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Fabrizio Manco / stalks
I am an Italian artist (from Salento, Apulia) based in London.
Most of my work is situated in the field of performance/live art, which
also informs my video and video installations. My exploration started in
that province, linked to the specific phenomena of my cultural
origin, in particular with the element of theatricality. I have been pursuing
research, both theoretical and practical, on situatedness, embodiment and
context in relation to movement. Dance, in the strict sense, is not my background;
yet Butohs poetics and its recent involvement with new
technology and hybrid art forms, have certainly been a creative stimulation
to my work. My performances and improvisations vary with each different
site and I use my body taking into account its history, and its movements
and, especially, its obstacles and limitations, through, perhaps, a tragicomical
investigation, in the relation to the space.
|| The idea
Stalks is a word/image that I have chosen because for me, it implies nature,
the stalks in plants, as with tobacco, trees, stalks as columns/pilasters,
architectural structures, as well as the spine of the human and struggling
upright body. Here is a growing vegetative, architectural and vegetable
hybrid, of a body toiling in the tobacco fields, with lumbar-lower back
pain, as well as a reverential bowing.
The sympathy for the rural, versus the modern, is not untypical in western
culture, but to tread that difficult line between the faintly nostalgic
and the romantic attitude towards folk or popular forms of culture is still
a challenging enterprise. I hope, however, to avoid the parochial and simplistic
dichotomy of the rural and urban, and seek to apply the inner connection
with the archaic and in relation to the contemporary urban environment and
architecture. As Peter Eckersall says, here is where the body discovers
itself as an exo-body that transforms in relation to its environment.(Performance
Therefore, working specifically with an architectonic site and landscape(s)
which I have chosen for this project, is for me a challenging prospect in
terms of focus and interrogation. I will concentrate on a human ecology
as well as one of art, by exploring relations, processes, exchanges (eg.
trade and transportation).
Stalks is a developing work-in-progress project that originally started
as a possible way of finding links between cultures of the body as a reference
to the pre-modern and a consideration of the industrial and
its survival within it.
One of the main focuses of this project is on bodies in reference to a landscape,
in this case that of Salento and that of the urban spaces of what used to
be the old trading wharf area of London, the Docklands. Landscape is also
intended here as archeological and historical in its transverse reference
to the documents, images, memory of what remains in younger and older generations.
Therefore, Tarantism will be a very loose reference, in considering certain
aspects of it as, for example, the relationship of body and horizontality,
adherence to the architecture and soil and, indeed, to alluring surfaces
in general. Here, the marginalization and exploitation was not only that
of power, but also that of the effects of weather, nature and labour, that
of bodies deformed and sometimes debilitated.
The image of suffering that we are realizing is therefore that of a living
one, organically linked with history and the everyday. It is of a body trans-formed
by its use in life.
stalks, is a video/sound installation and performance that would consist
of two looped DVD video projections. One would be of various landscapes
(eg. that of tobacco plantations at the beginning of their spring growth),
situations, people and performances, that I shall film in Salento (southern
Italy) and one of performances taking place in the urban site of Londons
Docklands, as mentioned earlier. This would be projected onto a chosen architectonic
site of relevant history (eg. a tobacco packing factory) in the area of
The actual live performance will be an extension, in terms of concept, of
the video projections and will be performed simultaneously with one projection
only, and one sound track. For the performance only, in the space, a few
green brooms will be placed, as I will be interacting with these objects,
representing green tobacco stalks after the harvesting, as well as being
tools of work. The image of the green broom will be also the synthesizing
image of the work.