Start up: Four Agencies for the Production of the Possible
Focusing on the relationships between art, nature, economy, and history since the very beginning, Gianfranco Baruchello’s research continues with this experimental work, that takes its name from the economic realm. Indeed, the term start up identifies a new enterprise in the form of a temporary organization or capital company in search of business models to create and distribute value. In a historical moment characterized by flexibility and mobility, where the meaning of terms such as work, economy, production and formation are in constant crisis and transformation, art becomes the territory where new forms of imagination can challenge the limits of the possible.
The project is structured as an office for the promotion and circulation of visionary proposals that intend to trigger new economic and relational dynamics to redefine the relationship between use value and exchange value.
The exhibition space hosts four agencies, each of which will work independently on: the promotion of earth exchange at a global level, the adoption of portable sheep, the production of utopias and the realization of anomalous objects.
The agencies will work towards the promotion of these various activities, searching for investors, companies and amateurs, willing to support, accompany or co-produce the proposed projects.
The exhibition is articulated in four spaces, each presenting one of the following agencies:
1. Adoption of the sheep
The first agency focuses on the importance of rethinking the sheep today. The visitors of the exhibition have the chance to become virtual shepherds through their personal commitment to adopt a portable wooden sheep, an elemental, real-scale, flat silhouette, stamped and numbered. After registering and filling-in the relevant form, the subscriber becomes custodian of one of the hundred available sheep and thus the shepherd of a symbolic flock scattered worldwide. The sheep is equipped with a handle and can be carried easily to accompany its shepherd during all of his/her common daily activities. An eleven-point manifesto outlines the proper use and maintenance methods for the object.
The act of adoption conceptually confers on the object many attributes of a real sheep. The wooden sheep thus becomes carrier of the typical emotional and distinguishing properties associated with the care of a living animal.
Unlike a traditional flock with one shepherd, this portable flock defines a common property based on sharing. After identifying potential custodians of the sheep, the agency will follow and monitor the events and uses of the adopted object. The compiling of a map tracking the itineraries and destinations of the flock is also planned for.
2. Earth Exchange
The second room is dedicated to earth: custodian of ancient values and heritage of the living, earth is the subject of “One cubic meter of soil – Earth Exchange,” a project initiated in 2014 and consisting of an exchange of soil from the Fondazione Baruchello (from its headquarters in Via di Santa Cornelia, in the countryside north of Rome) with soil from another site in Italy or abroad.
The consignee will receive two wooden cases measuring one cubic meter, one full and one empty. The agency will follow the project through each of its stages: from the search of a partner, to the delivery of soil in wooden cases, the emptying of the cases, the mixing of the two soils, and finally the return of the case containing soil from the partner and the mixing of the latter with soil of the Fondazione Baruchello.
Thus, earth is considered as an element that can travel without boundaries and merge worldwide in a sort of geographical and cultural transfusion without end.
The project initiated in 2014 with exchanges in Martina Franca (Apulia), Hamburg and Karlsruhe.
3. Anomalous objects
To start the activity of this agency, Gianfranco Baruchello has invited the first group of artists (more will follow) to each present their proposal for an “anomalous object:” an idea or invention for a tool different from those already existing in industrial production. The agency’s job is to find a company or amateur that will financially support the realization of the object, following methods and features proposed by the artist: an experiment to better understand the possible functions of the mistaken, the useless, the variance to trigger a new relationship between creativity and production. This group of artists includes: Maria Thereza Alvez, Massimo Bartolini, Elisabetta Benassi, Jimmie Durham, Bruna Esposito, Emilio Fantin, Claire Fontaine, Felice Levini, H.H. Lim, Rogelio López-Cuenca, Antoni Muntadas, Leonardo Petrucci, Cesare Pietroiusti, Santo Tolone, Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli, Cesare Viel.
4. Production of utopias
What comes to our mind if, for a few minutes, we imagine ourselves alone, at the center of a thick dark forest?
The agency’s objective is to offer the experience of such emotions. Located underground, unlike the other three agencies, the small room of utopia implies the descent and immersion in a setting similar to that of a forest, where the feeling of fear lies in wait, as memory or fantasy: a symbolic place of repression, intimate and engrossed, a potential “activator” of thoughts and images.
Visitors are asked to leave a word that came to their mind while experiencing this space.
For the whole duration of the project, talks and workshops with artists, poets, writers and philosophers will inquire into themes such as utopia, surplus and disvalue of the economy, the role of the sheep in the history of art, pastoralism, survival and capitalism, with a transdisciplinary perspective: a methodology that has always characterized the research and activity of the Fondazione Baruchello.