As the new year begins to unfold, I’m delighted to share the news that the private installation Nigredo (pictured above) I created with Marije Baalman at STEIM, has been recently awarded the Cynetart Prize for Computer Based Art, by Cynetart Festival in cooperation with HELLERAU (European Centre for the Arts). This is the second prize for Nigredo, following the award endowed by TransitioMX, the leading festival for New Media Art in Mexico, in 2013.
Nigredo is a 8-minutes private experience of altered self-perception and biophysical media, read more and watch a video here. Due to the nature of the work, it has always been quite difficult to document it, so I get this chance to share also some pictures of the work as installed in Dresden during the Cynetart festival. The pictures are all courtesy of David Pinzer. I want to thank the whole staff at Cynetart for the impressive support they provided in the realisation of the work.
The award jury included Deborah Hustić (media artist, blogger and curator based in Zagreb, Croatia), Neja Tomšič (artist, researcher and co-founder of MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Alain Bieber (art critic, project manager for ARTE Creative, Strasbourg, France) and Andreas Ullrich (artist, curator based in Dresden, Germany). Their statements follow below.
Marco Donnaruma’s work places human perception, body and behavioural senses in the first place making this way the intermedia arts and open source design truly a part of creative scientific exploratorium. Donnaruma’s work explores cutting edge bioacoustics and body & mind related topics in a wider scope of self-reflection with an obvious aim to put an individual in the centre of the media, in the centre of self-awareness, and in a way in the centre of technologically determined environment. But on the other hand it also shows the way open source design could be used for the above mention purposes by totally removing technological alienation in order to get us back to our bodies again by fearlessly delving into the unknown and unconscious darkness of sound and stimulation.
The installation « Nigredo » from Marco Donnarumma is a a deep travel into the dark unknowns of the subconscious mind, it offers an intimate, personal and intensive experience. The body of the visitor is wired to sensors, the own heart, muscles and vein tissues are producing a sound environment called « Bioacoustics », and the surprising installation leads to a performance where the fine lines of distinction between self and not-self are completly blurred. This artwork combines some things only the best artworks can do : It uses newest science and technology (biofeedback methods and wearable bioacoustic technology) to create this experience, it is still very emotional (and even physical), it touches and might change you, and for sure, it is a unforgettable experience.
With Nigredo’s seemingly simple and minimalistic auditive, visual and physical set-up, Donnarumma creates a self-containing performance in which all the stimuli and events derive from the performer himself. It places the performance in the event of his self-perception being experientially altered. He metaphorically touches the remains, the waste (the nigredo)- as the materialisation of that which cannot be transformed in alchemic processes. What in the human existence are the remains, which can’t be transformed? The body, the self? This experience of becoming one with the world – losing the feeling of self, is achieved on a physical level, while the performative part is marked by the visitor’s own physical body. The question of the body and its spatial expression expands to theories of consciousness. In the performance we experience the contradiction of transcending our selves, while being conscious that this experience derives from our own bodies themselves.