Laine de la Mer: Wool of the Sea

What’s Left of the Future: an interview with Luca Buvoli

Posted on: March 13, 2010

Luca Buvoli
Vector Tricolor [Entanglement of Modernist Myths] ,  2007
  Instant Before Incident at Susan Inglett

Luca Buvoli
Instant Before Incident at Susan Inglett, (?)

JP: You have called your approach to your art “meta-futuristic”. What do you mean when you use this phrase?
LB: By naming my project “Meta-Futurism”, I thought of it etymologically as “Beyond Futurism” as well as “About Futurism”, something that refers to Futurism in a ironic manner. But given my interest in what Pirandello defined “the feeling of the opposite,” I also liked that “meta-futurism” could be seen as the merging of the name of the dynamic avant-garde with the almost concurrent Metaphysical Painting by Giorgio De Chirico, that instead presented anxious and motionless landscapes, perhaps closer to my vision of that specific historical moment. As much as I would have liked to avoid any label, after the broad exposure of my work in the 2007 Venice Biennale, I realized that many visitors needed a concise term to contextualize the work. The idea for the name came soon after I read reviews of my work labeled as “para-futurist”, and “post-futurist”; in a printed interview, the writer even invented a sentence – quoted as if it were said by me – in which I defined my work as “Neo-Futurist”. I realized that if I did not try to name my post-utopian approach to Futurism myself, I had fewer chances to avoid generalization and misunderstanding.

JP: In what way has your understanding of the Futurist movement evolved as you’ve worked through certain themes in your art?
LB: My recent involvement in Futurism proceeded from the inside out, and backwards. In 1997 I had just begun Flying-Practical Training when my uncle, a decorated WWII pilot, passed away; after the event of September 2001, the Intermediate level of the Method started to reflect on recent and past fears and control in relationship to the activity of flight. In the video Adapting One’s Senses to High Altitude Flying (For Intermediates) – An Almost Silent Version (2004) I combined clips from an interview I conducted with my parents about their early memories of flight and WWII with hand-drawn and computer-generated animation. The recollections of my mother’s subjection to air raids and my father’s memory of imprisonment in camps generated a chain of freely associated words and animated sequences reflecting their inner turmoil. I imbued the dynamic style, colors, and the heroic imagery borrowed from Italian propaganda and advertising from the ‘30s and‘40s, with hesitant language, fading colors, and non-heroic content.

From the source of my immediate family, I expanded my work to the wider perspective of Italians from my parents’ generation. In addition, I was addressing parallels between demagogic strategies used by totalitarian regimes and those utilized today by media-driven societies. I went from using the language of “Secondo Futurismo” and Futurism co-opted by the National Fascist Party, to the memories of Marinetti as recalled by his eldest daughter (A Very Beautiful Day After Tomorrow, 2004-07). The interviews with both Marinetti’s daughters and Futurism scholars for the video documentary How Can This Thing Be Explained? (2004-07), gave me many additional insights on Futurism and its interpretations. As I expanded my knowledge of the period, I was trying to dismantle its rhetoric with several tactics, evoking instead a sense of instability between hope and disillusionment, patriotism and struggle, heroism and betrayal. I then completed my approach to Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurism (1909): for Velocity Zero (2004-07), I had recorded individuals who have aphasia (speech impediment often caused by brain injury) or stutter reading the Manifesto. Their slowed speech-later transformed into fragmented animated sequences – mirrored the readers’ efforts to fluently capture the text, and their interpretation deflated the Manifesto’s praise of speed and aggression. More recently, in the sculptures Instant Before Incident (2008-09), I focused on the moment preceding the car crash that apparently inspired Marinetti to write the Manifesto.

What’s Left of the Future: an interview with Luca Buvoli
By Jessica Palmieri, 2009


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  • Em: ahaha chelsea, I love this video, it's so emotional and good. I hope it's working out you silly solly.
  • Em: I have that book. Don't be fooled, its' not easy to follow! See you tomorrow fairyface
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