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+Two Lines Four Borders+

La performance

+Two Lines, Four Borders + è una performance realizzata nei primi giorni del 2021. Consiste nel sorvolare con due aerei a reazione i confini di quattro stati americani: Utah, Colorado, Arizona e New Mexico. Le scie lasciate dai due aerei a reazione ricalcano perfettamente i confini dei quattro Stati americani, di fatto materializzandoli. La performance è documentata grazie alle immagini scattate dal satellite Landsat/Copernicus, che sono a loro volta utilizzate in Google Earth. In questo modo la performance, da gesto effimero, viene ad essere congelata in una foto, continuamente accessibile, visitabile e consultabile.

Per andare direttamente al punto esatto nella mappa in Google Earth, scaricare ed aprire il file qui sotto.

La preparazione

La fase più importante per la preparazione della performance è stata scoprire quando sarebbe stata scattata la foto dal satellite di quell’area. Una volta ricevuta questa informazione, si è proceduto all’individuazione di 4 aeroporti che si trovassero vicini al sito della performance.

Successivamente si è proceduto al noleggio di due aerei a reazione e all’assunzione di due piloti che li facessero volare.

Sopralluogo e scelta dell’aereo

Il gesto

Nel giorno e all’ora prefissata i due piloti sono decollati simultaneamente dagli aeroporti di Window Rock e Page. Una volta raggiunta l’altezza di 10 000 mt hanno volato per circa venti minuti, incrociandosi esattamente sopra al punto conosciuto con il nome di Four Corners.

Uno degli aerei poco dopo il decollo dall’aeroporto di Page

Il lavoro di Gianni Pettena

L’idea alla base della performance è un rielaborazione di due proposte di Gianni Pettena degli inizi degli anni Settanta.

Nel 1970 Pettena propone “Cancellazione di uno Stato”, un manuale di istruzioni per realizzare una performance, con un chiaro intento politico, la cancellazione di uno stato appunto, ad opera di due aerei a reazione, fotografati da un satellite per le previsioni metereologiche.

L’anno seguente, lo stesso Pettena riprende l’idea di “Cancellazione di uno Stato” e la sviluppa in Architectural project #2 (Planes crossing), una serie di proposte per il concorso Trigon di Graz nel 1971, dove “il passaggio di aerei in formazione ‘lavora’ il cielo sopra Graz, fisicizzando temporaneamente, visualizzando, ciò che la imprigiona e imprigiona l’architettura: il rigore geometrico del moderno che insegue le perfezione della classicità e non sa delle sue imperfezioni che la resero eterna” (Pettena).

I confini

Pettena proponeva la cancellazione di uno Stato, o la visualizzazione delle griglie che ingabbiavano l’architettura moderna. Io ho deciso di concentrarmi sui confini. Sembra assurdo eppure in un mondo sempre più globalizzato, oggi il concetto di confine ed i confini stessi sono tornati alla ribalta. Invasioni militari, Brexit, chiusura dei confini comunali, regionali e nazionali come strategia per difendersi dal virus, muri tra Stati, muri contro i migranti. Oggi i confini sono dappertutto, eppure spesso non li vediamo. Il sito per la performance è stato scelto proprio perché rappresenta bene l’artificialità deli confini: se in Europa siamo abituati a confini fisici più che politici, nelle grandi distese statunitensi, essi sono tracciati a riga e squadra.

Le mappe

Credo che le mappe, soprattutto quelle informatiche e interattive, siano un campo di ricerca interessante. In questo caso mi riferisco allo strumento principe in questo settore: Google Earth. Il supporto su cui funziona Google Earth sono delle immagini satellitari, che via via nel tempo sono diventate sempre più nitide e aggiornate. Diamo per scontato che queste foto rappresentino lo stato di fatto, in un certo senso il tempo presente, mentre è chiaro che si tratta di un tempo passato poiché ancora non disponiamo di immagini scattate istantaneamente. È lo stesso movimento per cui la storia inizia ad essere definita tale, tempo passato e non più presente, nel momento in cui inizia ad essere scritta.

Tutta l’esperienza umana si muove in quattro dimensioni, ovvero le tre dimensioni dello spazio più la dimensione del tempo. Nonostante questa restituzione sia per forza di cose bidimensionale, grazie a Google Earth disponiamo di immagini tridimensionali, sia a volo d’uccello, che all’altezza dell’occhio umano (quest’ultima grazie alla funzione Street View) e anche la dimensione temporale è presente, infatti grazie ad una timeline siamo in grado di scorrere le varie foto che sono state acquisite negli anni. Grazie a questo potente strumento ci muoviamo nel tempo e nello spazio, il tutto seduti sul divano.

Le mappe rappresentano bene due delle volontà dell’uomo sin dalla notte dei tempi: la conoscenza, da cui in parte deriva la seconda, ovvero la volontà di controllo sul mondo che ci circonda. Le mappe sono storicamente gli strumenti del potere, elementi fondamentali, ad esempio, in ambito militare. Nell’era contemporanea, grazie agli strumenti di rilevazione digitali le nostre mappe sono divenute sempre più oggettive, tuttavia mantenendo un certo grado di astrazione, a vantaggio della leggibilità e della chiarezza delle informazioni rappresentate. Nel caso delle foto satellitari, esse sono così dettagliate che recentemente uno studente ne parlava come qualcosa di vero, reale, in tutto e per tutto aderente alla realtà.

In realtà tutte le mappe sono figlie dell’astrazione e non sempre sono oggettive, ma soprattutto non sempre rappresentano qualcosa di reale. Un caso eclatante è rappresentato da questo esempio, in cui i tipi di Google stessi hanno modificato digitalmente le foto per renderle “coerenti” con la visione che ci aspettiamo di un certo luogo. Si tratta della valle di Goreme, in Cappadocia, nota in tutto il mondo per le sue mongolfiere.

Ritengo che questa manipolazione sia un fatto gravissimo, ma soprattutto mostri benissimo come i mezzi di comunicazione ed informazione possano distorcere e manipolare non solo la verità, ma anche la realtà. Quello che queste immagini gridano è: “la mappa è mia e quello che vedi lo decido io!”. Questo è ancora più evidente nel caso di informazioni legate alla sicurezza di alcune istituzioni: parti della mappa vengono oscurate per garantire che non sia compromessa la segretezza di determinate informazioni.

L’attimo, o l’eterno presente

L’idea alla base del progetto è trasformare la crisi in valore. Abbiamo detto che le mappe rappresentano il passato e che vengono considerate uno strumento oggettivo, che replica la realtà, anche se talvolta con un certo grado di astrazione. Giocando su questa ambiguità, il progetto, attraverso la modifica delle mappe, vuole proporre visioni virtuali, non ancora attuali, ma che lo sembrano in tutto e per tutto. La mappa da strumento oggettivo diventa uno strumento soggettivo prima, e collettivo poi, una volta che l’ambiguità viene svelata, compresa e condivisa dalla comunità di riferimento. In questo senso la nuova mappa si propone come un dispositivo in grado di recuperare il futuro, poiché offre delle visioni che solleticano la nostra immaginazione e che sfidano il nostro orizzonte, di fatto allargandolo.

Google Earth è implicitamente legato all’idea della temporaneità come a quella di permanenza: essendo a tutti gli effetti una foto, cattura un frammento di spazio in un certo tempo e fissa quell’immagine, rendendola di fatto quasi eterna. L’arte povera rivendicava il qui e l’ora, l’importanza del gesto, la performance come qualcosa di effimero. Legando il gesto all’immagine satellitare, anche esso da effimero diventa eterno.

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