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photos by Zeno Zotti


Canned Laughter

Yoshua Okón


curated by Gabi Scardi

May 7 - June 6, 2009

On Thursday May 7 2009 Viafarini opens in its venue at Fabbrica del Vapore
Canned Laughter, a multimedia project by mexican artist Yoshua Okón, curated by Gabi Scardi.
The artwork documents the creation of a maquiladora, a typical mexican factory which exploits underpaied workers and most of the times is run on account of foreign multinational companies.
The factory conceived by Okón produces canned laughters, a fundamental multimedia product used by the television entertainment industry. The artist rented a section of one of the many empty shells of the ex-assembly plants in Ciudad Juarez, hired a group of people from the area and ask them to “orchestrate” their laughters to recreate different effects: hysterical laughters, nervous ones, wicked and so on.
In its project Okón studies intently the communicative codes of the corporate image: from the uniform to the logo, and also the criteria of the set up of the factory, in order to let the mise-en-scene be the more realistic. The artist wants the public to reflect upon the limits of the relationship between the original spontaneity of the emotion and the serial logics of contemporary industry.
The exhibitional project for Viafarini space plans a series of video projections and a multimedia installation made of hanged cans, through wich the visitors will be able to listen to the various laughters types that has been produced.

As artist stated: “The piece stems from my interest in the inexplicability of humor and its subtleties, and this project also has to do with the impossibility of translating “true” emotion and reproducing it through technological means. I am interested in traslating laughter in particular because I very much see it as a “social gesture” which also relates to my broader artistic process.”

Born in Mexico City in 1970, Yoshua Okón studied at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and at UCLA in Los Angeles. Lives and works in Mexico City and Los Angeles. He exhibited at many relevant international institutions: CCA Wattis, San Francisco; New Museum, New York; Hayward Gallery, Londra; PS1 MOMA, New York; Getty Center, Los Angeles; Artists Space, New York. In 2008 he participated at Art Perform, Art Basel Miami Beach and in 2005 at Turin Triennale, Castello di Rivoli, Italy.
His artworks are included in the following collections: Blanton Museum Collection, Austin; Colección Fundación ARCO, Madrid; Colección Lopez Rocha, Guadalajara, Mexico; Collection Pierre Huber, Ginevra; CIFO, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami; Fondazione Morra Greco, Napoli; Jumex Collection, Mexico City; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; Tate Modern, London, England.

Viafarini thanks francesca kaufmann for the collaboration

With the support of Fondazione Cariplo, Epson and Gemmo.


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last update 29-09-2009