Winner of the 6th edition of Italian Council (2019), program to promote Italian contemporary art in the world by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me) is a new project launched by artist Emilio Vavarella. The work focuses on the translation of the genetic code of the artist into a textile, using one of the first computing machines of modernity. By July 2020, this project will lead to the creation of a monumental work of art that will become part of the permanent collection of MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art in Bologna. The work will be the result of a performative and research process that sees the artist and his mother, tailor and embroiderer, working in a textile laboratory. The title, rs548049170_1_69869_TT, refers to the first line of text resulting from the genotyping of the artist’s DNA. The genotyping was carried out in a laboratory in Mountain View, California, but the final work will be made entirely in Italy at a historic weaving mill in Southern Italy. The project also includes an interdisciplinary round-table at Harvard University (USA) and a residence in New Delhi (India).
The work consists of three elements: a large fabric, a Jacquard loom and a video of the production process of the fabric. The fabric, which represents the artist’s genetic code point by point, is made with a 19th century Jacquard loom (the first industrial binary technology) that will be operated by the mother of the artist. The final tapestry translates visually the genetic code that “gives shape” to the artist. The Jacquard loom will be modified to accommodate a video documentation of the entire production process, portraying the mother of the artist at work.
In addition to the production of the fabric, which will take place entirely at Tessitura Giaquinto in Gagliano del Capo (LE) in Southern Italy, the project also includes workshops, exhibitions, presentations and screenings on the local and national territory. The work will be presented for the first time in its entirety at MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art in Bologna.
The Film Study Center will host a roundtable with international professionals (philosophers, curators, theorists, researchers). The result of this discussion, together with the research that underlies the production of the work, will culminate in the final catalogue.
Arthub Asia will host the artist and the curators during a period of residence in New Delhi where they will study alternative possibilities of rendering the artist’s genetic code, as they relate to alternative techniques of weaving and data visualization. In addition, an exhibition will be held at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, focusing on this work’s technical processes.