CAMEC piano zero, La Spezia
Ancora ancora la nave in porto. Amoco Milford Haven files
Entitled “Ancora ancora la nave in porto. Amoco Milford Haven files (Still Still the Ship in Port. Amoco Milford Haven Files)”, it dwelt on oil and its century of reference, in relation with a contemporary art collection and its value as an accumulation of wealth. The incipit to the whole show was the video Amoco Milford Haven Files, featuring footage of dives around the famous wreck of the Amoco Milford Haven, a petrol tanker which sank twenty years ago in the Gulf of Genoa, causing the biggest ecological disaster ever to have occurred in the Mediterranean. Over ninety thousand litres of oil spilled into an ecosystem which, very shortly beforehand and not far away, had suffered an equally large spillage from the Agip Abruzzo, the ship involved in the Moby Prince disaster in April 1991. Starting with the underwater video exploration of the ship, which, metaphorically speaking, is the corpse of an entire age, the work dwelt on the ambivalent image of the wreck, which seems to recall, in its dynamic of descent, the visualization on the wall of the Hubbert Peak Theory. This was painted, black on white, on the wall, forming an infographic wall painting over which were placed the video and the work Ob-ject. (Art as Idea as Idea) by Joseph Kosuth, which is part of the Cozzani Collection. These were counterpoints of the extension-peak-decline formula linked to any economy dependent on exhaustible energy sources. Mounted on the maximum curve was 1972, an audio installation expressing the considerations of the Club of Rome, elaborated in the same year, with a voice over illustrating the dynamic described by Marion King Hubbert. The two sound tracks came together and dispersed, as happened in the year in question, when they went virtually unheard and were written off as conjectures. Kosuth’s work, a tautological apparition of the object in its etymological form, marked the physical start of the peak and the metaphorical beginning of a vicious circle of dependence on objects – in a word, consumerism.
The production-object pairing also made reference to the second room, in which it was possible to see the relationship linking an economic system in its ascent to the artistic production contemporary to it, through a picture gallery of works set out according to a classical model of a connoisseur-style museography. An expanse of artworks were hung close together to emphasize the corpus of the collection, and were chosen by the artist for their varied capacity to talk of nature and consumption at the same time. Alongside this string of celebrated names from the 1960s and 70s, a slumbering post-atomic imaginary was aroused by the insertion into the room of the film Il seme dell’uomo (The Seed of Man, 1969) by Marco Ferreri – a film about the possible survival of human beings following a nuclear fallout – from which Consani extrapolates the idea of a museum of humankind, in which every refusal becomes a rare exhibit. The museographic operation performed by the artist on the Cozzani Collection therefore dialogued with the apocalyptic vision of Ferreri, where that division of contemporary art history was mixed up with the exhibition of everyday objects; if for the director these were recollections of a lost world, in this new reading they became simulacra of a consumerist ideology, to the same extent as the works were associated with their fetishistic added value. Design objects realized in plastic materials on one hand, and art works accumulated to recount an age and the market that has sustained it, acted as witnesses to a television in the middle of the room transmitting a sequence of the last possible and feasible images of the drifting condition of humanity taken to its extreme consequences. Like in a meta-exhibition, the chosen works created a further narrative sphere, in which the common denominator was the constant undermining of the categories of modernity by means of a historiographic experiment, covering the twentieth century, in the synthesis of the artworks of a minor and peripheral protagonist of collecting.