The Soft Machine

Hard/soft, human/mechanical, rational/instinctive, conscious/unconscious, scientific/religious are only some of the countless conflicts into which it is probable to bump when trying to outline the character of what defines our human nature. 

Through time the points of view did change and grow until they disappeared in a background noise composed by infinite representations of what we are and what we perceive as outside ourselves. It is no chance that The Soft Machine has also been the first novel written by William Burroughs with the technique of cut-up: mixed fragments of other texts represent the contradictory complexity of the body and the ambiguity which is inherent to the gaze pointed to ourselves. 

This exhibition is actually built as an accumulation of antinomies, and with it also the works composing the show. 

In this carousel of fleeing certainties three artworks coexist: the bashful ShyBot (2017), a small autonomous robot realized on the occasion of the Palm Springs Desert X Biennial, which, thanks to different sets of sensors, wandered through Sonora desert fleeing from everyone who tried to draw near it, until it vanished; the blanket-shaped orgone accumulators (Black Sheep Orgone Blankets, 2017), realized following the prescriptions of Wilhelm Reich, which can harmonize the vital energy of the body, directing the orgone energy (which is typically arising through orgasm) present in the environment on who is wearing it; and the small black sheep clamping a knife among its teeth (Untitled, 2017). 

The last works have been realized in collaboration with Aldo Lanzini De Agostini Aviance, in a very long path which started from the research of black sheep in Barbagia (Sardinia), their shearing, the carding and spinning of wool in Biella, the weaving in Prato and the tailoring in Milan. 

Shybot was developed and realized among San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland in collaboration with the technologists group CODAME, and then became a short film thanks to Andrea Giannone. 

These objects, very different from one another, do have in common a narrative nature, evoking stories, fears, tenderness and uncertainty; the works build their identity in the relationship with people with which they come into contact. 

Quantum physics, superstition, literature, Kurt Cobain, artificial intelligence, pop culture, metaphysics, medical science, Uber, fashion design, Silicon Valley, anthropology, Maccartism, Freud, rain in the desert, Lupin III, kitties of the internet, posthumanism, Nietzsche (he is always present), US Food and Drug Administration, Cahuilla tribe, Burning Man, Sant’Antonio abate, cryptocoins, marijuana, Vogue, Richard Prince, breast milk cheese, Takeshi Kitano, face recognition, Eleanor Coppola, wild turkeys and tai chi chuan. Here are some of the things, among many others, without which the exhibition would not exist. 

And you… What brought you here today?

SHYBOT (2017) 

is a short film realized by Norma Jeane and Andrea Giannone

duration: 13’28”

camera: Jordan Gray, Don Hanson, Norma Jeane

drone operator: Jordan Gray

editing: Andrea Giannone

original music: Gaetano Trovato

voices (in order of appearance): Dena Beard (curator – The Lab), Eric Hanson (interaction designer – Caterpillar), Norma Jeane, Federico Faggin (physicist, creator of microprocessor – Synaptic Inc.), Tobias Rees (anthropologist – McGill University)

Shybot was produced with the support of Marsèlleria 

Thanks to: Desert X Biennial (Palm Springs), Neville Wakefield, Elizabeta Betinski, Ben Lerchin, Bruno Fonzi, CODAME (San Francisco), The Lab (San Francisco), Instituto Italiano di Cultura di San Francisco, Marina Pugliese, David Moretti, Giulio di Gropello, Lyn Winter, Livia Mandoul

Black Sheep Orgone Blanket (2017)

a work by Norma Jeane and Aldo Lanzini De Agostini Aviance

The work was realized with the collaboration of Francesco Gungui and Susanna Scarpa and with the support of Marsèlleria and Francesco Forcolini