Marco Fusinato, DESASTRES, 2022, solo durational performance as installation, 200 days. Installation views, Australia Pavilion, 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2022. Photo: Andrea Rossetti
- The Australia Council for the Arts unveils DESASTRES by Marco Fusinato curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor in the Giardini della Biennale.
- DESASTRES will be performed by the artist every day of La Biennale Arte 2022 – 200 days in total.
- Fusinato’s ability to orchestrate spectacles and conceptually bring together vast swathes of art-historical and cultural references lies at the core of DESASTRES.
- Audiences will be able to engage with DESASTRES digitally via Instagram @desastres_desastres, desastresdesastres.com, and a livestream on Saturday 23 April 2022.
DESASTRES by Marco Fusinato has made its debut in the Australia Pavilion in the Giardini della Biennale.
Curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor, DESASTRES will be live for the entirety of La Biennale Arte 2022. The work is an invitation for audiences to come together within a high-intensity concentration of energy. What can’t be seen, can be felt: sound as physical matter which creates a transformative experience.
In the installation for DESASTRES, Fusinato uses equipment associated with spectacle as a form of sculpture. The work is unique each day it is initiated and, as it unfolds, it will radically transform the physical experience of each audience member.
Fusinato says: “My idea of activating the audience is to remind them that they are alive. That they have a pulse”.
The large-scale, immersive artwork sees Fusinato improvising slabs of noise, saturated feedback and discordant intensities with an electric guitar, triggering a deluge of disparate and disconnected images onto a freestanding floor-to-ceiling LED wall. The pavilion is simultaneously a de facto studio and a space for research where Fusinato can test cause and effect in real time.
The images are sourced via a stream of words that have been put into an open search across multiple online platforms. There is no theme as such, rather the immersion of sound and image is open for the audience to interpret and make sense of. The intent is to create some kind of hallucination, elation in disorientation and exhaustion from confusion.
Glass-Kantor says: “DESASTRES is a monster. A banquet of images that range from the benign to the blatant, absurd, twisted, sublime, bone-crushing and tense. The images build accumulatively, treading judiciously between chaos and intent. The audience for DESASTRES are witnesses who can no longer observe, singularly, anything. The perennial image.”
The piece is a culmination of Fusinato’s interests in experimental music, underground culture, mass media images and history painting. The performance explores the topics of labour, perseverance, and absenteeism through his ongoing presence (and absence) in the space. The title was influenced by the output of Japanese doom metal band Corrupted, whose lyrics are always written in Spanish, and the context in which Goya made his series Los Desastres de la Guerra (1810-20).
Fusinato says: “I’m aware that my references are pretty oblique, marginal, unpopular. And I have no expectation that what I do will be ‘liked’ so I’m never disappointed.”
Two material elements make up the installation, the freestanding floor-to-ceiling LED wall and the wall of amplification, both of which have been selected by the artist for their sculptural form and presence. The sheer scale of the LED wall that occupies the space overwhelms audiences with the images generated by the artist via a custom-built control unit. At its slowest setting, one image can be released for a whole day, at its fastest sixty images can be released per second. The artist will continue to bring into the pavilion objects that will trigger an expanded approach to the work. A 17th century Italian painting of a decapitated head is the DESASTRES mascot.
Originally from the foothills of the Dolomite ranges just under 100 kilometres north of Venice, Fusinato’s parents migrated to Australia where Fusinato was born. His ancestral relationship to Venice has a poetic fate – his return to the region to represent Australia, the country where his parents sought a new life.
Fusinato says: “I’m going back to exactly the same place my parents migrated from to represent the country they migrated to. There’s a collapse of time”.
Glass-Kantor says: “DESASTRES places the audience at the centre of the work. It’s through the combination of sound and image that audiences will experience the installation and performance. DESASTRES will offer a very physical experience, of feeling as much as seeing and hearing, immersed in the intensity of sound and images. The resulting all-consuming experience is open for the audience to interpret and make sense of”.
The Australia Council for the Arts is the Commissioner for Australia’s National Participation at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette AM says: “There will be nothing shy about the Australia Pavilion this year. And following the turmoil of recent years, this exhibition in Venice is set to be one of the most highly anticipated. Marco Fusinato’s DESASTRES, curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor promises an experience like no other. As the first durational work to be presented at the Australia Pavilion, it will also be a feat of endurance for the artist.
This important project is made possible thanks to a successful model of public and private investment. Australia’s presence in Venice is a valuable opportunity to showcase Australian arts and culture on a global platform, and to provide opportunities for arts professionals through our connected professional development programs.”
Audiences unable to travel to Venice can experience part of the project via a public livestream on Saturday 23 April, and follow the durational performance via the Instagram channel, @desastres_desastres, and the project’s website, www.desastresdesastres.com, where samples of Fusinato’s performance are released daily (sound and light warning).
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication that is co-published by the Australia Council and Lenz and distributed by Lenz. It features a new essay by Branden W Joseph, professor of art history at Columbia University and an extensive interview by Alexie Glass-Kantor with Marco Fusinato. It also includes texts by critical theorist and filmmaker Elizabeth Povinelli, AI researcher and author Kate Crawford, writer and curator Chus Martinez, and musicians/outre-guitarists Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Stephen O’Malley (SUNN O)))) and Bruce Russell (Dead C).
www.desastresdesastres.com WARNING: This livestream contains high intensity sound and rapid movement of light.