12 Oct 2020

Constitution of the SUDoB

Sovereign Universal Domain of Benna
Needless to say that this is the Original World Normality

I have a philosophic view on how the earthly life of a human being should be, and the Sovereign Universal Domain of Benna (SUDoB) is just how I defined it, in order to name and refer to what is essentially a kingdom where everybody is their own sovereign, my Realm.
All the people gifted with wisdom, moved by a pure mind or longing for freedom and justness can live in this boundless Realm, which is universal. They just have to wish that, as this Realm is found in and founded on our desires.

The SUDoB is populated by me, but there is much space for everyone. There is no special requirement: no need to be weak or strong, naive or enlightened, misfit or virtuous: you just have or wish to be a freethinker gifted with willpower to join the domain where the coruscant lights of freedom and respect vanish the shadows of a dystopic world of oppression and exploitation.

No masters, no servants.

Within the SUDoB there is no government, no hierarchies, no social classes, no institutions, no armies, no courthouses, no prisons, no banks, no money or most of the many things that usually underpin the alien states, as it has nothing to offer and nothing to ask except your unconditioned and binding loyalty to its Constitution.


CONSTITUTION
OF THE
SOVEREIGN UNIVERSAL DOMAIN OF BENNA

The Sovereign Universal Domain of Benna recognises the irrepressible nature of the individual: no other individual, group or majority of individuals shall force an individual.

For the purpose of respecting the freedom of each single individual, everyone can draw inspiration from the various classic formulae of the Golden Rule, of which this new relativistic revision is proposed: “do not do to another what he does not want to be done to him.”

For the purpose of respecting the freedom of each single individual, this Constitution promulgates one only universal legislative article, with which it promotes a lifestyle expressed by three precepts that thwart the recourse to the abuse, besides favouring the respect for the natural environment.

Article 1

Be thrifty, be independent, be keen.


That is all about, anything else would be just further explanation. This simple triune exhortation originates from the conceptual artwork “bait (the three deadly sins)” finished eleven years before, that was the expression of a long meditation.

Benna, bait or the three deadly sins, 2008-2009
Photographic triptych, three photographic prints, 51.3 x 50 cm each

At that time I wanted to go deep into the investigation on the essence of sin, and I isolated three irreducible points: greed, addiction and sloth, where addiction is the fulcrum around which the other two antithetical bad behaviours are pivoting.

If you respect the Constitution and put into practice the three precepts you can not do wrong.

So, how one should live? I will not tell you how you have to live, I prefer to offer models, telling you how I live.

I live thriftily. No matter how much wealth or power one may have, people gasping to reach and keep that position are either servants or are exploiting other servants. You may wonder that I live with no cell phone, no TV set, no bank account, no citizenship (obviously except my Realm), not even a bed, not travelling for leisure, never bought a car, not desiring anything unnecessary. This is a matter of respecting my own conscience living beside the environment, because nature is the source of my inspiration, feeding body and soul.

Like many artists, I love independence: this is the reason why I wrote the Constitution. Dependence is like addiction a pivotal problem that in a society is represented by the specialisations, while artists of all times pursued an all-around eclecticism.

I live keenly: my artistic eclecticism is just a reverberation of my personal life and passion for doing and learning things.

And my interest in ecology is evident: you may know already that my art is connected since its inception to the spiritual nature of things and the environment, which is both natural and societal.

Be in

Then, if you agree with the Constitution, perhaps you are worthy of being a “Sudobian” already, and there is no need for bureaucracy or papers to demonstrate that, your will is sufficient, but if you wish to become a registered inhabitant of the SUDoB, you can send your intent of belonging with some words of motivation to possibly obtain your admission.


If you go against the Constitution, you automatically lose your belonging.

If you wish to hold a more tangible proof of your belonging to the SUDoB, you may submit a request (with some words of motivation if you are not a registered Sudobian already) to the pretentious Domain of Benna Highest Bureau (a useless office indeed to cope with the alien custom of foreign affairs) for the release of your own SUDoB passport, which is recognised within the Realm but not in alien realms: you may desperately try to cross their alien borders with it and in case of suspicious officers the Highest Bureau will endorse and confirm your citizenship.


9 Jun 2020

Originalism manifesto

Originalism

Preface

In the modern epoch we have witnessed the dusk of the big idealisms and of the art movements that shook the Twentieth Century. Contemporary art has been characterized by a relativistic explosion, where many have been searching for their own muse in the introspection, elevating intellectually, while in the same scenario some have pursued the self-affirmation of their ego searching for prestige, but often ending up becoming exquisitely decorated but empty containers.
Supporting since ever that expressive relativism, defending the conscience as primacy of the individual, quite unexpectedly I find myself promoting movements to the collectivity, that is writing manifestos: after the recent one on Procedure art, now I feel that it is necessary to share the manifesto of what I defined as Originalism, I believe that the art and intellectual world today should focus on precise topics to counterbalance a dangerous inclination of mankind toward techno-addiction, which will lead to a techno-nihilism.

if only Giotto had known, 2019
Object. Woven palm leave, ⌀ 70 × 7 mm, unique

Although the artist is a “technology’s minister”, thus capable of crossing the natural bounds, since ever I had an innate feeling of empathy with the nature and of astonishment for the cosmos.
After having known well and experimented firsthand the possibilities of the machine, that feeling returns even more strong, inalienable, because it is the only one source of inspiration and knowledge, only one source of pleasure and freedom, compared to which the practical advantages of technology are like sand between the fingers, that engages you too much in the continuous attempt to hold it, it subjugates you (see the article Exposing the enslaver machine of 2012).
Therefore the artist can be considered a sacerdotal figure, in the sense of depositary and administrator, beside shamanic in the Beuysian sense.

Since ever, my artworks have been conceptual, developed around a fundamental seed, which external form is just a wrapping, an interface with the others, an appeal. With time I further reduced the weight of the technical component, up to the creation of works of arte poverissima (very poor art), even ephemeral, for my personal pleasure of primigenial contact with the intelligent cosmos.
Among the many in my eclectic inventory, I started to discern those works materially very poor, beside collecting the documentation of other introspective acts never catalogued, with the intention to write a manifesto of this conceptual trend. On that moment I learned of the passing of Germano Celant, founder of Arte Povera (Poor Art), and I have read into this coincidence a sign that this was the time to complete and publish the manifesto. As a matter of fact years have passed since I started thinking about how to call this new trend, right including Arte Poverissima, but at last I wanted to keep a distance from the most common acceptation of the term “poor”: considering an art as poor for being made of poor materials is due to the common concept that riches are something material or pecuniary, while to me riches are the richness of thought, of the intellect, of the concept, of knowledge, thus a work is poor only when it says nothing, even if made with gold and diamonds. In addition, Originalism rejects the use of industrial materials that are widely present in Arte Povera, with which it shares instead the search for harmony between man and nature and the refusal of the consumerist materialism.


MANIFESTO

Modern civilization has been characterized by an abnormal and unbalanced development of materialism, which determined a serious environmental and human deterioration, up to eclipsing the impalpable dimensions of metaphysics to the point that the existence of many, as shut into a Platonic Cave, has no more contact with them.
Originalism refers to the origin: be that of the material, that must be as much natural as possible; be either of the concept, that must go back as much as possible to the essential principle; or be that of the expression, that must return to a status of pureness freeing itself from the schemes of the materialist hedonism.
In order that an artwork could be considered originalist, beside expressing the principles of Originalism, it should be materially humble but conceptually or spiritually significant, modest in the form but weighty in the  meaning, made with matters of natural and organic origin, or found materials, or reused, obtained in a primitive way, without using technologically complex tools, non-polluting, created by yourself and not benefiting of the other people’s work, which is the precondition of the industrialization and of the consumerism.
Therefore, the originalist artwork is as more coherent to its genre as many of the following points it satisfies:
1) it is formally or materially humble or simple;
2) it is intellectually or spiritually significant;
3) it is made of ecological matters, found or free, in their natural state or processed your own;
4) it is created without the use of tools, unless they are simple, manually or mechanically powered, or self-constructed;
5) it does not require energy from polluting sources, in the creation and for its functioning;
6) it does not make use of industrial technology or that considers the work of others, but only self-produced.


Afterword

Even sharing and apparently overlapping the ideals of Primitivism, Originalism is diverging from it because allowing more emphasis on the intellectual and metaphysical component, tracing back to and taking inspiration from a primigenial human condition where the being is still capable of feeling the cosmos, of feeling that he is the cosmos, like a newborn is conscious that he is the centre of the universe, that is individual or Self. Originalism does not reject the rationality of knowledge and allows the memory of science (term meant etymologically as the knowing, conscience or intelligent spirit capable of understanding the cosmos, not as notional dogmatism,) without regressing from intellectual evolution, which is fundamental in the transcendental search, without reverting to a mechanistic instinctual behaviour. Originalism diverts also from the criticisms regarding the feared socio-economical issues of Primitivism, raised by such a society that can’t do without the pragmatic advantages of technology and doing anything to prevent the sunset of that interdependence required by industrialization, by consumerism, by exploitation and by profit. Further, Originalism is different also from Environmental and Ecological arts that are more pivoted on the practical issues than the metaphysical and spiritual dimension of an originalist existence.

The term Originalism suggests also the search for the origins of human expression, that is the materialization of an idea, which, in primordial epochs, even prior to the birth of language, was often inexpressible without a representation either visual, allegorical or symbolical. Nonetheless, since the concept is an important component in this genre, word and writing are considered in any way, both in the body and as title of the artwork.

The most extreme form of Originalism would be the vision of a human being as a naked creature that interacts with the natural environment, disconnected from the modernity, with a naive behaviour that is not altered by the mind constructs, not only technological but above all cultural, notional and dogmatic, that are inducing an artificial, adulterated acting. For the actual evolved and knowing individual, it is obviously very difficult to think in a genuinely primordial way, he can only represent his own ideal vision of spontaneity; but practising one’s own deep soul can be useful to reconcile with nature and to emancipate from the technology addiction.

Originalism, beside that it could be considered an evolution of Arte Povera, becoming Arte Poverissima, it could be defined also:
- pre-Daedalism, or pre-Minoan art, inasmuch inspired to epochs prior to the dawn of applied arts, to the birth of the artist’s archetype who creates on commission or with an artisanal purpose, who then gets rid of materialism and profit, devoting himself to the knowing and the research;
- primalism or primordialism, in the acceptation of primitive, referred to the era when art was purely an expressive need rather than a skill or a bargaining chip;
- essentialism, in the capacity of searching for the essence of things;
- pre-technicism or pre-art, that is prior to the creation of the same concept of art or technique.


Gallery of officially archived artworks

A list of artworks pertaining Originalism that have been officially included in the archive.

rewilding a plum tree, 2014
Itinerant performance, 5’03”

all rods lead to Rome, 2016
Itinerant performance, 28’41”

if only Giotto had known, 2019
Object. Woven palm leave, ⌀ 70 × 7 mm, unique

the meaning of life in a nutshell, 2020
Object. Nutshell, cotton thread, various sizes, ed. 8

the secret of eternal life in a nutshell, 2020
Object. Nutshell, ink on wax paper, various sizes, ed. 8

urlinie, 2020
Series of six dysfunctional pan flutes. Cane, thread, various sizes

two plus two, 2020
Object. Sections of palm twig, various sizes, ed. 2

bundle of four different similarities, 2020
Object. Date palm twig, packing thread, various sizes, ed. 4

straight line walk, 2020
Dysfunctional walking stick. Cane, vine, ink, variable size (85 cm length), unique

four potatoes, 2020
Photograph. Print on paper 40 × 40 cm, ed. 4

alternate ingeneration, 2020
Object. Dried catgrass panicles, various sizes, ed. 3

issuing triad, 2020
Object. Dried catgrass, packing thread, variable size, ed. 2

almost peer, 2010-2020
Performance. Photographic documentation, variable size

memorable dates, 2019-2020
Series of four objects. Date palm kernels and wax on wood, ~ 9 × 38 x 1 cm


Gallery of uncatalogued ephemeral works

As said above, in the past years, almost a decade, I was nursing this idea about a primitive art, staging the following seminal actions that were mostly ephemeral, therefore surviving only as photographic documentation, thus not archived in the official catalogue. You will hardly see these works in an exhibition, I just list them here to illustrate the whole path that led me to Originalism today.

pointless investigation, 2002

the birth of dichotomy, 2010

celestial tetrapod, 2010

man grove, 2010

hemisun, 2010

ISUN, 2010

disc code, 2010

triadic gear hemisun, 2011

four flowers but one, 2011

five compelling instant stelae, 2011

floating antenna, 2011

curiosity killed the actinian, 2011

sail, 2011

two flowers, 2011

flower, 2011

ground-to-air extenna, 2011

cerulean rimmel (stranded velella and seashell), 2013

eternal sundial, 2013

sculpted flower, 2014

rebus, 2014

ambush, 2014

eyefish, 2014

squaring the triangle on a pure stone, 2014

triangulating the annulus, 2016

humanized rat skull, 2018


Originalist poetry

As a final word, I wrote also several poems inspired to this feeling, during the conceptual development and right in the places where I left the ephemeral works, mostly facing the sea. You can find all these verses collected along many more in Poems 2002-2020, available here.


27 Mar 2020

Procedure art manifesto

Procedure art

MANIFESTO

Procedure art is a kind of relational or social art where the artist releases to the public a procedure (i.e. instructions) to create the work of art itself.


Digression

The locution Procedure art was born to describe a new genre of conceptual artworks I created starting from 2013 which I can now delineate as a new form of art. Procedure art must not be confused with procedural art, which relates instead to computer programming, while Procedure art is related to people developing physical or conceptual artworks and actions. Procedure art could be called also Instructional performance.


Benna's actual procedure artworks

As of today, 27 March 2020, I created four procedure artworks: voice extender”, 2020, is my fourth procedure artwork, following the third one “custom rule”, 2020, the second one “owning darkness”, 2016, and the first one “socialnetwork”, 2013.

The immaterial/documentation artwork "voice extender" is a procedure instructing the public to take a photographic documentation while shouting with the hands around the mouth to form an amplification funnel, or megaphone.

The conceptual artwork “custom rule” is a web-based interactive program in form of a skeleton user-customisable interface (actual version 1.0) resulting in a shareable link of your interface flavour, making users feel their illusory prospects of changing the rule, the system, as this is what customisable interfaces are meant to: make your jail more intimate, your duty less distressing.
The immaterial artwork "owning darkness" is a video instructing people on how to create a "biological picture" of darkness inside their head, where the person is the medium and the mental picture is the work of art.
owning darkness on aaaabeegimnnnrs.net

The immaterial/physical conceptual artwork "socialnetwork" is a set of behaviours I self imposed and requirements asked to fellow artists to create a collective work of art using their personal pictures from an artists-oriented social platform to test the effectiveness of social media relations.
socialnetwork on aaaabeegimnnnrs.net



21 Apr 2016

La condition inhumaine

La condition inhumaine, 2010-2012
Oil on canvas and acrylic on wooden frame, 115 × 96 cm (canvas 100 × 81 cm)


Although a pleasant activity, I seldom paint, essentially when functional to the artwork’s conceptual intent. In the case of “La condition inhumaine” (the inhuman condition), oil painting obviously was the only option, as I wanted to create a reinterpretation of the renowned surrealist painting on canvas “La condition humaine” (the human condition) made by Magritte in 1933.

The original painting, “La Condition Humaine” by RenĂ© Magritte

In 2010 I had the chance to thoroughly examine the original painting from the Washington National Gallery of Art (or at least a perfect reproduction of it) that was on display at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, and I covertly photographed it eluding the strict surveillance personnel, until I had enough references of the details and the paint texture.


As you may have guessed, the intent of my reinterpretation, in few words, regards environmental pollution, but more philosophically it is a sort of conceptual manifesto in parallelisms with the metaphysical question raised by Magritte.

Magritte was deeply interested in the comparison between the human sphere and the natural world, and on this point “La Condition Humaine” is one of the most paradigmatic, placing the observer inside a space, a sheltering room, an enclave, from which he stares at the reality of the wild through a window, while the painting pictured in front of it seamlessly matches the outside landscape, representing the fake experience of men who can not feel they are part of nature.

I deeply understand Magritte and agree with his view, but today we should make a further consideration, as mankind has gone further: we are destroying nature, as much subtly as obstinately. What Magritte would say looking at a the skies of today?
Men lie to themselves, as they do not want to see what they are causing to the environment (thus to themselves, if they only could feel they are part of it), because they just care about their own longings.
What they are not capable to see is on plain view in the sky, which is evidently disfigured by chemical pollution from jet trails, or chemtrails, and even invisibly, being full of nano-particles from incinerators fumes and noxious artificial radioactive ions from nuclear plants, either damaged by accidents or “normally” producing depleted uranium.
From the air tons of chemical compounds fall down, slowly poisoning everything, everyday.


So in my reinterpretation I just painted what I see everyday: a corrupted sky, while I kept the original layout of the interior, in this case with the pictured painting differing from the outside, to suggest that people do not notice any more the difference between a polluted sky and a natural sky: a normalisation has occurred in their mind, because they see that everyday, in the sky above and in all media. The artists must urgently ban or expose this normalisation in their artworks.
Just remember that right today the youngest people never saw in person a natural sky, and in few decades everyone would know how it was only looking at old records.


Beside the macroscopic change of the “geoengineered” sky, I added two nuclear plant towers and one incinerator chimney, which may be also the one of an oil refinery, plus some slight diversifications in the liveliness of the foliage and the saturation between the landscape outside and the one portrayed in the pictured painting, to enhance something that in real life is so subtle, and yet so real: the poisoning of the planet.


Obviously I replaced Magritte’s signature with mine, the pictorial one.


Technically speaking, first I cut a custom canvas to the measures of the original one: 100 × 81 cm, more precisely 99.99999909 × 81 cm (which quotient is 1.23456789), where I have then sketched the scene with graphite.

I really care about environmental issues, so I painted this canvas using only non-toxic pigments, and no solvents except water, as I used water soluble linseed oil: as said above, this is for the safety of the environment, thus of the painter too.

Oil painting takes much time, so the completion took nearly two years, obviously simultaneously to other projects, during the waits for the necessary drying.

When finished, in the next six months before the final coating, I designed the wooden frame and section on the model of the original one, that has been cut thanks to the help of Cecco, a very experienced carpenter and creative woodworker. I then assembled and hand painted it with dark brown and gold acrylics to resemble the original one.

Then the painting sat another year, awaiting the complete drying of the coating, before to travel toward its first public exhibition in 2014.


14 May 2014

short movie #1

short movie #1, 2005
Audio-visual, SD 4:3 Stereo, 2’40”


This audio-visual was one of the firsts I released, the second one to be exact.

In 2006 it won the 6th Golem Videofestival of Turin, Italy, then it was screened in few occasions receiving many appraisals from friends, onlookers and experts.

Lately it came again to popularity, having been selected by Food Art Awards 2013, by Play With Food 5 2014 in Turin and in Milan, by F.I.V.E. Feelings International Videoart Experience world tour and screened at the 3rd Biennale of Oran. That is why I'm going to write something about it now, besides that not everyone has fully got its meaning.

The video is minimalist, simply showing a sequence of 79 crackers taken out from a package of a very famous Italian brand of spaghetti and other foods, with just one final graphic addition and some sound effects. Indeed the package contained 80 crackers, but one was broken.

In the official caption I wrote: “The intent is to underline the non-reality represented by a product-image and let to emerge the hypocrisy of the commercial message that is an emblem of the illusion of a genuine world and of a false nature, unmasked thanks to the very matter of the product, or in this case by the 39 holes of the crackers.”

I do not consume mass-marketing foods like these, but I had the chance to catch something weird on this bakery product during a dinner at friends' house, so the very next day I bought one package at the store for a better investigation, which confirmed that my intuition was right.


Putting it simple, when at first I examined one of the crackers, I noticed the irregularity of the small holes: some were round, some were smaller, some were irregular; that would be the evidence of handmade production, just like if someone was coarsely piercing the crackers with a homely tool. Then I noticed that these irregular holes were scattered on the surface of all the crackers exactly in the same way: the holes have an identical array and shape for all the crackers, revealing that the crackers are indeed made by a machine, as you may expect from something coming out of an assembly line.

The attempt to confer a genuine look to this mass product is the very deceptive subliminal message promoted by the famous Italian brand: a genuine world. Imagine the managers of that brand who ask a designer to design the cookie-cutter mask for the industrial machine so it would print crackers as if they were home-made. This is intentional deception.

The video ends up with the very cookie-cutter graphical mask I extrapolated from the scheme of holes.


The ending title is “39 holes”, which is the number of holes on these crackers. 39 is an important number, full of historical and esoteric meanings, being 3 times 13 and also the number of lashes given by rabbis to people deserving 40. The rabbinical laws forbid to give more than 40 lashes as punishment, since 40 are considered sufficient to kill a man; besides, being that 40 is used in Semitic tradition as an indeterminate large number of items, and to show mercy, and finally to avoid miscounts that would violate the law of 40, the maximum number of lashes given to anyone has always been 39, 40 minus 1, just like the number of times people hit slaves in ancient Rome: forty save one; traditionally that is also the number of lashes given to Jesus of Nazareth. Then, 13 is esoterically associated to Jesus Christ or the one who dies, the excess beyond the perfect number 12, as the 12 Apostles or zodiac constellations. Finally, bread is traditionally the Body of Christ.
39 holes in the Body of Christ, that I have symbolically translated into the video as the consumers deserving this punishment of deception.

Surrealistically, I imagined a robotic granny who pierces numberless doughs at lightning speed; that's why I added the subtitle “the genuine scheme of serial granny”.

Here is the video, raise the volume or listen with headphones.


short movie #1, 2005 Audio-visual, SD 4:3 Stereo, 2’40”