Traces | 2015

05/06/2015 • 31/07/2015


Magazzino is pleased to announce an exhibition by Fiamma Montezemolo, curated by Emi Fontana. The project features 3 works, the installation The Three Ecologies and Field notes, both from 2015, and Traces, a video made in 2012.

The exhibition is accompanied by a text by Emi Fontana.

In the installation The Three Ecologies, the artist develops the concept of ecology by Félix Guattari, who, building on the anthropologist Gregory Bateson, approaches ecology through three dimensions: the social, the mental, and the environmental. This assemblage invites us to think ‘transversally’ and to approach ecology as the science of the household that connects mind, society, and environment in unpredictable ways. This expanded ecology is here reworked, by assembling cactus plants, a kilim carpet, and gallery dwellers invited to sit on it. As an ecosystem installed in a gallery space, The Three Ecologies creates an interactive milieu in which the presence of thorny nopals cactus plants and grass (nature) located in the carpet itself generate an uncanny-ness (mind/gallery visitor) that complicates the safe convivial framework of relational aesthetics (social).

In the video-essay Traces2012, ethnographic research and art forms combined, merge to create a meditation on the border life between the United States & Mexico. Based on both years of ethnographic work in Tijuana and an ascetic shooting schedule of 24hrs, the artist and anthropologist refracts her experience in the region by attempting to sculpt a textured living portrait, a sort of biography, of the Wall that separates Tijuana and San Diego. Images of a rusty wall, unruly topography, decaying surveillance structures, furtive moments of undocumented migrant crossings, and dystopian landscapes are interwoven with a mournful voice-over enunciated from a different time and place.  The fate of the Wall is sealed: its remains are to be collected like forensic evidence by a visitor, perhaps another anthropologist and artist, perhaps another undocumented migrant, from the future.

In the interactive installation Field notes, 2015, the audience is invited to interact with the artist-anthropologist’s fieldwork notes. Key words/concepts/affects/colors extracted from her fieldwork diary are both carefully and randomly selected and assembled in a personal constellation projected onto the gallery wall. This constellation has a specific system through which words/concepts are associated with specific colors/affects that meet at strategic points and create a mixed combination of both.

On June 5th at 6:30pm, MAXXI B.A.S.E. will host a special presentation and screening of Fiamma Montezemolo’s video Echo. Speakers include Hou Hanru, Iain Chambers, Viviana Gravano and Emi Fontana.


Via Guido Reni 4A

00197 Rome

Free entry

Fiamma Montezemolo is both a Cultural Anthropologist (PhD University Orientale of Naples) and an artist (MFA San Francisco Art Institute). She has taught for many years in Mexico, Italy and USA and she is currently teaching at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco. As an established scholar in border and urban studies, she has patiently designed rigorous and long-term ethnographic-artistic interventions at the Tijuana-San Diego border. She is widely published and the author of two monographs: on Zapatismo and on Chicano/a politics of representation, as well as co-author (with Rene’ Peralta and Heriberto Yepez) of Here is Tijuana (Blackdog Publishing, London, 2006) and co-editor (with Josh Kun) of Tijuana Dreaming, Life and Art at the Global border (Duke Press, 2012). As an artist she situates her work as a critical extension and overcoming of the ethnographic turn in contemporary art. She works with various media, including installation, cartography, video, digital photography, industrial materials, performance, archival documents. Her art work has been exhibited, among other places, in New York, San Francisco, San Diego, New Orleans, Dublin, Rome, Mexico City, Tijuana, Morelia.