59° Premio Internazionale Bugatti Segantini, Villa Vertua Masolo, from 6th to 14th October 2018, Nova Milanese, Italy.
Comrade Animal is a project curated by Parasite 2.0 for the 59th edition of the International Art Award Bugatti-Segantini with the support of Bice Bugatti Foundation. During the customary preliminary research phase of this project, we came across a meme which very soon became the starting point of the project itself. It immediately dawned on us that this meme was a condensation of the different themes we wanted to develop with the ‘Comrade Animal’ exhibition and its collection of contents. The diptych accompanied by its caption seemed to contain all of the different aspects we have taken into consideration for this project.
The trolling meme, with a clearly xenophobic and racist intention, compares a photo of a wooden hut with the caption “Africans today” to the design of an architecture built by beavers with “beavers millions of years ago.” At the bottom: “who’s the better architect?”. The elements that we can extract are several. The racism of the western man towards the African continent is certainly the underlying goal; and in order to denigrate the African continent, man is compared to an animal. The second element: the animal is inferior to man, it is a being that occupies a lower level in the pyramidal structure in which mankind occupies the vertex, obviously in service to a vision of the world generated by us. Since the beginning, we have asked ourselves whether looking at the relationship between man and animal through their architectures could help us to reevaluate the extremely anthropocentric matrix with which we have shaped the global habitat. At the base, we found a necessity: rethinking human creation, and in our specific case that would mean giving shape to artifacts, architectures and objects. It is from this point that the project for the 59th edition of the International Bugatti Segantini Award is born, the main objective of which is a critical re-reading of the events of May 1968 and its consequences, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Several reflections concentrated in the Primitive Future Office publication (plug_in, 2014) acted as the foundations of this proposal. Specifically, reflections on possible processes of emancipation when dealing with how we shape the habitat, and the traditional hierarchical structures that guide it.
In the publication, our research retraced a series of experiences, starting from the American counterculture movements with manuals such as the Whole Earth Catalog, and how their cross-contamination with movements such as that of May ’68, have brought us to the present day, developing the debate on open design and the open-source movements applied to the human habitat with makers and fab labs. Taking this line of investigation further, we wanted to go discover non-anthropocentric ways of shaping the habitat, which take into consideration all living organisms and that can perhaps place man back amongst the animals. Would it be possible nowadays to examine the spirit that guided the great changes of ’68, and imagine a future in which we can oppose a certain form of culture which, through social, economic and colonial policies, by now hegemonic, appears as dominant? It was through design that ’68 observed a society in which the maker was transformed into a supplier of instruments and not of finished projects, and thus fighting the usual structures of power. Would it be possible in the same way today, to oppose self-proclaimed supremacy of the human species over other species considered less important? In an era in which ancient conflicts between humans have returned, it could be that a vision of our habitat no longer based solely on the human being, might represent a real turning point.
The exhibit mixes three artists/designers with three professionals from the world of social sciences, pushing for an interdisciplinary reflection on the implications of anthropocentrism and our relationship with other living beings in the way we shape the space we inhabit.
Web design by Gluqbar Studio.
Limited edition catalog by Gluqbar Editions automatically printed from HTML script
Animation design by Palazzi club.
Parasite 2.0 is a design and research agency based in Milan and London. Founded in 2010 by Stefano Colombo, Eugenio Cosentino and Luca Marullo, they investigate the status of human habitats, acting within a hybrid of architecture, design, and scenography.
Parasite 2.0 has worked and collaborated with Triennale Milano, Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, Pantone, Ikea, Terraforma Festival, Missoni, Nero Editions, Venice Architecture Biennale, and the Shenzhen Architecture Biennale, among others.
They have led didactic activity at Faculté d’architecture de l’université libre de Bruxelles, Design Academy Eindhoven, Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and Politecnico di Milano. They taught at The Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, NABA Nuova Accademia Belle Arti Milano, and since 2016 they have been regularly teaching at MADE Program-Accademia di Belle Arti R. Gagliardi in Syracuse, Italy.
Parasite 2.0 were awarded the Young Architects Program MAXXI in 2016. They are represented by Operativa Arte Contemporanea Gallery and Galleria Corraini Arte Contemporanea.
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