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    Maurizio Bolognini. Infinito personale
    opere/works 1988-2006
    2007
    64 pgs, cm. 27
    Language: Italian/English
    Publisher: Nuovi Strumenti
    ISBN: 88-87262-47-0

     


Indice / Contents


Maurizio Bolognini o dell’ascetismo tecnologico 
Maurizio Bolognini or Technological Asceticism 

Mario Costa 

Metafore e traslochi 
Metaphors and Moves 

Sandra Solimano 

Macchine programmate: l’infinito fuori controllo. Conversazione con Maurizio Bolognini 
Programmed Machines: Infinity out of Control. A Conversation with Maurizio Bolognini 

Opere / Works 

Cronologia dei principali lavori 
Chronology of Main Works 

Nota biografica 
Biographical Notes 


 

from Mario Costa, "Maurizio Bolognini or Technological Asceticism", in Maurizio Bolognini. Infinito personale, Nuovi Strumenti, 2007, pp. 5-8: 

"In 1925, Ortega y Gasset pointed out for the first time the tendency in modern art towards "dehumanization" and highlighted in particular the total and intentional inexpressivity of both works of art and artists: "there can be no doubt that there is a trend towards the purification of art. This need will lead to a progressive elimination of human elements [...] And a moment will come in this process when the human content of the work of art will be so slight as to be hardly perceptible [...] What is important is the undoubted presence in the world of a new aesthetic sensibility [ ...] the tendency to 'dehumanize' art [...] the art we are talking about is not only 'inhuman' because it does not contain human things but also because it consists precisely in this 'dehumanizing' activity [...] For the new artists aesthetic pleasure derives from this triumph over the human" [1].
Ortega, whose attitude towards this state of affairs was one of some uncertainty and doubt [2], was primarily interested in the sociological aspects of the ensuing formation of an art for that "class of the privileged" which interested him so much, but, leaving this aside, his observations were both ahead of their time and extremely lucid and valuable.
What was missing from his analysis, however, was an attempt to understand the causes of the phenomenon he described, or rather - differently expressed but amounting to the same thing - he failed to make the connection that others would later make in a rough way between it and what had happened and was happening in the field of technology.
For undoubtedly the "dehumanization" of art and the "technologization" of the world go hand in hand and are two sides of the same phenomenon.
Philosophical thought itself lives through the development and the repercussions of technology and each time can do nothing else but transform into great metaphors ideals which are nothing other than the being and the ways of functioning of the technical devices of the time.
To take a single example: what was the effect of the experiments carried out by Newton on the "optical conprism" from 1664 onwards on the philosophy of Spinoza, the constructor of optical apparatuses and friend and correspondent of Huygens?
Even in 1806, in Fichte's "The Way Towards the Blessed Life", the "optical prism" continued to perform its "ontological" function without it being very clear whether it was a mere illustration of the theory or indeed its matrix and foundation: "your sensitive eye is a prism in which the sensible world, which is in itself pure, uniform and colourless, is refracted in varied colours on the surface of things. You certainly do not conclude that the world is in itself coloured but only that it is refracted in colours in your eye and on your eye through a reciprocal action. You cannot see the colourless ether; you can only think of it [...] divine existence, existence in the sense in which I understand it, in the sense, that is, of manifestation and revelation, is absolutely and necessarily in itself light, albeit interior and spiritual light. This light, free of itself, is divided and refracted in diverse and infinite rays and thus in each of these separate rays is distinguished from itself and from its primitive source".[3] "The Way Towards the Blessed Life" was written some years before Fichte's death, and in it Fichte, with a strong ascetic intonation, almost proposes the cancellation of the very raison d'être of the individual, and the fact that all his thinking revolves around the functioning of a technical instrument, the "optical prism", takes on an important meaning.
In short, "dehumanization", "technology" and "asceticism" are intrinsically interlinked and connected ideas, and often they work together. This is true today more than ever.
In the twentieth century, and despite the constant reappearance of neo-romantic and variously expressionistic tendencies, the intense activity of the "dehumanization of art" proceeds, always in connection with the irruption of technology, and it represents the most lively part of the aesthetic experimentation of our time and that which is most appropriate to it.[4] Within this whole context the work of Maurizio Bolognini takes on paradigmatic and almost all-inclusive value and meaning.
He started out, towards the end of the 1980s, in a way which was already complete and everything was clear to him from the very beginning.
"Inexpressivity" and the setting aside of all interest in "subjectivity" with its interior stories formed the starting point. He likewise set aside "meaning" with its whole apparatus of metaphors and symbols [...] Elsewhere I have described the type of "exercises" he carries out by activating in the abstract the physiology of the electronic machine, and I have shown how this physiology (lack of control, randomness, flow, the acceptance of the hyper-subject...) is objectivized and gives rise to a concrete and varied series of works. [5] What remains for me to say is that if in future we wish to capture and understand the anthropological and spiritual age we live in, we shall have to turn our attention to these works by Bolognini."
(Mario Costa)

1. José Ortega y Gasset - The Dehumanization of Art (1925). 
2. "It will be said that new art has not yet produced anything which is worthwhile, and I feel very inclined to think the same [...] Who knows what proof of itself this nascent style will give! The enterprise it undertakes is marvellous: it wants to create something from nothing. I hope that in future we will be content with less and obtain more" (op.cit.). 
3. Johann Gottlieb Fichte - The Way Towards the Blessed Life (1806). 
4. I have tried to illustrate and argue for what may appear to be non-apodictic statements in numerous parts of my theoretical and militant work.
5. See my writings, to be found in various catalogues: Maurizio Bolognini e la casualità tecnologica (1996 and 2002), Bolognini e la domesticazione del sublime (2003 and 2005), Maurizio Bolognini: SMS Mediated Sublime (2004).




from
Sandra Solimano, "Metaphors and Moves", in Maurizio Bolognini. Infinito personale, Nuovi Strumenti, 2007, pp. 17-18: 

"I met Maurizio Bolognini for the first time personally in 2003 when I invited him to Villa Croce for the exhibition "The Journey of the Immobile Man", an exhibition showing the works of some of the major artists in the field of international video art, from Paik to Bill Viola. It was immediately clear that Maurizio's work had little to do with the mimetic, environmental or illusionistic use of video and audio technologies to which the exhibition referred. Emblematic and not without a certain fascination was the simultaneous presence in two connected and adjacent spaces of his Sealed Computers and the virtual figure of Laurie Anderson in miniature - almost a hologram but in fact only a video-projection on a three-dimensional outline.
More recently (2005) Bolognini put on a personal show - almost a retrospective - for the Museo di Villa Croce and on this occasion I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of his work through a conversation I had with him that was then published in the catalogue. Despite - or perhaps precisely because of - this opportunity, I must say that my first reading of his work, decidedly atypical compared to the rich bibliography about him, continues to seem to me to be a possible reading, which in some way disregards the position of Bolognini in the constellation of Technological Artists, and brings him back into what is for me the more familiar field of conceptual research and to one of the central themes of Conceptual Art, that of reflection on the great categories of existence, the coordinates of space and time. From Manzoni's Linea Infinita to On Kawara's One Million Years, from Anselmo's Infinito to Claudio Costa's much warmer and anthropological incursions, the attempts to arrest in an image or in an idea the elusive dimension of space (and thus of time) is a thread running through the artistic research of the latter half of the twentieth century which, in these and other artists, makes use of the categories of the metaphor and the symbol, triggering off in the spectator a mechanism of attunement and complicity which in effect virtually completes the paradox of an impossible materialization of the infinite.
Maurizio Bolognini's out-of-control infinities are located (provisionally) at the end of this path, where there is a movement, which may not appear evident to the distracted spectator, from the virtuality of the idea to a reality where space and time are truly (or at least potentially) infinite......"
(Sandra Solimano)



The notion of the "infinite" finite, as puzzling as that may sound, provides a possible clue to the premise of this exhibition which  utilizes computer software that allows the creation of an ongoing web of random images for a virtually unlimited amount of time [...] Bolognini's cryptic universe is silent and inaccessible as a galaxy. Brilliant in conception, Sealed Computers reference the underpinning of artificial intelligence [...] Generating images that would cover a surface area of approximately four square miles a month, the installation could feasibly cover every inch of the world... (Lily Faust)

Maurizio Bolognini's installation Sealed Computers [...] consists of over 200 computers producing a continuous flow of random images. These computers are sealed and left to work indefinitely, and also remain unconnected to any kind of output device. Machines don't like being listened to and to be looked at when working [...] As there is no visible result of what is generated and exchanged by these machines, we are left with a somewhat uncomfortable feeling of an invisible, self-contained performativity which cannot be controlled. [...] Bolognini's Sealed Computers embody the invisible performativity of code as a mute and autistic entity or process. [...] [They are] generative in the best sense of the word. [...] [They don't] comply with the definitions of "generative art" currently found in the area of design [which] is interested predominantly in the results created by generative processes. (Inke Arns)

I must say that my first reading of his work, decidedly atypical compared to the rich bibliography about him, continues to seem to me to be a possible reading, which in some way disregards the position of Bolognini in the constellation of Technological Artists, and brings him back into what is for me the more familiar field of conceptual research and to one of the central themes of Conceptual Art, that of reflection on the great categories of existence, the coordinates of space and time. From Manzoni’s Linea Infinita to On Kawara’s One Million Years, from Anselmo’s Infinito […], the attempts to arrest in an image or in an idea the elusive dimension of space (and thus of time) is a thread running through the artistic research of the latter half of the twentieth century which, in these and other artists, makes use of the categories of the metaphor and the symbol. Maurizio Bolognini’s out-of-control infinities located (provisionally) at the end of this path, where there is a movement […] from the virtuality of the idea to a reality where space and time are truly (although only potentially) infinite."  (Sandra Solimano)

…key to this all is Hansen's repeated insistence on the digital domain as "the radically inhuman universe of information" […] Hansen's theoretical explorations would have been more interesting from a new media point of view if he would not have shunned everything that is not a literal portrayal of the human body but would have explored Bergsonian affective bodily framing in works like, for example, Maurizio Bolognini's Sealed Computers […] None of these computers is connected to an output device and consequently, none of the images will ever be seen by human bodies. (Renè Beekman)

The "instructed" machines work in time; all Bolognini does is to start them off. Then they continue on their own, involving the temporal and spatial dimensions, tending towards a geographical vastness in which the image, the sign, become a process of measurement. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this research is the possibility of unlimitedness. The drawing designed by the artist and carried out by the machine could be infinite, covering kilometres of walls, each different from the other. [...] Again utopia: the attempt to domesticate cahos which goes far beyond the starting point; the meaning is social, political in the universal sense. (Angela Madesani)

A most radical gesture in this respect is the project by Maurizio Bolognini, Sealed Computers […] the monitor buses of all the computers are sealed with wax, and the installation offers no indication of the communication between the computers, or its results. What we can perceive are the interconnected computers, humming, maybe processing software. They are neither keeping a collective secret from us - we would need to subjectify the computers for this -, nor are they even “conceiving” of the results of their computations as visual structures. The worst is, that we fear that in their network they might be as alone as we are. The aesthetics of the machinic is an experience that hinges on machine-based processes which are beyond human control. Neither leaving nature, nor switching off the machine, is an option. (Andreas Broeckmann)

His machines generate out-of-control infinities of numbers, texts, inexhaustible sequences of words and flows of images. They have been delegated to make choices, and by limiting the subjectivity of the artist they amplify his/her gesture indefinitely and leave the public only with the role of spectator. If a computer programmed to produce random images is connected up to a cellular phone network, this gives rise to a process of communication which in the transfer to the computer of a collective intelligence allows the public to make a choice. (Roberto Daolio)

In the multiple installation CIM 3, the artist introduces another element changing the meaning of his action: the possibility given to the members of the public to interact with and modify the different flows of images using their own cell phones, and to do so from physically dinstant places. Thus a second medium (cellular network) is added to the work generative process, which enables both spatial multi-location and democracy (public action). (Marinella Paderni)

 


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