Luca Farulli - Paradigma’s changes of mimesis. About the works of Bianco-Valente, 2008
The blue eye in “Rem” (1995) looks out astounded, as if exonerated from its own ancient organic body: a blackbox flung away from a falling vehicle. This is the beginning of the sub specie imaginis exploration developed by Bianco-Valente. Even before the cold investigation of the dualism between body and mind, the beginning of their work comes from a ‘tenderness’ towards what is happening, towards time, to the shape taken by the body over a long time: towards its modern cultural re-writing.
Echoing Walter Ong, we may correctly speak of a precise phase of “organization of the sensorial”1, which is being reconfigured through new- electronic- “cultural interfaces” (Lev Manovic). The astonishment is tied to a body in transition and is symbolised by the organ which represents thought: the eye.
On the one hand this shows the question-sensation: which body am I in? What is happening to me? On the other hand the eye plays out images-memories, images-sensations, crystals of time. Sides of a glacier, which separate from the original body and take, imbedded in them, past geological periods, stratifications of time, where fossils are conserved, souvenirs of preceding life.
Rast machen: time to rest. Over a decade, from “Rem” to “Relational Domain” (2005), Bianco-Valente have chosen to address the subject of “remains”, that which is left, continuing to resist, even if merely residual, as an element of disturbance. It almost seems as if they choose a material dimension of the mind which makes it a fjord of the body. Like an unusual “exploration of a myth”, the brain is investigated for its temporal stratification, its being the body of thoughts with all the mysteries which a storeroom such as the body knows how to keep. Exempt from a particular historical phase of corporeal configuration, this body-mind is subject to re-adaptations, to ages which are perceptive and sensitive, but, as Goethe famously said, it conserves it’s own memory as an organ.
A geological specimen, a shard of nature, it is the counterpoint to the present, to the future: ultimately, with time in its progressive meaning. In this sense Bianco-Valente’s choice to use video loops as a narrative device is a perfect strategy, in terms of protecting the “remains”. Indeed the loop corresponds to the bobbin which the child described by Freud in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, uses to make mother reappear. The bobbin thrown under the bed symbolises the leaving of the mother; the bobbin pulled back to him symbolises the reappearance of the mother.
The loop repeats ad libitum the process of emergence of a mnestic remnant, of an experiential nature that doesn’t want to be set aside. Rather, as a narrative device it works as a recovering of lived time which has taken on the degraded nature of a memory which no longer has a pedestal, as a quotation which has lost its phrase of origin. For a magical and mysterious effect the loop-bobbin goes back and forth between now and then, retrieving the ancient song again and again, the old tune which returns. This is what happens when one moves from one’s body.
The attention which Bianco-valente pay to the brain as the body for thoughts, to the material nature of mental processes, has a further important implication for the overall aspect of the image. The image is the re-emergence, or rather the obstinate “remains” which are maintaining resistance, an image-emotion, image-passion. What the image puts at stake is not simply the recording of mere perceptive information or the fictive re-elaboration of processes.
Rather it is a strategy for reclaiming the live sensation, that nervous contact before there has been any intellectual mediation. It remains captured in an image which is always internal and external - as a splash of colour, as a chromatic effect in the various mind landscapes where the video and the strobe light bring out all the possible colours of the living world. It is precisely here that we can understand the appeal of the only painter mentioned by Bianco-Valente: Francis Bacon, about whom Gilles Deleuze said: “every sensation, every figure, is by its nature an ‘accumulated’, ‘coagulated’ sensation, like a lime scale formation: the firmly synthetic nature of sensation(2).
Here we come to the work which moves from “Relational Domain” to “Over the Noise Floor” (2007), where we find ourselves in a strange kind of journey: a network of axes on a map of flight-paths3, a net-like structure, made by an electronic spider, blown by a whispered dialogue. This new area of research only makes sense if we consider the work “Self Organizing Structures ” (2004)(4).
Without disregarding the “remains” which underlie this argument, that is, the body of thought in which the smallest elements of sensations and passions are inscribed, here we see a significant epistemological paradigm shift or rather its re-orientation to its different progression. The attention of Bianco-Valente’s research is no longer simply the mental environment or else the problems of the relationship between mind and body in a period of transition towards a new bodily configuration. Instead it is the living being whilst it is still living. Bianco-Valente have committed themselves to crossing this threshold, the new season of the confrontation between art and science.
The chosen paradigm qualifies this dialogue: that of Bίου, of the living. Indeed, endoscopic vision leads to an access without distance to the living in its very field of emergence (Entstehungherd), as if one were to choose to go down into the volcano to see the process of the fusion of lava, instead of standing on the slopes to observe the lava flow. It is no longer the confrontation of man and machine, no longer just mental images. Instead it is the elaboration of a different order of images: the choice of a different epistemological paradigm.
The synapses, the neural cells which wage war against each other in the field of the “will of power”, without teleological remains. Nietzsche states in a posthumous fragment of 1888: “things behave with regularity, not according to a rule [...].
There is no obedience here since that something is as it is, so strong, so weak, is not a consequence of obedience or of a rule or a constriction… the degree of resistance and the degree of excessive power- this is what every event is about”5. Regarding this beginning, “Relational Domain”, “Tempo universale”, accept the invitation: “get on the boats, philosophers!”(6).
1) On the subject Ong, writes: “the relationship between sound and the word itself with the living human world also changes. The sound and the world must therefore be considered as a relationship between the senses which is changing. […] In this relationship it is useful to consider cultures as organisations of the sensorial. By sensorial we mean the entire sensorial apparatus as an operating complex” (W. Ong, The Presence of the Word , tr. it. a cura di R. Barilli, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1970, p.12. Underlining by the author).
2) G. Deleuze, Francis Bacon. Logique de la sensation , it. tr., Macerata, Qodlibet, 1995, p. 87. The reference to Bacon’s painting is to be found in the intense interview by Pierluigi Castrati in July 2003, which can be found at biancovalente. com. the question represents an essential artistic node for the reading of Bianco-Valente’s image structuring, which it would be interesting to consider further on another occasion.
3) It would be worth considering the question of the map model in depth to identify the elements of difference and affinity to the descriptive scheme of the map which recurs in Dutch painting of the seventeenth century, as highlighted in the noteable essay by S. Alpers, The Art of Describing. Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century,  tr.it, Turin, Boringhieri, 1984. This represents a further subject of investigation of the relationship between art and science, as it is developed by Bianco-Valente.
4) The work was made with the musical contribution by Mass.
5) F. Nietzsche, Nachgelassene Fragmenten 1888-1889, It. tr., Milan, Adelphi, 1974, Vol. VIII/III, pp. 47-48.
6) F. Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, op. cit., Vol. V/II, p. 166.
Taken from Alfabeto Esteso, Bianco-Valente, Dario De bastiani Editore, Vittorio Veneto (TV), 2008