VIR Viafarini-in-residence presents the outcomes of the researches enacted by the artists Fausto Falchi, nominated by Anna Daneri, and Danish artist Hannah Heilmann, invited thanks to the support of the Danish Arts Council Committee for International Visual Artsto develop The Shower project, involving a group of men in the investigation of the concept of masculinity in Milan and in Italy.
VIR Viafarini-in-residence thanks to the precious contribution of PaBAAC part of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, that actively supports the international exchange project, Fondazione Cariplo, and also thanks to Gemmo spa, Viafarini’s institutional partner, ACACIA - Associazione Amici Arte Contemporanea, and Fiorucci Art Trust.
Fausto Falchi, I. W. (Illegal Work)
If the construction of narrations is the staging of fiction, what we know and what we tell is necessarily only one of the possible reconstructions of events: Illegal Work drives a reflection on an uncertain story whose repressed and hidden elements overflow into the present.
Fruit of an obscure finding in a deindustrialized area of the contemporary Milanese suburban landscape – once the terrain of the workers’ struggle movement and the frontier of political theory –, the machine distributing bullets to be aimed at the executioner-on-duty exposes us to a critical doubt: the first vending machines introduced by Coca Cola, by which the newborn masses of consumers were pushed toward new lifestyles and models of consumption, experienced uses and reuses.
The machine aesthetic requires a short circuit. It reveals the hidden weaves in the historic fiction and inserts itself as a misleading element within the narration. It is as deceptive as the manipulations operated by the subversive forces, this time modeled by the state, within the activities of political struggle over the course of the Seventies.
Distributing bullets like pop cans; it makes no difference at all. Someone’s got to do the dirty job. Whose turn is it? [Pasquale Nunziata]
Hannah Heilmann, The Shower
I have asked men, via an open call, to join me in performing a manifest act of female gazing, posing for me taking a shower on skype, which I record.
The Shower is a bath, a show and a battle.
The project began as a reaction to the mainstream of sexualized imagery, its close connection to consumerism, and its crazy stubborn emphasis on male gazing. You and me, we grew up in a world surrounding us with pictures of sexy women. Pictures making a lot of assumptions about our sexuality, and, adding insult to injury, often linking it more or less directly to consumption. Oh! This capitalist hormone folklore! It makes my brain feel so soiled and my eyes so tired. The Shower is an attempted power inversion, which aspires to be horizontal, having the subject and the object do some fooling around in a blind spot of pop culture.
The web camera works as a ‘modern day Claude Glass’, an instrument to make the masculine picturesque: The broadcasted person, willingly or not, adjusts into flattering angles; the hazy picture quality mercifully blurs flaws, yet bring out character and subtle definition to muscles, like vaseline on the lens. However it also turned the photo sessions into a democratic process in which I may direct, but only capture what the shower’ers would choose to show me.