Hallenbad Project at Video Sound Art Festival

Video Sound Art, the production centre and festival that since 2011 has been promoting young talents and creative and interdisciplinary languages, with a special focus on craft practices and new technologies, returns to Milan. After taking place in various cultural venues in Milan – such as Albergo Diurno Venezia, Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Bagni Misteriosi Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci and Castello Sforzesco, to name but a few – the event will be held this year at the Liceo Scientifico Volta, among the school desks and classrooms. Once again, with the support of the City of Milan, the Lombardy Region, the Consulate General of Germany and under the patronage of the Hellenic Foundation for Italian Culture.

For four days, 12 international artists will invade the spaces of the Milanese high school with a diffuse exhibition of installations, films and site-specific interventions. The theme is ‘the rest’, interpreted as the ‘not yet completed’, the future. “The remainder, the invisible element that holds up the scaffolding of society. Jacques Derrida attributed to the Remainder the value of unpredictability but above all the possibility of rewriting. During a discussion on the theme of the exhibition, a student from Volta told us to recognise the Remainder in present time, impalpable compared to past time and projections on the future. The Remainder for this edition is the filter that allows us to imagine concrete transformative actions, since the starting point is not what is distant but what is in front of us”. Laura Lamonea

The questions revolve around the not yet, the future, what is left to imagine a space for revolutionary action and initiate a transformative act. The exhibition route ascends through corridors and staircases imbued with the presence of students. It is in the ascent that utopia turns into enquiry and the artists, surrounded by shiny tiles and mixing instruments, stake much of the stakes on overturning the point of view. “‘The stronger the content of the show, the more the formal aspect needs to be developed’. In chemistry labs, the works mix contradictory pairs – elegance and repulsive details – doubling visual perception. In total scenic effervescence the unmasking takes place.

Hallenbad Project is the testimony of a performance realised in three swimming pools – Milan, Pontresina and Sacca Fisola. The complex installation presents a meticulous reconstruction of the phases of the project: the preparatory drawings, the swimming costume, the white bandages, the video footage taken by the artist herself while she is swimming and by the crew that follows her walking with the equipment along the sides of the pool. In the photographic portraits she appears constrained but authoritative in her heavy armour. The sound installation – a reproduction of the swimming pool in the girls’ changing room at the school – introduces us into a floating mental space within which we perceive the echo of the artist’s arm movements and breathing. Time is measured by the rhythm of the breath. The gesture combines spontaneity and precision, showing the inseparable relationship between body and mind. In her we find the essence of the dramatic fact: the existential dimension that Letizia Cariello presents to us crosses the centuries, has no temporal collocation, draws rhythm from the heartbeat and motivation from the inner impulse.