Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities, 2019-ongoing. Installation with Amazon Alexa and various commercial products, environmental dimensions and sound.
Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities is the result of my cooperation with Alexa Voice Shopping, the artificial intelligence developed by Amazon. To produce this work I asked Alexa one question: ‘Alexa, can you suggest a product for a new artwork?’. Immediately after buying the recommended product Alexa suggested another one, and then another one, and so on, and on… I followed and acquired every product suggested in this way until my production budget was entirely spent.
In the tension between apparent unpredictability and systematic control, and by submitting my decision-making process to Alexa, Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities expands my investigation of the hidden and invisible mechanisms of technological power and of the limits of human autonomy and artistic authorship in a world saturated by autonomous nonhuman agents. From a ‘human’ perspective the products suggested by Alexa were completely unpredictable. However, from the perspective of Amazon, the outcome followed a predefined logic: obscure item-to-item matching filters linked to massive data sets and algorithms optimized for maximum commercial consumption.
Installation shots (Algorithmic Inquiry n. 1-4)
Amazon’s Stravaganza: A Personal Index of Infinite Consumption
Amazon’s Stravaganza: A Personal Index of Infinite Consumption (2020-ongoing) is a photographic project that documents in a systematic way all the products featured in Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Each framed work presents an Amazon package that I received along with a remediation of its content. The result is a photographic work in progress in which consumeristic and archival practices intersect in multiple ways.
- (Upcoming Solo Exhibition) Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori. Premio Fattori Contemporaneo, Livorno, Italy
- (Solo Exhibition) Museo Madre. Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Algorithmic Inquiry n.4, curated by Gianluca Riccio, Naples, Italy
- Damslab. Tecnocene: Arti visive, tecnologie digitali, mondi possibili, curated by Into the Black Box, Bologna, Italy
- Museum of Contemporary Art – Zagreb, Hesitant Images, curated by Klara Petrović and Luja Šimunović, Zagreb, Croatia
- Share Festival XV / Share Prize XIII, Riots Here We Are, Turin, Italy
- Art Verona 2019. Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities (Algorithmic Enquiry n.1), in collaboration with art+b=love(?), directed by Federico Bomba and Cesare Biasini Selvaggi, Verona, Italy
- “Algorithmic Inquiry n.1” was commissioned by art+b=love(?) and produced by Sineglossa with the support of Fondazione Selina Azzoaglio and Fondazione Cariverona.
- Special thanks to Federico Bomba and Cesare Biasini Selvaggi.
- The first public presentation of the project, during Art Verona 2019, included a workshop in collaboration with Alessia Tripaldi and with the following entrepreneurs: Giovanni Guerri (Guglielmo), Enrico Pandian (Supermercato24, Checkout Technologies, FrescoFrigo), Thomas Pandian (Consiglio di Bacino Verona Nord), Alberto Brazzale (Brazzale SpA), Matteo Gelmetti, Gianna Comuzzi (Lavagnoli Marmi), Chiara Carletto (Calzedonia SpA), Silvia Nicodemo (Veronesi Holding), Marta Veronesi (Aia SpA), Laura Veronesi (Veronesi Holding), Michelangelo Fasioli, Filippo Dall’Amico (LaPrisma Plastics).
- “Algorithmic Inquiry n.2” was produced by Share Festival XV, Turin, Italy.
- “Algorithmic Inquiry n.3” was produced by Damslab, Bologna, Italy.
- “Algorithmic Inquiry n.4” was produced by Museo Madre in collaboration with Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli.
- Special thanks to Gianluca Riccio (curator) and Arianna Rosica (Madre special projects).
- In collaboration with the following students of the Accademia: Sergio Busacca, Luigi Giovanni Frattini, Veronica Regano, Erika Pisano, Emanuela Iacono, Benedetta Palella, Fabiola Cecco, Carmen Battagliese, Martina Fortunato, Giorgia Laura Napolitano, Assunta La Corte.
“Non lasceremo l’intelligenza artificiale agli informatici”
Double interview by Federico Bomba to Salvatore Iaconesi and Emilio Vavarella. n.106, pp.66-67. (ita)
interview by Gianluca Gramolazzi, October 2019. (ita)
by Anna Papale, 2019. (ita)
“Amazon’s Cabinet of Curiosities: Intervista a Emilio Vavarella”
interview by Maria Chiara Wang, November 2019. (ita)
Man in Town
“Art Verona highlight: Amazon’s cabinet of curiosities di Emilio Vavarella”
by Lorenzo Sabatini. (ita)
“Nuove ipotesi di realtà. Intervista con Emilio Vavarella (New hypotheses of reality: interview with Emilio Vavarella)”
Interview by Elena Bordignon, January 2020. (ita-eng)
“Digitale Off Limits: intervista a Emilio Vavarella”
Interview by Maria Chiara Wang, July 2020. (ita)
“Arte e digitale: Alexa, facciamo un’opera”
October 2019. (ita)
Il Giornale dell’Arte
“Nasce la Fondazione Selina Azzoaglio. Arte e cultura per imprese e territori”
by Davide Brignoli, 2019. (ita)
by Federico Pazzagli, 2019. (ita)
“Thought is my Main Medium. Interview with Emilio Vavarella | Il pensiero è il mio medium principale. Intervista con Emilio Vavarella”
by Giada Totaro, July 2020. (ita-eng)
[SOURCE (ita) | SOURCE (eng) | ARCHIVED]
“Intervju: Emilio Vavarella | Interview: Emilio Vavarella | Organ Vida”
by Tena Razumović Žmara, September 2020. (hrv-eng)
[INTERVIEW / BOOK]
Metafotografia, Vol.2. Le mutazioni delle immagini
“Intervista 25: Emilio Vavarella”
Edited by Mauro Zanchi and Sara Benaglia (eds.) Skinnerbox, Jesi (Italy), 2020, pp. 112-117. (ita-eng).
Arte e tecnologia del terzo millennio. Scenari e protagonisti [Art and Technology in the Third Millennium: Landscapes and Protagonists]
Catricalà, Valentino and Cesare Biasini Selvaggi, I Quaderni della Collezione Farnesina, Vol. II, Milan: Mondadori Electa, 2020. (ita-eng)
“Sculpting Beyond Sculpture”
July 2021. (eng)
[SOURCE | ARCHIVED | PROJECT (1) | PROJECT (2) | PROJECT (3) | PROJECT (4)]
Mapping of Arts Integration within Enterprise
Report of the EU H2020 Research Project Artsformation:
Mobilising the Arts for an Inclusive Digital Transformation
by Fiona McDermott and Christian Fieseler, Artsformation, 2020, p.39. (eng)
“L’algoritmo dell’arte, al Madre l’installazione di Emilio Vavarella”
by Renata Caragliano e Stella Cervasio, in La Repubblica. 30 May 2022, pp.8-9. (ita)
“Vavarella porta al Madre i linguaggi di Amazon”
by Paula de Ciuceis, Il Mattino, 28 May 2022, p. 36 (ita)