POIUYT project launch, Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venice 11 May 2017


POIUYT. The project
Venice, Thursday 11th May 2017 at 12pm

Galleria Michela Rizzo 
Venice, Ex Birreria, Giudecca 800/Q (Vaporetto Stop Palanca)

The 11th of May at 12pm, during an event at Michela Rizzo Gallery, POIUYT will launch its website and the first of a series of publications linked to its activities. POIUYT is a platform for image-based research which aims at spreading a critical attitude towards this key language within the contemporary world through reflection, collective exchange and participation.

POIUYT, which is supported by MLZ Art Dep, Trieste, Michela Rizzo Gallery, Venice and Metronom, Modena, is a collective project developed by curators Francesca Lazzarini and Gaia Tedone together with artists Alessandro Sambini, Discipula and The Cool Couple. The first exhibition Point Zero. Critical practices in contemporary Italian photography, currently on view in the exhibition space in Trieste until the 18th of June 2017, introduces the founding group at the moment when their interests intertwine and their collaboration begins. Although they all come from a background in photography, they share an inclination to push its boundaries. The platform is a response to the urge of starting a collective reflection on the dominant role of images in our networked society and on their political implications.

The rapid technology advancements in the last decades have radically changed the modalities of production, distribution and use of images at a global scale, questioning their very nature and opening new artistic and epistemological research paths.

The website www.poiuyt.it will be online from May 11th and is conceived as a permanent dialogue box for a project which will unfold through different initiatives, including exhibitions, seminars, workshops, education activities and participatory projects. The website is created to gather various contributions: from essays to conversations; from video interviews to podcasts; from artistic projects to various forms of research. There is no restriction of any kind, except from maintaining pertinence to the project’s theme. In line with an ethos of participation and open confrontation, a great deal of attention will be dedicated to the collaboration with various interlocutors and disciplines, in the attempt to engage a deeper discussion around the status of the image.

For the website launch, several contributions will be previewed including: a conversation on robot vision between Gilberto Decaro, computer programmer, and Alessandro Sambini; a short interview with Victor Burgin by Francesca Lazzarini about art and politics, the common imaginary and changes in visual language related to technological developments; a reflection by Fabrizio Bellomo on the nature of the digital image and on techniques such as fragmentation and division as new strategies for measurement and control. The project Wikiland by Klara Källström & Thobias Fäldt will also be presented. The work is a critique of photography’s ability to tackle cases such as WikiLeaks and to the politics of mass media in covering such events.

Addressing a similar theme in their work, Bruno Baltzer & Leonora Bisagno adopt a different strategy: they use an unsuitable technological device, a reflecting telescope, to document the State visit of French President François Hollande to Luxemburg. Their failed attempt unveils details that would otherwise remain invisible, opening up a series of tensions connected with the representation of power.

Another external contributor is Francesco Jodice, who opened the doors of his Milanese studio to POIUYT in order to record a conversation on the project’s genesis and images’ key role within our society. The video – shot with 360-degree cameras thanks to the partnership with Hypengage -, is a long sequence with a single cut inviting the spectator to engage in a fluid confrontation that touches upon several issues, including: the state of photography in Italy and the role played by museums in supporting research; the transformations of the photographic language and the political sense of operating within the art world; possible strategies for spreading critical awareness on the use and fruition of images.

Alongside presenting a selection of these contributions, the publication traces the project’s first steps, encompassing the works by Alessandro Sambini, Discipula and The Cool Couple which are on display in the Trieste exhibition. The latter gathers a set of practices sharing a specific research trajectory, which is an alternative to both traditional documentary photography and to stylistic experimentations on the medium, as it is based on the integration of such opposite poles. Within such practices, a thorough research on content is juxtaposed to a reflection on the consequences deriving from the choice of specific devices. Another constant thread among these practices is the awareness of the political meaning of images as key ingredients in the way the world is represented and reality is shaped.

The researches featured in the exhibition and publication are exemplary of such trajectory and share a precise strategy: the appropriation of existing models of key sectors in present-day society and their analysis through their re-contextualization within the exhibition space. Alessandro Sambini’s installation encompasses within the imaginary room of a fan a number of elements relevant to Replay!, a TV game show based on the remake of viral videos inspired by iconic media events, like the death of Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi, or by iconoclast acts of recent times. How Things Dream by Discipula is located within the world of corporate culture through Aura, a company that uses Big Data analysis as a source of information on human behaviours to sell a variety of services in various sectors such as domotics, health and safety, education and governance, and whose identity is based on the merging of the Californian ideology of Silicon Valley with neoliberal promises. With the installation Karma Fails – the first chapter of the cycle Turbulent Times dedicated to the Anthropocene – The Cool Couple reflect on the outburst of oriental philosophies in Western society and on the use of meditation techniques as a bio-political tool.

POIUYT’s next steps will be the exhibitions at Michela Rizzo Gallery scheduled in February 2018 and at Metronom in the following autumn. The ‘poiuyt’ is an impossible object, a complex and paradoxical figure that changes according to where the attention of the beholder is focused. An optical illusion that imposes a reflection. The ‘poiuyt’ becomes the symbol of a critical tendency that is necessary to consciously handle the way we deal with the power of images. The name derives from the last six letters in the top alphabet row of a computer’s keyboard, typed backwards.