0rhizone is a hypermedia project conceived by interdisciplinary artists and researchers Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson which takes as its starting point the 30 books selected by Michelangelo Pistoletto & Cittadellarte as seminal texts for social transformation for the Letterature di svolta/Living library exhibition initially held in 2004 and recently on show again at the Biella-based Art Foundation.
The name 0rhizone combines the conceptual/affective sprawl of Deleuzian rhizomatics with a quest for Tarkovsky’s elusive zone of memory and desire, passing on its way through Burroughs’ interzone of translation and hybridity. It implies a degree zero (0) of hypermedia writing and construction of subjectivity (alert but empty) navigating between the zeros and ones of binary digital logic, combing a deterritorialized, degraded signscape for traces of a lost or overlooked event-horizon. A “writing” through, with and against, rather than about, the effluvia of electronic media saturation.
A work in progress
The idea of 0rhizone started from the Living Library exhibition (Cittadellarte, 2004) and developed in collaboration with the “Letterature di svolta” Project (2006-2007, curated by Agenzia n-2 (n-minus-two) & Cittadellarte with Castello di Rivoli–Museo d’Arte Contemporanea). For the entire year of the “Turin World Book Capital” event, the Project had its operating centre in Turin, in the space “In primo luogo” – an installation room/artwork created by Michelangelo Pistoletto in 1989. The main aim of the project was to investigate literature and philosophy as a tool for creative and social change through the organisation of events, readings, lectures, happenings and the creation of networks.
The first stage of the 0rhizone project took the form of a photo-essay/hypertext, a he(u)retical development or dérive of the traditional philosophical essay but within a ‘smooth space’ where what is produced are sense and sensation (rather than meaning) and where critical gives way to the space of ‘not-knowing’ that lies or emerges in the interstices, silences and gaps between the planes of composition (text, music, images layered or juxtaposed). Presented by the authors as a lecture/performance and permanent installation in May 2007 at the meeting-laboratory “Writing Transformation: migration/desire?”, which brought together a number of international artists, curators, activists, writers and theorists, the “Living Library” from being an actualization was reversed into the problematic field or constellation that constituted it. What is a library and what is it for? What type of public domain does it inscribe in the social fabric (mechanisms of inclusion/exclusion, panopticon/invisibility, emancipation/oppression)
- In June 2007, London independent art-radio Resonance fm broadcast “Sounding the 0rhizone”, an attempt to translate some of the ideas behind 0rhizone into purely sonic terms and to construct a nomadic itinerary using a combination of music, sound art, field recordings, film soundtracks, text fragments and personal narrative to explore some of the issues key to our project (libraries, walls, rhizomes, utopia and community, the society of control, ruins, the open, struggle, resistance, the spectacle…)
- In September 2007, Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson presented the second phase of the project, “0rhizone #1”, to the artists attending UNIDEE International Residence (Cittadellarte) during an open seminar/workshop they were invited to give on hypermedia theory and practice(s). 0rhizone #1 errs around Mike Davis’s City of Quartz, bringing into play the authors’ own experiences “of ignoring, forgetting, pretending to have read and then finally reading the book, somewhat distractedly, intermittently, thinking about other things, other places along the way, frustrated and inspired in turn by a fundamental inability to think Los Angeles beyond the cliché of the Hollywood ‘sign’, and so resigning themselves to a movie version of speculative reflection on some of Mike Davis’s themes: lost utopias, film noir as a critique of corporate boosterism, the militarization of urban space, the city as war-zone, the politics of fear.” Here the hypertext form serves more than anything else as a way to map a certain mood of reading and inhabiting Davis’s text and the city it attempts to anatomize.
- The 0rhizone project will continue as an open work but one already ‘written’ in the futur-antérior…
The 30 books of the Living Library
“Letterature di svolta” was launched by Michelangelo Pistoletto & cittadellarte in 2004. The initial 30 books were selected from a core of 200 publications suggested by artists, researchers, students and writers connected to the Cittadellarte network and were exhibited at the Foundation (in a special library structure designed by British artist Charlie Jeffery). To narrow the field, the books had to be published after 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall being a problematic, epochal moment of profound and wide-ranging political and social consequences. Since then the list of suggested titles has been constantly growing.
1. Mike Davis, City of Quartz
2. Slavoj Zizek, In Praise of Intolerance
3. Paul Virilio, City of Panic
4. Pierre Lévy, The Technologies of Intelligence
5. Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent
6. Toni Negri & Michael Hardt, Empire
7. Serge Latouche, La Sfida di Minerva
8. Saskia Sassen, Cities in a World Economy
9. Zygmunt Bauman, Community
10. Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern
11. Marc Augé, Pourquoi vivons-nous?
12. Bruce Sterling, The Hacker Crackdown
13. Michel Maffesoli, Le part du diable
14. Wole Soynka, The Burden of Memory
15. Vandana Shiva, Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit
16. Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
17. Ilan Pappe & Jamil Hilal, Talking with the Enemy
18. Wolfgang Sachs, Dictionary of Development
19. Giacomo Becattini, Dal distretto industriale allo sviluppo locale
20. Michael Albert, The Political Economy of Participatory Economics
21. Ulrich Beck, Cosmopolitical Manifesto
22. Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society and the Rising Culture
23. Abdou Filali-Ansary, Islam and Liberal Democracy: The Challenge Of Secularization
24. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations
25. Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom
26. Nico Roozen & Max Haavelar, The Fair Trade Adventure: An Alternative to Globalization
27. Majid Rahnema, Quand la misère chasse la poverté
28. Immanuel Wallerstein, Utopistic
29. Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
30. Amnesty International, Annual Report 2004
conception and realisation: Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson
web programming: Daniele Pagliero
homepage graphics and icons: Maite Vitoria Daneris
web master: Piero Bellomo
(with the support of Letterature di svolta and Pistoletto Art Foundation – Cittadellarte)