Dialogue

Citron | Lunardi: We inhabit the humusities, not the humanities

Citron | Lunardi is a collaboration born in 2014 between two different personalities: I, Selene Citron who passing from digital fabrication to performance and Luca Lunardi who works with video and writing.

Selene and Luca, please introduce your art-practices to us!

Citron | Lunardi is a collaboration born in 2014 between two different personalities: I, Selene Citron who passing from digital fabrication to performance and Luca Lunardi who works with video and writing. We immediately agreed that our works together had to be born from the desire to contaminate our previous experiences and new interests to create something hybrid and infected by the suggestions of both. Often our works arise from a very urgent suggestion of the society’s problems. This suggestion often becomes an artifact created by me, or sometimes a performance. At this point the object or the performative act becomes a subject that Luca develops in film language. So, this contamination is also reflected in our works scrutinize established terms like identity, nature, culture and technology. The artworks become a hybrid that mixes the pixel framework, the 3D print, the performance and the environment. Contamination that redraws the boundaries between the human and the post-human, the analogical and the digital, the artificial, and the natural.

Image. Citron | Lunardi. Ave Caesar, 2019, 1920×1080, 25fps, 3’49”

Ave Caesar (2019) reflects on the ghost of Fascism that cyclically returns from the past.
Italy struggles to come to terms with its past and today Fascism is hiding behind populist movements because in an era of strong social crises, the dream of sacrificing democracy to rely on a new Caesar remains. Old ideologies that belong to the past seem to return to the surface but they run the risk of making us drown because they lead only to isolation and impoverishment.
Ave Caesar speaks of all fascist regimes and attempts of dictatorial recrudescence that cyclically come to the limelight in Europe, but not only these. The fear of not understanding the age of social crises we are experiencing brings people to choose primitive leaders that have easy answers to difficult questions. Their high-sounding and threatening voice that speaks by appealing to the worst instincts of people, becomes an indistinct sound like in Ave Caesar where reasoning is lacking but the slogan prevails. Exactly as it happens in social media communication. Today just as in the past. Whether “America First” or “Italians first”, not much changes in intentions.

Describe your art in a word! Just one word.

Contamination, of course.

What is your recent body of work? What is it about?

Our last work is Compost n.1 and is an artistic project that combine science, video-art and digital sculpting and is inspired by the recent studies of Donna Haraway on the concept of compost. In this series we try to examine compost as a figuration in which humans and other critters are bundled in assemblages saturated with modern technologies as we live in an age where the boundary between nature and artifice is increasingly blurred. We started from the concept that critters – human and not – become with each other, compose and decompose each other. So we are compost, not post-human; we inhabit the humusities, not the humanities. In Compost n,1 the first of the series, there is a panorama populated by symbiotic assemblages, infected surviving and migrant collaborative beings – artificial intelligences bio-fabricated – that wallow in a liminal environment between natural and artificial, between mineral and organic in which “Living is composting”.

Citron | Lunardi. “Compost n.1”, 2020, 1920×1080, 25fps, 4’

Back up my memories is a reflection on the disquieting perspectives offered by cryopreservation. Is it possible to crystallize the brain? Can memories be frozen before death to be defrosted in the near future thanks to new scientific discoveries? Back up my memories is about the fear of losing memory and therefore of dying. Recovering memories means to long for immortality. This disquieting outlook could become reality in the coming era of Singularity, which is a future based on the complete fusion between man and machines. So, the fear of losing memories will become the fear of losing data. At the same time, the video imagines a future in which the infinite digitization and quantification of data has made information overloaded starting a process of crystallization. And certainly the more we will be connected to machines that will keep us alive, the more we will be imprisoned inside a global crystalline structure of data, information and technology from which we will no longer be able to separate ourselves as it could mean accepting death.

Image. Citron | Lunardi. Back Up My Memories, 2018, 1920×1080, 25fps, 3’

Can you share with us what tools/media you would like to experiment with?

We are always very curious to use new tools in our works precisely because they help us to contaminate ourselves more and more as we would like to collaborate more with scientists to deepen movements on the border between art and science such as biohacking. In the next episodes of the Compost series, we would like to use not only new 3D printing materials, but also to resort to tools that fascinate us a lot such as photogrammetry and virtual reality because we would like to make our project more immersive by making it a video installation.

Wow!

Can you share with us your plan for 2021?

First of all, we would like to finish the other episodes of the Compost series. This work was born during the first months of last year but the current pandemic has made it increasingly urgent in our motivations that drive us to create. We feel that also in the next works we will continue to reflect on the need for a change of perspective on human issues because in a world that is increasingly in danger, it will become essential to find new perspectives to survive in an infected world – to use Donna Haraway’s words – in an increasingly post-anthropocentric perspective and connection with other species.

Citron | Lunardi. “Terra!”, 2016, 1920×1080. 25fps, 2’54”

Terra! The video suggests the boarding to a land of dreams, unfulfilled hopes and promises. We are all migrants: our human condition is by its nature migrant. The white statue represents all of us and the gold boats are our dreams of a better life, shared by all. This sharing of horizons can lead to a real change of perspective on the concepts of diversity, immigration and human rights. Furthermore Terra! exorcises the fear that diversity can destroy. The white statue is who does not accept diversity and is influenced by the fears generated by the media. The migrants become shining golden boats and a chance of new life if immigration is approached with a serious plan of action and not extemporary. Who is in fear instead remains motionless and with the vain and hypocritical hope of ending the phenomenon sooner or later, but if this continues will be buried also under the isothermal towel – but apparently protective – of clichés.

Good luck with the Compost series, Selene and Luca! And we see you soon!

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