Interview #62

Luca Pozzi

* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).

Luca Pozzi (Milan, 1983) studied at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera (Milan). His work has been exhibited at Grimmuseum, Kustraum Kreuzberg and Alexander Levy (Berlin), Enrico Astuni and MAMbo (Bologna), Museo Marino Marini (Florence), CAB (Grenoble), Fundación Pons (Madrid), Kabe (Miami), Istituto Svizzero ands Federico Luger (Milan), Dena Foundation (Paris), Mart (Rovereto), Hariviera Gallery (Tel Aviv);,MEF (Turin). He collaborated with Albert Einstein Institute (Berlin), CERN (Geneva) and Penn State University (State College). 

Your influences are divided between theoretical physics and Renaissance humanism. How do you combine these two universes?

The contemporary experience is a hyperconnected, but fragmented experience; Theoretical physics and Renaissance humanism are part of an exploded, but at the same time incredibly united and coherent network. We are used to the idea of progress as a linear development in time, but for me it proceeds by quantum leaps, status overlays, and micro loops. I believe that it is more interesting to offer to the viewer the choice to extract the present information rather than restricting the reading of a work; to superimpose different times and different grammars is a method to emphasize the ability of the support / work of increasing the content of a system.

In this sense, Instagram Time Paradox and the series Supersymmetric Partner.

These are in fact all examples of augmented art, a term I invented to describe the works that stem from existing works, enhanced by external interventions. Exactly how augmented reality adds information with the aid of intelligent technological devices, so the augmented art reveals connections through the interaction with a contemporary creative external operator. Instagram Time Paradox is my first work designed for Instagram, intended as a museum space. It documents a paradoxical time alignment between a quick calculation of the ’50s, used as if it were a Smartphone, and the works of Fontana and Klein exhibited in Milan in 2014. Instead, the series Supersymmetric Partner, which portrays me suspended in front of the works of Paolo Veronese, not only absorbs the time complexity of the paintings (Gospel + Renaissance) but it expands it, it re-actualizes and transforms it through a free association made explicit by the title of the series which refers to a contemporary scientific conjecture born within the string theory.

Another project you have gradually developed over time are the Light Drawings; what in this practice are you interested in?

The series you mention stems from relationship between ultraviolet light, phosphorous painting and time. The process takes place in the dark or during sunset. The base is a potential monochromatic painting. By turning a UV lamp on and off, I draw ephemeral luminous signs that emerge from the darkness and return to darkness. It is a visual mapping method for gravitational fields, consisting in the documentation of different light intensities. The most evolved result of this search is Oracle, a device I invented that can simultaneously transfer remote light design sessions. Made in 2013 with the support of Riot Studio, it consists of a mother platform and numerous satellite platforms with a port standard format which are connected to internet. I’m interested in the ability to document the paths of light generated by the movement of my hand in an analogue way, taking advantage of the poly-location of the network intended as a digital space-time bridge.

There are several recurring elements in your work: mirroring surfaces, tennis balls, magnets…

These are elements which structure my vocabulary: I am interested in the mirrored surfaces due to their ability to highlight a certain symmetry of the phenomena and the existence of parallel worlds hidden by invisible barriers. The intrinsic physics in such a simple phenomenon is extremely sophisticated. The Wilson tennis balls represent the connective constant, the tennis ball solves the problem when there are two non-communicating systems. I am interested in the levitating electromagnets or magnets because of their ability to add a natural force to the work and to emphasize the profound distance between experience and knowledge. The luminescent sponges, the ping-pong balls and the slip aluminium are part of the same grammar.

You are also actively involved in the scientific environment, correct?

Since 2010 I attend the scientific community of Loop Quantum Gravity, because I’m interested to understand how it is possible to make General Relativity compatible with Quantum Mechanics. Their proposals, even though still in the conjectural process, seem to me the most interesting and creative ones and so, in order to understand and to interiorize them, I need to spend time with them. For this reason I was invited as a guest artist to the Perimeter Institute of Waterloo in Ontario, to the Albert Einstein Institute in Berlin, the Penn State University of State College and the Centre de Physique Théorique of Marseille. 

What exactly did these collaborations lead to?

I exhibited at field conferences and intervened in some public talks, presenting my connections between the recent history of the twentieth century art and its contemporary scientific theories. Recently I have focused my attention on experimental physics: 2015 was a memorable year for the particle accelerator LHC in Geneva and therefore I decided to celebrate this historic event by working with the CMS Experiment team of the CERN. We made two exhibitions in collaboration, one at the Federico Luger Gallery in Milan and the other at the Ettore Fico Museum of Turin. For the future we are planning new cross-disciplinary conferences and new installations with real particle accelerator components. It will be a further abatement of the disciplinary boundaries.