By Giulia Piceni. Cover image: A Glitch of Self spatial enviroment designed by sconcu.
On the evening of Monday, 13, a sense of community and celebration of talent filled the air during the opening of the A Glitch of Self art show at our school on Via de’ Tornabuoni.
The artists and Alumni from the previous year’s Arts Curating and Multimedia Arts programme have collaborated to showcase their creative process in an exhibition that took place both physically and digitally.
In addition to providing a guide for a better understanding of the event, which will be available to view until Thursday the 16th, here’s a quick overview of the opening’s in-person experience.
ALLOWING ART STUDENTS TO SHINE
As the visitors arrived at the school’s entrance corridor for A Glitch of Self, they were greeted by the relaxing melody of Under the Aurora (2023), a sound artwork by Sofie Engelschion. The atmosphere was filled with a gloomy sound and spots of darkness and orange light. The ground floor, stairs, and even the bathroom were adorned with projections belonging to the artists starring in the art show, transforming the space into a gallery or a dancing club at times. Attendees could witness a metaphysic city crumbling under the steps of a humanoid with metallic skin, a video installation dedicated to dancing as a way of growing up and enjoying life, digital totems that investigate the stages of life and a video essay that explored women’s relationship with hair. These works were respectively created by Flaminia Mattioli, Emma Maggiani, Abraham Yael Pérez and Jessica García Corral.
The presence of some of them at school added value to the experience as visitors could directly ask them about their artworks, gaining insights into the artists’ interpretations and creative processes. This direct interaction between the creators and the audience allowed for a deeper understanding of the art on display and its meaning.
The atmosphere was relaxed, and people enjoyed both the on-screen and off-screen creations of talented minds that Istituto Marangoni Firenze fostered over the past three years.
GET READY TO ERASE ALL PREJUDICE ABOUT ONLINE SPACES
During the transitional years of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were forced to experience art primarily through online spaces. As a result, art consumers became familiar with this new medium and learned its strengths and limitations. Probably due to the overuse of online platforms during a condensed period, a large portion of art enthusiasts began to develop a sense of resentment. They claimed that digital experiences could not replace the uniqueness of in-person events and that these platforms limited the potential of the art they displayed.
The spatial.io environment created for the exhibition A Glitch of Self is a unique online display space that is available for everybody to experience. It makes excellent use of the platform’s pros and cons. First of all, the venue would never be able to exist in reality and that can only exist in the abstraction of the digital world. The environment is incredibly dark and consists of vast spaces delimited by bright white lines that seem to reference Lars Von Trier’s Dogville. The space can transport the viewer into a parallel universe, making it a mesmerising experience.
A tunnel of judgmental eyes (Francesco Agazio), a painted maze enriched by sculptures (Girija Jhalani), the envisioning of the void (Emma Maggiani), a body crumbling over social pressure (Flaminia Mattioli), three futuristic totems (Abraham Yael Pérez) and a gigantic diary (Jessica Garcia Corral) are the students’ artworks, emphasised with zenith spotlights. It is also possible to escape complete darkness by entering a door that leads to a brighter parallel universe made of snow and aurora lights (Sofie Engelschion).
During the event, a video featuring Blender animations of the spatial.io artworks was projected in room 102, which was transformed into a blackout version of the White Cube to enhance the experience along with the use of VRs. However, this isn’t necessary for all users as the space was designed to be captivating for everyone. I can assure you that even those who are most skeptical about the medium will make up their mind after the A Glitch of Self spatial.io experience.
TIME FOR A READING PERFORMANCE
Artist Jessica García Corral, one of the students featured in the show, presented her artwork titled The Multi-Diary of Interpersonal + Interdisciplinary Arts (2023) as a reading performance that took place in the newly renovated school library.
There, as the artist read her diary, a background screen displayed the turning of the pages made of different materials. A mixture of Spanish, her native language, and English triggered a burst of self-consciousness.
The room was filled with attentive silence as I became immersed in the sound of the artist’s regular tone and the turning of the pages, changing composition from time to time. The performance reached its climax as the artist enshrined the diary inside a protected box with a transparent top and sides that will enable the Library’s passers-by to see the creation up close this week.
This final act completed the process of transforming the school into a gallery. The journey began with A Glitch of Self but promises to return in future with new talents, new Alumni and innovative formats.