The research explores performative actions subverting monument narratives by mapping, hacking and weaving multilayered connections between monuments, denizens, activist and artists. hackingmonuments.tumblr.com is the blog where I collect and share on hacks, done by other artists or activists, that voice queer, feminist, antispecist and decolonial struggles in an intersectional perspective. My hacks mainly focus on creating a flow of narratives around, with and on a specific monument. I wish to subvert this space of monologue by activating (visual and verbal) conversations.
I started in 2016 by researching around the elements defining monument specific actions thanks to the support of Milano Attraverso project. Those transformative actions use the status, the visibility, the shape, the characters, the history and the stories of the monument to subvert the narratives encoded in the object, to enlighten issues, to create a space of confrontation or sharing. In this perspective, monuments function as specific context, scenography, actor and object part of a more complex artwork or discourse.
I’ve studied the narrative of the ensemble of monuments in Milan presenting the outcomes in the frame of the solo exhibition Hacking Monuments (Lend the face of the Justice’s body and other Drawn Hacks) at Artcitylab// Ciocca Gallery in 2018: five drawings to draft hacks on monuments in Milan.
With the Atlas dei Corpi (Body Atlas) on going project, since 2019 the research is rooting into a durational dialogue with the Nile monument, also called The Body of Naples. Many monuments, funerary and not, are conceived as a scenography activated and/or performed by the Sun. Astronomical calculations allow visual alignments that mark out expectations and rituals. The concatenation of stakeouts and actions on the Nile follows the rhythm of the Sun: solstices and equinoxes mark the observations. From the first observation I’ll Hold your Gaze comes the second one, Jus SoliS, and so on. The actions celebrate the predispositions of the monument to its narration.
Thanks to the Artist-in-Residence grant from Nctm Studio Legale, during the Residency at the Waterfront, in the frame of State of the City project, the research focused on Maasgod monument. I invited the musician Roberto Fiorentini to look together for the voices of the river Maas and its god. Our dialogues and walks led to draw a position in the listening, resulting in a series: a sound piece, a listening performance and a hack on the monument.
In the frame of the Urban Center project at Triennale Milano, I’ve curated a Hacking Monuments program in 2020. The research deepened through a series of interviews that lead to the collective exhibition Tips to make sense of them, on VisualcontainerTv, to the workshop Parla con me hold by Pietro Gaglianò and to Dall’Ombra intervention realized by Patrizio Raso for Fondazione Franceschi.
The reflections shared with some of the interviewed artists (Sophie Ernst and Marcio Carvalho), with Pietro Gaglianò and the process of editing the contribution written with Valentina Mutti for the TYPP journal, drove me to Twelve, a digital hack on Montanelli’s monument in Milan.