NAUTILUS - PART 1
MISHKA HENNER, MALAXA ( ALICIA MERSY & TABITA REZAIRE ),
LUCA POZZI, ELENA RADICE, CLEMENT VALLA AND GUAN XIAO/
CURATED BY ZOE DE LUCA
Opening 8th FEBRUARY 2017, 7 - 9 PM
UNTIL 3RD MARCH 2017
“Captain Nemo,” I told my host, who had just stretched out on a couch, “this is a library that would do credit to more than one continental palace, and I truly marvel to think it can go with you into the deepest seas.” “Where could one find greater silence or solitude, professor?” Captain Nemo replied. “Did your study at the museum afford you such a perfect retreat?”
“No, sir, and I might add that it’s quite a humble one next to yours. You own 6,000 or 7,000 volumes here...” “12,000, Professor Aronnax. They’re my sole remaining ties with dry land. But I was done with the shore the day my Nautilus submerged for the first time under the waters. That day I purchased my last volumes, my last pamphlets, my last newspapers, and ever since I’ve chosen to believe that humanity no longer thinks or writes. In any event, professor, these books are at your disposal, and you may use them freely.”
This dialogue from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was a reference point in Georges Perec's Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One's Books, in a chapter dedicated to the challenge of keeping a limited number of volumes in one’s library. According to the author, the dilemma is about how to maintain the selection of books not to miss recent publications of interest, neither to loose essential publications from the past: clearly, the only solution is a constant update of the library, an endless struggle for a satisfying balance. Perec’s book was published in 1985, three years after his death and many years before the evolution of the web as a common research and archive tool.
Back to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo was not only a character relating with the topic of the ultimate archive, but his motivation to travel the world on board of the Nautilus - seeking revenge for oppressed and forgotten communities - leads us to globalization, another issue of culture in recent times.
Thinking of transformation not as a transition but as a stable, unavoidable condition, Nautilus - Part 1 aims to display this idea of fruition-driven necessary compromise: a - obviously limited - number of artists and artworks dealing with the contemporary notion of tradition and memory, world history record and reconstruction, fruition through linear time.