The Performance Art of Francesca Fini
About This Exhibition:
The VASA Project is presenting the video performance work of Francesca Fini, an Italian based artist. The exhibition is accompanied with what VASA has termed a “Digital Catalog”. The catalog contains references to publish material on Fini's art work, a video conversation, biographic information, an artist statement, and selected works. After a period of time the complete exhibition will be moved to the VASA Exhibition Archive for future reference and viewing. VASA thanks Francesca for her assistance in creating this exhibition.
To understand the video performance work of Francesca Fini it must be contextualized within an historical framework of performance, art, technological development (devices and systems), and shifting paradigms emerging from modernism and postmodernism.
In Steve Dixon's comprehensive book entitled: “Digital Performance: A history of new media in theater, dance, performance art, and installation” (MIT Press, 2007) the author sets the stage when he says “During the last decade of the twentieth century, computer technologies played a dynamic and increasingly important role in live theater, dance, and performance; and new dramatic forms of performance genres emerged in interactive installations and on the internet.” (p.1) The development and incorporation of various digital systems and conceptual frameworks have provided a playing field for contemporary artist. (I refer to digital systems over devices because technology is a system of relationships between hardware, software, concepts, and historical contexts.) Reaching back in to the late 1960s with the development of personal portable video technologies (SONY video PortaPak) to today's global interactive digital networks, linking people, institutions, and traditions together, artist and their audience have the platforms for developing new (built upon the old) forms of expression and experiences.
Virtuality, person-processor interface, webcams, virtual meetings, social networks, open-source applications, virtual worlds, and artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and the body, (see Biological Canvas and Clinic, both VASA exhibitions curated by Patrick Millard) have been drawn upon by artist to inquire into issues of identity, time and space, movement, conflict and resolution, and the human/machine interface. These are not new ideas emerging out of the mid-twentieth century, they are themes and inquires that rooted in the time of story tellers and acoustic cultures. The Internet, smart phones and most recently the emergence of tablets, as the beneficiaries of this history, have created stages for everyday communications and social performances. Artist have engaged and challenged this context in the development of expression: aesthetic, social, and political.
Again, referring to Steven Dixon in his reference to Stephen Wilson suggestion that “artist are forced to choose between three theoretical stances … (1) continue a modernist practice of art linked with adjustments for the contemporary era; (2) develop a unique postmodernist art built around deconstruction at its core; (3) develop a practice focused on elaborating the possibilities of new technologies.” (p 7)
It is within this context that we place Francesca Fini's work. Fini as a performance artist knows her history, has developed not only digital production skills but frameworks for conceptualization that becomes possible as a result (a moving of her horizon line), and her own pushing of the limits of aesthetic expression.
Through the use of sound and light sensors, video projections, dancers/props, and sound modulators Fini creates her performance for a live audience. In its post-performance mode Fini combines the framing of multiple video cameras creating a new experience, a new reading, that lives beyond the on-site performances. In doing so she challenges the video viewer to construct and later deconstruct the layered meaning of her performance. The emblematic construction of Fini's work extends beyond the frame to engage the non-passive and committed viewer in her visual, auditory, and conceptual constructions. The performance, a linear construct, builds and reinforces in paradigmatic ways the aesthetic and conceptual realizations presented to us by Fini's work. The viewer, as participant in this process builds their own constructs within their own frame of reference.
Dixon, Steve (2007) Digital performance: A history of new media in theater, dance, performance art, and installation. Mit Press.
Copyright Roberto Muffoletto 2011