starts with a quotation of John's last passage...
You know, John, the more we think about "play" after what you've written, the more the concept reveals itself as something far more ambiguous than it is...It's like you seem to grasp it and then it's somewhere else, completely altered in form and substance. Talking of play both as an attitude and an aesthetic...The question that have risen at a certain point is: how can we play and talk about play-asethetics (playful aesthetics?) in the framework of a wider debate about the resources artists, critics, curators, museums and so on can deploy to build an alternative to the present? How can we do that without confronting ourselves with the incontrovertible fact that play is subsumed into a globally spread perspective of gamification of life?
From memes to apps, from consoles to productivity tricks, even the projects of a general basic income...everything seems to point to a society where work will be disguised as play in order to be as addictive as ever.
So, the doubt is whether can we subtract to this logic or not. Or better, should we be amoral? Can we deploy play as a strategy that contrasts the logics of capitalism? Can we get rid of it or should we appropriate of play (in its widest sense) conceiving it as a viral/unfair strategy to produce a sort of reaction/shock?
Our typical day. . . . . . . . .
when we still were renting a studio space (we are looking for it at the moment) we met in the studio around 9.30 and then started. It depended on the day: sometimes you had some commercial work to finish so there was no talking at all. You just entered, waved a hello, and turned on the computer. The first who arrived chose the music. At first we had the bad habit of smoking in the studio, it looked so Mad Men, but then Nico became a vape-man and accordingly smoking became forbidden.
Lunch was always quick and easy. Pasta most of the time. Then another 4 hours of postproduction or video editing and then we went out to see some gallery openings. But, as said before, it really depended on the day. If we were working hard on a project or exhibition, there were no working hours and the studio was a mess. When we were creating the Meditation Rocks series, we were burning things and the studio floor was covered with sand, rocks and other stuff. It was a mess, actually. You couldn't do anything but producing those stones those days.
Now we work separately. It's a momentary solution, but it's a nonsense to rent a co-working desk or something like that. We are looking for a cheap and flexible space, which is something rare in Milan.
As a city, Milan is probably the only place to be in Italy if you don't want to leave the country and still work in the art system. Rome is disconnected and overwhelmed by archeology and bureaucracy, in Venice everything is swallowed by the Biennale and so on...Milan is probably a good compromise between a ugly city, a place designed only to work, a City (business), building speculation, and connections with the rest of Europe. Turin is far more interesting in our opinion, but it's smaller. On the one hand it's easier to create connections there, but it's not active as Milan.
Milan is a stratification of different games, different circles, different networks.
In Milan you have the big galleries, a constellation of mid-class galleries, the art institutions (Hangar Bicocca and Prada Foundation for instance), the public institutions, and a growing fauna of independent spaces, small galleries, bookshops, hybrid spaces, all presenting good works in general. However we're still far from the creation of a network.
For example, talking about the Anthropocene debate, Italy is a bit late on it and now the word is becoming trendy, so someone is trying to organize a bit of material in order to provide a proper education or introduction to the theme. The point is that the activity of translating and making contents available, of generating debate, is always and still seen as competition. So you have a small group in one region of Italy doing that, another in Milan, one in Turin, another in Rome...That's a problem that you can find everywhere in Italy but especially in Milan. It's frustrating and tiring.
But, anyway, Milan is growing and it's quite good to live there, even if it still needs a lot of work to be something like Berlin.
The first thing we need to do is to catch up. We need to talk and discover each other better than we already do. We have been proposed some exhibitions, but they are not fixed yet. Radio POIUYT also gained a lot of good reviews and there are some requests. So, we need to understand exactly what we are going to do, in terms of an action strategy. We don't like so much to distinguish between roles, but what will it mean to make an exhibition as POIUYT as it grows and gathers more and more contributions? Will we be able to question the term "exhibition" as we want to do?
There's a lot of talking and discussing, now, in front of us...that's all we know for now :D
But, there's a question for you. As you may have noticed, we're contradictory because we alternate moments of great excitement with days in which we strongly criticize our role, our utility, our purpose as artists. Perhaps these two sides coexists always in everything we do, even if we sometimes express one or the other.
We were interested in understanding the aim of your research, because, according to the things we have discussed so far, it's not just an interest toward how an artistic collective works, but something more. It seems that the artistic collective may become a paradigm or an association model. If we're wrong, please, correct us!