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Riss(e), Varese, Italy

duo show w/ Rebecca Hirsch

Perspectives have recently moved towards a world view that is no longer anthropocentric but attracted and intrigued by phenomenologies that embody immateriality and sublimation. A true Copernican revolution, with the scope of the same effects, so much so that it replicates it. In fact, it’s only in the XVI century that Nicholas Copernicus, on the basis of the discoveries of Arab astronomers at the Maragheh Observatory, placed the center of the universe near the sun, while the earth, until then understood as the center of everything, revolved around the sun. From that moment on, the point of view has changed not only in the field of astronomy but in human history and mind. Changes in viewpoint become displacements of paradigm. In the midst of Anthropocene the reflection on an expanded ontology that incorporates new ultramaterial typologies of existence, inaugurates a path that leads to a renewed philosophical hinge. Hence the theory of hyper-objects, i.e. “massively distributed entities in time and space” that – according to Timothy Morton, their theoretical and scholarly father – can only be intercepted through technological receptors. In this way, climate transformations are classified as global warming, which comes to prove man’s inability to control his surroundings/stratum and therefore the end of human competence or better, the beginning of his incompetence. It’s on this interstitial terrain of paradigm shift, that the exhibition is built and displayed. Debora Hirsch and Simona Barbera work on a borderland between human dimension and immaterial systems.

While Hirsch’s research captures subliminal relationships between human and algorithmic knowledge systems, in relation to historical cyclicity and natural generation, Barbera focuses on a need for processual materiality that documents matter’s temporal sedimentation. In Firmament, Debora Hirsch addresses the perceptual mechanisms implicit in a process of digital colonization that has its precedent in the phenomenology of historical colonization. Her video erratically illustrates the forced transition to technological subjugation, as an imposed and one-sided vision of reality. The research of complex and encrypted systems, highlights the traces of a unique and homologated form of thought. In the same way, a series of recent paintings are based on a peculiarly post-digital recomposition of symbols, clichés and iconographies. Hirsch brings to the canvas motives extracted from reality, experience, history and from the functionality of the web, rendering them abstract, through a suspended metaphysical and completely random existence.

The stratigraphic approach of Barbera materializes in cement assemblages that include objects, from computer components to feathers and a variety of elements. The appearance of cores like filled temporal distances, takes its shape in space through a geometry that defines it as part of an indeterminate, continuous whole. The objectual aim that quotes the object as its inner essence, seems to pause an immaterial phenomenon, historical or natural. The interest in technological materials, objects/artefacts and natural elements lead back to an indefinite ápeiron, to a primordial meaning that follows the philosophy of fetish.

Through their specific visions, the work of Hirsch and Barbera reflects on a shared impossibility to distinguish the natural from the anthropic, where everything sediments, surfaces and acts in the most silent, inconscious and covert of the insurrections.

Welcome to Anthropocene!

text by Fabio Carnaghi