Non Far Finta Di Niente, Installation View, Union Gallery, 2005 2005
Un Altro Giorno Sulla Terra (An Other Day On Earth) 2005
NOR FAR FINTA DI NIENTE
(Don’t give the impression that nothing happens)
If home is where the heart is, Roberta Silva wants to offer p a home without walls, a nest without side edges; she wants to give a sense of security without delimiting an environment.
Everything must be as it was in the beginning. It doesn’t matter much that the intervention pervades a pedestrian passageway, a suburban city corner, the limited part of a park in the centre of town, or the empty interior of a building. However, it is essential that the signs of the intervention are not visible and that the site allows for free movement: beneath the street’s cement surface, the section of turf, the marble slabs of some interior, there is an unexpected heat source, a warm spring that pushes us towards inescapable questions.
From time to time, we may work over a grill emanating steam, but in this case we recognise the source and immediately understand the reason for the warm air’s emission. But if the origin is not evident, if we are not allowed to estimate the presence and successively to grasp the logic of it, then what kind if experience have we encountered? And what archaic contents are being communicated to us through this hidden source? It is certainly not Silva’s interest to set up a hearth or to provide heaters for public use. Her objective is not to offer a comfort-this, at most, is simply a consequence.
It might even happen that someone, distracted or busy, walking by or even stopping in the indefinite aura of the intervention, isn’t aware of its discrete, intimate, and enigmatic presence. Consequently, having missed the epiphany that could take place in the moment in that ordinary space, this person cannot belong to the new elite-not demoted by caste, gender, social or professional standing-that the artist would like to germinate spontaneously with those who had at that moment participated in the simple mystery of that secret, spiritual, and physical heat. Only by rejoining with the nature of things and with one’s very intimate identity can we recognise that the heat was never extraneous and that it has always constituted one of life’s salient qualities. Silva would like to reveal us to ourselves in order to allow us, through her heat and our own, to reassemble a more perfect kind of participation, faith, and conviviality.
The intervention is calibrated so that its temperature will always be around 37° and furnishes the sensation of a protective and known covering, like a primordial placenta that receives us and connects to the suspense of the collective unconscious. This heat is fleeting, like an embrace that lasts only a few seconds, but gives us a non-transient sense of an understood agreement. It is an encouragement toward life because where there is intense cold everything contracts and becomes paralysed. It is an unusual way to communicate, like a warm breath that comes from behind and whose source cannot be identified. It is a kind of call.
It is a non-existent totally present manifestation, because it doesn’t have the standing of substantiality and yet nonetheless moulds the emotions and has the capacity of connection to the point of unifying us into one. It is a free ‘tepidarium’-a source and expression of well-being-that wants to contradict the extraneous nature of human relationship in a anonymous and alienated society. Within our urban metropolises, Silva wants to re-establish reference points for the simplicity of our animal constitution in contrast to the current technocracy, thus rediscovering the most simple and authentic sensibility. Canceling out-or at least reducing to the minimum-the exasperation of rationality, a more ancient memory reemerges; a stripped, universal language is discovered out of the diversification of phonetics, of pronouncement, and of the meaning that the all-too-codified languages unavoidable endure. With a simple gesture, Silva lets us enter into a world of temperance, creating a mild aura that encloses a potential for salvation in which we might find the welcome our lives.
Text by Milovan Farronato