Song of Flesh and Blood

(Observations of Body Identity)

This exhibition represents three artists (Adamo Macri, Daphne Hill, Kat Schneck) that are examining ideas of the body identity within and outside of culture.

Three video works by Adamo Macri titled Still Life, Alba Parts and Spout.

Spout is an animated video short based on a drawing and poem written by Macri in 2001, dedicated to Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in acknowledgement and gratitude for his contribution to film. Both the original drawing and poem were created as an immediate reaction to watching Bergman's films, specifically the psychological horror The Hour of the Wolf (1968). Spout was created in 2006, one year before Bergman’s death.

The poem was originally written in English then translated into German. Macri utilizes German deliberately as an antonymic language to Italian, his mother tongue. The Italian language is generally considered fluid and melodic, akin to fluid brush strokes, whereas the German language features a more bold or harsh sound to the ear, with a more chiseled edge to its tone. Macri’s choice of German also reflects the geographic and cultural proximity to the Swedish language, as this relates to the director’s nationality and cultural roots.
For the voice in the poem, Macri chose an elderly German woman, a choice that represents a diametrical and obvious contrast to Macri’s own age and gender. Spout (2006) 02:15

Dreadful things can happen
The fence is near
Thermal springs may dry
You must understand
The culprit calls out in despair
Answer me
Question my chorus over again
How many strokes do you want?
How many do we deserve?
I declare
You've lost your way
Divert yourselves to the puppet show
The exquisite corpse
Divert yourselves to the puppet show

Alba is short for Albaformisnumeric, a concept born of Macri’s initial motivation to draw a figure that would be held accountable for transmuting vector symbols such as words or numbers into matter, similar to the power demonstrated by mythological characters. Alba was created to symbolize a character with the power to dramatically transform our state of being, similar to the function and effect of sexual hormones upon the human body.

With the intention of creating a quadruped form that symbolized a figure of fertility with raging hormones, Macri made several drawings in various sections and parts. He began with sketching the back view and several critical features that needed to be incorporated as part of her form before the front view was determined and Alba was finalized.

The intent of the work was to develop a form or model resembling a complex external bodily organ, representing both testosterone and estrogen in a mélange of mechanical and organic elements. Alba is ultimately a mythological sort of Venus with powers that relate to Macri’s ex nihilo equation that represents the manifestation of a metaphysical process. The equation sequence is as follows:

0 = nothing
1 = one cell
2 = the splitting action of one cell into two equal parts
8 = addressing chasm as an empty yet viral area for possibilities to thrive in

The equation describes an expansion similar to the stages of procreation or gestation, when a single cell or seed begins to materialize. The ex nihilo equation reflects Macri’s obsession with the genesis of an idea and the reactive process of conceptualization as it begins in the mind, then transfers roughly onto paper, and lastly becomes tangible sculpture in actual physical form. Alba Parts (2007) 03:09

The Still Life video project illustrates the conceptual process of Macri's Still Life photographic installation, showing the storyboard sketches dissolving into sculptural pieces. Designed as a multiframe photographic piece, the original installation consists of 18 images across 18 rows, totaling 324 different frames.

The idea for Still Life originates with a rusty bathroom drainpipe, which has been out of use for some time. Due to numerous past attempts at unclogging it with various chemical and commercial products, elaborate calcified formations of gunk have occurred, and organic substances have seeped through eroded oxidized areas.

The pipe represents a vectorial aspect, as in "close to nothingness," easily overlooked or insignificant. This seemingly diffident object is actually the site of a thriving microcosmic ecosystem, sowing organic breakout from a seemingly inert entity. There are numerous examples of microcosmic worlds perceived as dry or inert while in reality thriving: dust particles are generally dismissed as lifeless, but in actual fact carry a complex and organic ecosystem. Within this concept of the negligible microscopic world is the idea of alpha, the beginning of something, and the abstract of holding it accountable both for its own proper demise or cyclical end, and the end it initiates externally, such as the illness and potential for death carried by viruses and bacteria. How can something so small be so fatal? Still Life parallels this idea found in nature, employing composition and visual narrative to explore a toxic ecosystem thriving within a delicate environment. In such thought-provoking microcosmic systems that internalize the cycle of alpha and omega, the beginnings of life and what can cause it to end are both too small to be visible by the human eye.

Due to the nature of the multiframe process, the human eye is compelled to scan through the images quickly. Conversely to film, where each frame is projected singularly and the scene unfolds progressively, the Still Life photographic installation exposes all frames and scenes simultaneously. The eye can scan the rows of stills at a very fast pace. This references another element of the toxic environment, what Macri describes as its sojournal nature, a concept that ties into a contaminated area’s character, wherein the toxins quickly transgress each element, every frame being temporarily and briefly present.

An important element to understanding Still Life is Macri’s unique standpoint on sculpture, the belief that the idea alters the perception of the tangible object. There is a tension created between sculpture as a three-dimensional event and the practice of anti-sculpture, based upon perceiving sculpture as an occurrence and not static presence. The artist defines it as “an ephemeral three-dimensional occurrence, located at a specific point, which conjures up atemporal art.” Still Life (2007) 03:36

Garage 4141 Alabama Street San Diego, California 92104
Saturday September 18, 2010

Still Life, Alba Parts and Spout