OBSCURITAS - finissage
performance and solo exhibition by Silvia Morandi
Friday, March 31, 2023
Live performance at 7 p.m.
Artist talk with Silvia Morandi and Massimiliano Cerioni at 8 p.m. Introduction by Michele Fucich.
Live performance at 9 p.m.
One day in the autumn of 2018, during a ritual, a shaman, heir to an ancient tradition, told me: imagine you are letting dark water out of your body, let dark water out of your body. The dark water brought back memories, emotions, sensations.
In the last few months, when I arrived in Berlin, the memory of this experience accompanied me almost obsessively. I kept seeing the dark water coming out of my body.
Hence Obscuritas was born.
Obscuritas is a space. At the same time, it is a performance that happens in this space.
It is a blend of physical and spatial elements, live performances, and encounters with the audience. It has no real beginning or end.
The project was created by the Italian performer Silvia Morandi between 2022 and 2023 as part of her artist-in-residence program at Scope BLN. It is a collaboration with the Polish costume designer Kristian Filip and the Italian composer and sound-art performer Massimiliano Cerioni.
The aesthetic of Obscuritas is entirely monochrome. The dress is constructed from black paper. The design is reminiscent of historical women’s attire, yet it also suggests natural elements like petrified lava, or foliage, or the features of an uncanny machine.
Obscuritas is also a sound installation. The sound does not act as a background, but as a living part of the forms and the space. Areas of hybridization between the human body and matter epitomize Obscuritas; its design is never definitively fixed. The boundaries between the elements remain uncertain, permeable.
This project is the latest phase of a research by Silvia Morandi which started in 2020 on the borderland between human and nature. The relationship between body and paper is one of its leitmotifs.
Based on the text by: Michele Fucich
English translation from original German text: Molly Haig
concept, performance, artistic direction
music, sound-art installation, technical direction, live electronics, light
photo and video documentation
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Obscuritas is a space. At the same time, it is a performance that happens in this space. It has no real beginning or end. It is a manifestation of matter that is subject to constant change. It is a place of bodies that will in turn transform. It is a place of omnipresent sound, whether audible or not.
Obscuritas was created Between 2022 and 2023 as part of a residency by Italian performer Silvia Morandi at SCOPE BLN. It developed as a collaboration with the Polish multimedia artist and dress designer Kristyan Filip, and the Italian composer and sound-art performer Massimiliano Cerioni, both of whom were previously involved in SCOPE's residency programme.
Obscuritas emerges as a blend of physical and spatial elements, live performances, and encounters with the audience. At the same time, it is a sound installation in which the sound does not act as a background, but as a living part of all the bodies present and also of the space. Their trait d'union is the colour black, a monochrome. The optical and physical presence of this colour cannot be perceived as an isolated component; it permeates both the artist's body and that of her partner: paper.
The dress, designed by Krystian Filip, is made of black paper. Its form recalls elements of historical women’s attire—corset, ruff—and at the same time it suggests a mineral, like a petrified lava, and hints at the character of an uncanny machine, or perhaps a plant.
Areas of hybridisation between the human body and matter characterise the space. Its design is never definitively fixed. The boundaries between the elements do not seem solid; they remain uncertain, permeable. The performer moves outside the dress, in contact with it, without putting it on. Nothing exists in isolation. Obscuritas goes beyond the uniqueness of its elements: it manifests in their border areas and contact surfaces.
Sound also belongs to this changing environment—this is where Massimiliano Cerioni's interactive, integrated sound system comes into play. Three black paper forms hang on the walls. They carry sensors that detect sounds from the slightest touch, amplify them, and spread them throughout the space. On her wrist, the performer wears a bracelet that records her diagonal movements and generates a corresponding sound. Every event becomes a field recording; the acoustic experience is immanent. One does not hear the elements, one hears inside the elements.
Obscuritas is an open dance of, in, and around the colour black, with its attractions, excesses, fluctuations, and space-creating effects. Whether a primal relationship between human and nature or its deviation in other directions is experienced here remains an open question. A symbiosis between the human world and a dark, (sub?)earthly matter appears to be at work, yet it simultaneously takes on an artificial, potentially threatening character, such as that which in many ways shapes our present—our artefacts and devices, living spaces and conditions. These border crossings are ultimately up to the participants and their interaction with this unstable yet energetic configuration, and not least with the performer herself—in her presence and absence. Most of this is beyond words.
Obscuritas is the latest phase of a research begun by Silvia Morandi in 2020 on the borderland between human and nature. The relationship between body and paper is one of its leitmotifs. The exhibition continues in the basement of SCOPE.