WORK 35 / CONTEXT / TEXTURES

TEXTURES 01/12 After a failed attempt to build the project museum in Sweden, in 2016 I bought a three hectares property in my native alps 100 km from Venice. Having successfully negotiated the building of an open air installation, I collaborated with local architects for the creation of a 7.6 by 7.6 by 7.6 meters metal structure covered with 432 80 by 60 centimeter metal textures. The 12 textures covering each of the 36 squares making up the vertical walls of the cube are an actual encoding of the titles of each of my 36 works. The resulting structure is weather proof and it is only placed on the land without any anchoring. With time it will rust and bland in the surrounding nature. While I decided to set up the structure in a remote and abandoned valley in the heart of the Cimbrian minority group I belong to, the Italian far right representatives immediately attempted all possible ways to sabotage my plan and maintain the area exclusively an hunting ground despite myself being the actual owner (Fig. Picture of a texture I welded in the backyard of my Dutch girlfriend's house. Each texture is made of a 3.6 meters long and 3 millimeters thick mild steal strip. After cutting, I assemble the resulting pieces in accordance to the patterns I have generated by encrypting the titles of each of the 36 works making up my 36 years project. Beside encoding the titles the generated perforations allow the wind to blow through).

TEXTURES 02/12 While living in Sweden and working on my parents-in-law farm, I came to think of a way to deposit my project in the natural settings I so much loved. Unable to get any proper job even at the gas station across the road, in 2008 I sealed the windows of the old barn I had renovated and spent the fall with my small son clearing a granite mound in the family forest. I wished to create a landart intervention based on my project but this angered my father-in-law who secretly already arranged to clear cut that forest. At this point I moved first to China and then to the United States just pursuing my careerer. Fearing the nationalist uprise across Europe, I eventually decided to set my foot back in my native alps and in a lot of land I bought there I began to plan with the technical support of the local authorities a landart work designed according to the many restrictions imposed on such natural sites. The metal textures initially emerged as both a material that would rust and integrate itself with the landscape as well as a material that could withstand the increasingly erratic weather caused by climate change (Fig. Picture of an early experiment I conducted to use the old technique of ferrocement to fill in the textures. I liked this technique as it was previously used for making boats and it is still used in poor countries. It however revealed itself to be too fragile in flat surfaces like the museum walls).

TEXTURES 03/12 The 432 resulting textures encrypting the 36 titles of the project act in a way as a giant graffiti, yet not a graffiti within a urban environment but an escamotage to be able to place such writing in the middle of nature and let it last for some time. As there are 12 textures making up each of the 36 titles and each texture contains 6 words, each title is made out of 72 words including spaces and a dot at then end of each title. In this respect I am able to bring back to the physical world not so much the content of my project but the actual formula I used to generate it. It was in fact an important decision in the design process to let go to the idea of showing printed versions of the month productions as conceived in my memory palace, and simply focus on the strictly conceptual aspect. While then the tag attached in the back of the textures will have a life of their on, eventually falling down, stolen or vandalized or anyway damage by the weather, the textures are actually welded in the whole structure. In a way they are the skin of the structure holding it together and attempting to over-live all the forces around it (Fig. Screenshot of the actual titles encrypted throughout the 432 textures. Initially I wanted to keep the textures as a secret. I thought of awarding those who would have been able to decrypt them yet on a second thought I realized visitors might think of them as random).

TEXTURES 04/12 At the time I was supposed to get started with the building of the textures the 2020 pandemic hit the world. As a result the meager income I got by renting my Venice apartment to tourists also stopped. As I decided to postpone the work my girlfriend and relatives offered their help and I was be able to buy in batches 1.5 kilometers worth of metal strips of 10 centimeter width. The strips were delivered to my girlfriend house every month in bounds of 6 meters. I then had to drag each strip by hand to the back of her garden where I cut it in half using a grinder. Next to my small shed where I cements mosaics, I began cutting the resulting pieces of 3 meters in 6 different lengths of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 centimeters. To save money I used a metal blade and to speed up the process I began cutting several strips at the same time, causing however an intolerable noise which was disliked neighbours were not happy about. Understanding the disturbance I could cause I had to eventually construct a whole new shed only for cutting and absorbing the noise using thick isolation material (Fig. Picture of the machine I used to make a total of 5.707 cuts. A wooden guide is used to drag the metal to the desired length. In this respect I make several cuts of the same length before regulating the guide to another length).

TEXTURES 05/12 Prior assembling and welding each textures I have been initially stocking up all the metal of different sizes. The weight was so extreme that the screws holding up the shelves completely broke and I simply started stocking the metal pieces on the floor of the purposely dedicated metal workshop I had created to make less noise. The pieces of metal used in the whole texture assemblage are as follow: 1648 100 by 100 by 3 millimeters pieces, 1241 200 by 100 by 3 millimeters pieces, 986 300 by 100 by 3 millimeters pieces, 967 400 by 100 by 3 millimeters pieces, 594 500 by 100 by 3 millimeters pieces and 271 600 by 100 by 3 millimeters pieces. The alternative would have been to make the exact negative of the textures and only weld one third of the metal directly in the welded mesh supporting it. While this work might have been more aesthetically pleasing it would have been far more fragile and subject of vandalism. Additionally it would have required a far more advanced type of computation in order for the visitors to detect out of the empty pixels in the mesh the actual month file associated to it (Fig. Picture of the first stocking of metal pieces I made right before it collapsed. The shelves were arranged according to seizes from the smallest at the top to the longest at the bottom. To avoid the neighbours to complain I began alternating the cutting of the metal with the welding of the pieces).

TEXTURES 06/12 During the actual design phase of the project and also during the year wasted for a new permit to come after the Italian far right attempt to obstruct it, I created many kind of textures. Originally I actually adopted standard binary code. With this code it was rather hazardous to find a way to have at least three fourths of the digits of the same kind so as to be able to cover with at least 432 metal pixels the 576 matrix provided by the 24 by 24 10 centimeters wire mesh applied on each of the 36 square openings of the cube. To do so I was required to also include texture on the floor and the ceiling of the installation. After several years of testing out different patterns converting the project titles to binary codes, I invented my own binary language which only shift two 1 digit across eight digits. In the following scheme 0 correspond to the close and 1 to the open part of the texture: A 11000000, B 10100000, C 10010000, D 10001000, E 10000100, F 10000010, G 1000000, H 01100000, I 01010000, J 01001000, K 01000100, L 01000010, M 01000001, N 00110000, O 00101000, P 00100100, Q 00100010, R 00100001, S 00011000, T 00010100, U 00010010, V 00010001, W 00001100, X 00001010, Y 00001001, Z 00000110, -00000101, . 00000011 (Fig. Picture of the initial set up I conceived to weld my textures. The metal table is utilized to conduct electricity as well as provide the right measure).

TEXTURES 07/12 Eventually with time I changed my set up tilting the welding table up so as not to have to lean with my head on top of it an inhale toxic fumes. Also the tilting of the welding table allowed the pieces to keep tighter together. After building a shed only to contain the noise of my metal cutting machine, an aspirator was also added to further prevent these fumes. This additional shed in my girlfriend's garden also allowed me to be more protected from even the slightest wind affecting the actual MIG welding. It also enabled me to work in the evening and with the rain. Initially I tried to weld the pieces together only with few dots but the result was rather fragile and I soon began welding along most of the touching sides especially where only a single pieces is sticking out without further support. As these more fragile pieces may get loose before being transported across Europe to Italy, I write with a pencil the number of the texture in several places. Later the texture is positioned on a wheelbarrow standing outside an old chicken house where the pieces are later stocked (Fig. Picture showing the set up I use to photograph the texture right after it is welded. Being the metal still very hot I carry the textures using leather gloves also to avoid possible injuries from the metal edges that I do not bother to file).

TEXTURES 08/12 The finished and photographed textures are stocked on a crate. Such a crate with the total 432 textures occupies a base of 80 by 120 centimeters and it is 120 centimeters high. The weight however is quite considerable. While a panel is 8.7 kilograms the total weight of the 12 textures representing one work is 104.4 kilograms and the weight of all the 432 textures is 8 tons. In this respect the textures welded around the vertical walls of the cube do bring some gravity to it but simultaneously they bind the cube together. Additionally the thickness guarantees that it is rather bullet proof from possible attempts to shoot at it from the side of angry local hunters. It is also thick enough to rust without immediately creating holes through it. To this end as soon as the textures will be set up and they will nicely rust I will treat them with boiled linseed oil as a natural way to varnish them and hinder additional rusting. Most importantly the thickness of the textures and the way they are binded all together around the cubic museum guarantees a point of safety for those who might want to enter it and explore the three resulting floors (Fig. Picture of the first textures being piled up on a crate. The weight of these textures is rather manageable also considering that I will have to weld them at a considerable height).

TEXTURES 09/12 The photograph I make of each individual textures is stored in my digital archive. Every morning after my usual update of all the various works of my project I also start editing a photo of a texture at the time. Using an outdated image editor I use a polygonal lasso tool to select the rectangular contours of the texture and then distorts the corners to fit it within a 4:3 proportioned template. The template is like the actual texture 80 by 60 centimeters and has a 96 dpi resolution. Later I use a rectangular marquee tool to select the empty spaces of the textures and delete them. Having deleted all the empty spaces the image is saved with the highest .jpeg quality and it is later converted to a .pdf format. The final .pdf format becomes then one of the 432 month productions presented as part of this work and can be also viewed exploring the museum with the only difference that the photos will stay the same while the textures will severely rust over time (Fig. Screenshot of the software I use to manually edit each texture. In this case the actual metal grid underneath the textures helps me to select all the corners around it. Importantly also I decided to photograph the textures from the side in which they have been welded, presenting the brutal scars I have crafted like a surgeon to set the various pieces together).

TEXTURES 10/12 I use a print out of the textures to reproduce them using metal pieces I have readily available to be assembled. The time I spend for the assembling and the welding of each panel is about 20 minutes. In order to finish the panels on time prior the expiration of the building permit I had to then finish at least 12 panels a week, working at least 4 hours mostly in the weekend when my girlfriend was home from work and she could look after our children. On top of this I had to spend at least 2 hours every week to cut metal. Every month a cargo of at least 41 metals strips of 6 meters each would reach me and that would keep me busy for the whole month prior the arrival of a new cargo. Originally I evaluated to get the pieces already cut from China. They were cheaper but later opted to do the work manually by myself also avoiding the more expensive possibility to just have a company to laser-cut the textures for me, avoiding all the craftsmanship around it. Also the lines resulting by welding strips together follows up to the actual word each one of them is supposed to represent (Fig. Screenshot showing me welding in my girlfriend's garden. The welding occurring on the cubic structure of the project museum not only binds each texture to one another but also binds them on the textures on the mesh nets welded on all the 36 square openings).

TEXTURES 11/12 Adhering to the actual layout of the panels I decided to mount them at last facing the inside. Each of the 12 panels making up one of the 36 square openings of the museum is then positioned from the top left to the bottom right corner. In this respect the viewers exploring the mosaic tags attached to the textures should be exploring them going according to each panel as also simulated on the project website. This decision does not provide so much of a continuation across a whole 2.4 by 2.4 meters opening but it is scaled to the body of the user facing a particular panel. Also I considered that while these panels are rectangular and therefore disproportioned to the square opening, if the two empty pixels of each line are removed the 80 by 60 centimeters panels are in fact 60 by 60 centimeters, and therefore also a square. In addition the subdivision of panels I have adopted for each of the 36 openings can enable the possibility to add metal reinforcement to provide the safety required for visitors exploring the various floors. The building of the floors and the staircases to access them was postponed so as not to allow the far right representatives to try to make the museum illegal to access (Fig. Rendering of the possible interaction of a user with the textures. Here binary code was used and the pattern were anyway too little to guarantee the safety of visitors).

TEXTURES 12/12 In an ideal exhibition rather than reproposing the actual textures, this work should be presented by simply reproducing on one of the side rooms to the main exhibition all the 36 titles of the project in a large 7.2 by 7.2 meters layout corresponding to the dimensions of the actual wall. Each title then should be 20 centimeters high and be written using a monospaced font so as to highlight that each title has the same amount of characters, namely 72 making the width of each characters 10 centimeters. The titles could be then realized by actually painting the letters in black on a white wall or by engraving each single letter in a 10 by 20 centimeters wooden panel and then paint it and positioned in place on the wall. In this case also colouring can be explored to differentiate the four different sections of the project with the first 9 works specific of the self that could be coloured yellow, the second 9 specific to the surrounding that could be coloured red, the third 9 works providing a background to the project blue and the last ones presenting the outcomes green (Fig. Rendering of the ideal exhibition where the wall in which the 36 titles of the project should be presented is red highlighted. Given the decaying element of the textures this smaller scale presentation could also be realized using a very polished stainless steal which would also partially work as a mirror).