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Emilio Vavarella “rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me): Sourcecode” at GALLLERIAPIÙ, Bologna

[Archival copy. Originally published in Mousse.]


Emilio Vavarella “rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me): Sourcecode” at GALLLERIAPIÙ, Bologna

“rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me): Sourcecode” marks the conclusive act in a trilogy of exhibitions based on the project rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me). Conceived by artist Emilio Vavarella, winner of the 6th edition of the Italian Council grant (2019), this project is the result of an interdisciplinary research into the origin and current applications of binary technology: from weaving to programming, algorithms, software, and automation processes, up to the complete computerization of the human being.

The exhibition “Sourcecode” will open in Bologna at GALLLERIAPIÙ, following the previous exhibitions “Ideas, Hypotheses, Assumptions and Objects” (July-September 2020, Gagliano del Capo), and “Errors, Limits and Malfunctions” (January-February 2021, Shanghai). A source code is simultaneously an origin and an elaboration, a source of life and the effect of life’s digital processing. The idea of a source code permeates the body of works exhibited in the gallery, and forms the basis of the conceptual and technical infrastructure of the exhibition.

Whereas the previous two exhibitions in this series were focused respectively on Vavarella’s research process and on his work methodology, the current show will unveil Vavarella’s new project in its entirety. The fulcrum of the show is the installation rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me). The title refers to the first line of text resulting from the genotyping of Vavarella’s DNA. This piece is based on the translation of his genetic code into a large fabric, through the labour of his mother, using one of the first modern computational machines from the late nineteenth century: the Jacquard loom. The result is a monumental work composed of a grayscale fabric, a loom, and a video. The use of the nineteenth-century loom led to the production of a grayscale textile sixty centimeters wide and eighty-two meters long, thus pushing the technical possibilities of this early computational machine to their furthest limits. This work, currently on loan, has become part of the permanent collection of MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna.

The show also includes a new series of works entitled Sections (The Other Shapes of Me): medium- and large-scale tapestries, eight of which are on view, that explore the weaving possibilities of contemporary digital looms. Every single piece corresponds to a section of Vavarella’s DNA.  Pushing the technical possibilities of these more modern machines, Vavarella has produced polychrome tapestries whose vertical dimension corresponds to his own height.

The exhibition is closed by the series Samples (The Other Shapes of Me): nine small- and medium-sized tapestries, never exhibited in Italy. Each tapestry corresponds to a DNA sample of the artist, woven through heterogeneous digital processes.

The show is accompanied by the artist book rs548049170_1_69869_TT published by MOUSSE and edited by Emilio Vavarella, Claudio Zecchi, and Paolo Mele. This publication highlights and extends the aim of Vavarella’s project through the contributions of fifteen thinkers and practitioners from the fields of art, philosophy, bioengineering, media theory, and the history of science and technology.


until August 31, 2021