Stefano Casella & Persus Nine
Tuesday September 20 2022, 19:00h - 20:00h
Centre d'Arts Santa Mònica, Sala Bar
Extended Reality is a hybrid project in progressive extension that explores the universe of masks, understood as an extension of individual reality, be it interior and profound or externally evoked: masks that evoke the "here and now", or that take us to other places, in other times.
Extended Reality talks to people who use masks for therapeutic, psychological, symbolic, artistic or rather experimental benefits in a contemporary key, where such an ancient evocative artefact is a contrary mirroring to a digital reality made in every detail with well-defined freedoms. It also has a live development, where a live A/V performance [music + visuals] alternates with filmed conversations and interviews. The live performance is an audiovisual "ceremony", which evokes the rituals often associated with the use of masks: it transports in a non-linear narration, made with sketches of visual stimuli, and whispers in the sound space, so that each viewer can re-construct his or her own personal and profound experience; the live performance uses the suggestions and themes dealt with in the conversations. Medical masks have in recent years colonized the imaginary of the contemporary world: for our society of strong ocular culture, people's covered faces have opened a bridge to fantasy and imagination: the need to complete a hidden face, our ultimate form of visual identity, has made us fantastic with bodily signs, movements, language.
The medical mask, technical and aseptic, is a point to begin a poetic reflection on how imagination and imaginary awaken, once the "vulgar" declaration of the image to which we are educated falls away. At a time when digital-manufactured-reality seems to be the ultimate expansion of our [meta]lives, creating virtual, augmented or extended realities, detailed and chiseled to simulate realistic immersions, in environments with the same axes and limits of functioning, there’s on the other hand an enormous and potent space of organic, tactile, metamorphic, spiritual extension: where and how can masks guide our imagination? What strings are they capable of resonating? Which deep identities are they able to manifest and which to hide?
1) Masks and interiority: on the stage of life, we keep exchanging our scenes and roles (and their masks) - some chosen and some imposed: on the one hand they protect us and on the other they allow us to access our interiority, they allow us to contact our inner characters; the mask exalts the dialethic between what is hidden and what is revealed, between what is taught and what remains hidden: it represents the value of interiority vs superficiality, of what we keep hidden by choice, fear, trauma, homologation, insecurities due to lack of connections with like-minded people; it is the value of introspection vs easy consumption, it is the powerful articulation of something organic instead of mental-digital shutdown.
In some practices, masks are the symbolic mediating object, whose construction with different materials, or their use and attribution of symbolic roles, allows access to inner characters and to stage, in a space of representation, experiences that have not yet been elaborated.
Conversation with Gigi Dotti, psychodramaturg.
2) Masks to overcome the limits of the human being: the search for and understanding of the unknown, the contact with undefined forces have always been at the centre of human existence and insistence. The body then becomes a tool of mediation, which can be decorated with garments, masks and signs: they are the only means available for contact with the spirits. In this process, the human face is the centre of transfiguration and the head must be reinforced, because it is the organic antenna of communication with extra-human beings.
Conversations with Peri Neri, artist and author of the project "Transumanar: human being's journey between the simulacra of fears and desires that haunt him during his earthly life".