Fabio Weik introduces Assembla, a work inspired by the moment, which aims to represent the newborn psycho-social discomfort: the phobia of contact. How did he do it? By means of bodies in flesh and blood, and more… Le trasmissioni riprenderanno il prima possibile is open to the public (until 30/06/2021) and brings together various works of the artist under the sign of the media and their impact on society. We met him to ask him more about the installation.
How was the project born?
Fabio Weik: «The project was conceived in the middle of the pandemic, during the lockdown, with the intention of presenting it when things would have stabilized, hence the title The broadcasts will resume as soon as possible. The exhibition includes old and new projects that have the media system as their basic theme, these works are inspired by bombshell news and the concept of sensationalism. Our society overexposes us to a constant stream of news. I make the viewer reflect on those news that the media “bombard” us with in the short term and whose outcome is ignored by people because it is soon replaced by new news. The theme of refugees’ sea voyage, the fulcrum of Balla and Ermeneutica, is part of the kind of news that has been obscured by information on Covid-19.
Balla and Ermeneutica in general focus on the theme of the refugee’s journey. Balla was interrupted by the second wave of the virus shortly after its opening. An interruption in broadcasting that reflects the media flow which has abandoned the narrative of migrants in favor of the pandemic. Each new piece of information overshadows the previous one».
How did you choose the location?
Fabio Weik: «I found out this place thanks to Studio 40 (lab), with which I collaborate for the locations of the exhibitions. Nicola Falappi always finds non-places far from the canons of traditional exhibition locations, moreover he is very active in the city of Brescia. The city is going to become one of the art capitals in the near future, so we seized the opportunity. We found the Ferro Bulloni Company by chance; we fell in love with it almost immediately. This factory represents the post-war industrial Brescia and has remained untouched since the 1950s.
The structure is designed to support heavy loads, it was built to store tons of bolts. What convinced me to choose this place, in addition to its architecture, is the fact that this building had been closed for a long time until my exhibition. The activity of the place was interrupted for a long time, as for my broadcasts and therefore, with my work, the factory was reopened in a new guise.
The owners of the place, the Borghi family, are people who have always worked and given work to many people. At the time the engagement was more real, made up of people and materials, it wasn’t stored in digital files. The interior of the factory is truly amazing, all the people experienced in the sector appreciated the structure. The freight elevator is huge, its engine is that of a ship, to support the weight of the iron and all the furniture is made of steel. I like organizing exhibitions in these spaces, an emotional bond is created with the location. Museums and places hosting contemporary art show and enhance the content but do not communicate with it».
Tell us about the protagonists of your new work
Fabio Weik: «I said to myself: “I want to start talking about the issue of the pandemic”. And what is the thing that best represents the pandemic? Death and dissociation, social and physical distancing that involved daily activities, especially for young people, such as attending concerts, discos. I was inspired by the Brescia underground context, more specifically by the most famous Italian sub-cultural movement in the world: the Warriors. The incredible thing is that even some Miami producers are familiar with this Italian phenomenon that only survives here. Gabbers, on the other hand, are another type of hardcore music fans, they saw light in the Netherlands. The warriors are all Italian and, whenever a hardcore festival is held, the attendees can’t wait to do the pyramids.
So I decided to get in touch with Italian warriors and gabbers to recreate a sort of controlled gathering. I was lucky enough to find both old school and new school young people to whom I proposed to relive the pyramid experience. I wanted to do it here because the Assembla project describes the distancing, obviously I took care to make them the tampons and to sanitize the place».
What is the point of the pyramid?
Fabio Weik: «The last person on top of the pyramid had to touch the ceiling, the event wouldn’t have ended until someone touched it. The most famous Italian place in this sense was NUMBER 1, a place where hardcore evenings were held and which still lives in the nostalgic memory of gabbers and warriors. In the case of my pyramid, the purpose was not to touch the ceiling, I just wanted to put people back in contact with each other. This project represents an aspect of the pandemic and pays homage to an all-Italian sub-cultural and musical environment. Unfortunately the media have connoted this group of people negatively, it is a movement driven by a passion for hardcore music, not by violence.
One of the people who helped me the most to recreate the setting and the pyramid was DJ Corona. Pyramids are extremely dangerous, in fact some warriors lack fingers, it’s a very hardcore thing. Australian, gabber and warriors’ favorite brand was helpful too. I contacted them because I also wanted to recreate the original outfits. I went to their studio to see archival fabrics, we practically remade some old out of production suits with the help of photographs from the 90s. This work resulted in a project consisting of photographs, a 40-minute slow motion video showing the protagonists making the pyramid and other minor collateral projects. Finally, all this brings the issue of social distancing to people’s eyes.
I think it will be really difficult to relive an experience of this type in a club, I am talking about piles, moshes and so on. Our concept of sociality and its perception has changed completely».
It was not possible to repeat the performance during the inauguration event
Fabio Weik: «It would not have been safe, each person would have had to swab and be sure not to put anyone at risk. We’ll do it as soon as possible. For now we have decided to represent it by means of mannequins that recall the real poses of those who performed. The choice of the mannequins was conscious, he wanted to convey the idea of fiction, recalling reality with the clothes used for the performance».
How do your works interact with each other? The underground part was full of collections of documents and objects, are they original or are they part of the work?
Fabio Weik: «The underground part of the exhibition communicates with the place. The monoscope, made of paper, deliberately detaches with the passage of time… Probably by the end of the exhibition it will have detached completely. There are many conceptual links between the works, but the common thread is certainly the impact of the media on people.
The documents are original of the place, but this does not mean that they are not part of the work. The place has remained almost untouched; I left the shelving and the nail boxes, which have been there since 1945. I liked the idea of enhancing the place also in terms of time. I didn’t want to touch the environment.
The factory represents another aspect linked to this historical period, the desperation of closing a business. This is a closed place due to the progress that time inevitably brings with it. Once this warehouse was located in the heart of the industrial area of Brescia, then with gentrification, there was an urban redevelopment with a consequent increase in housing and living prices; the center expanded and the trucks could no longer enter it. The owners are fond of another era and do not have the courage to abandon this place untouched by the passage of time».
Fabio Weik: «I’ll move Assembla to the Ride Milano at the end of July. The exhibition will be wider and will investigate the world of warriors even more, from tattoos to the stories of how they lived».