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© Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters, a project by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, 2020. Project Partner: MiC.
All archival images and photographs taken at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii are used with permission from MiC-Ministry of Culture-Archaeological Park of Pompeii. Any copies or reproductions are strictly forbidden.

Canis In Somno, with Milovan Farronato. Pompei Conspiracy. Clever Dogs to Stay Out of the Sun!

Commitments 47    30•06•2022

1. Images:

Canis In Somno
Digital elaboration of 15 fake-news related to the profile swap between @pompeii_parco_archeologico and @justinbieber, @priyankachopra, @oprah, @donatella_versace, @rupaulofficial, 2022
Courtesy the Artist

2. Video:

Canis In Somno
Pompeii Conspiracy. Clever Dogs to Stay Out of the Sun!, 2022
video, 7’10’’
Voices by Margherita Chiarva and Spyridoula Joumaki.
Milovan Farronato as Cassandra, with styling by Rebecca Baglini.
Courtesy the Artist

3. Images:

Canis In Somno
The Web2 Strikers, 2022
series of 12 NFT collectibles:
Web2 Striker #1 @cristiano
Web2 Striker #2 @therock
Web2 Striker #3 @kimkardashian
Web2 Striker #4 @justinbieber
Web2 Striker #5 @zendaya
Web2 Striker #6 @badgalriri
Web2 Striker #7 @priyankachopra
Web2 Striker #8 @lalalalisa_m
Web2 Striker #9 @oprah
Web2 Striker #10 @donatella_versace
Web2 Striker #11 @rupaulofficial
Web2 Striker #12 @milovanfarronato
Courtesy the Artist

4. Video:

Canis In Somno
Swinging Club, 2021
video, 2’55’
Courtesy the Artist

From mid-March to the end of May 2020, Matteo Domenichetti—by training fashion designer and by inclination devoted to a Sagittarian wanderer with no hierarchy, following disparate paths of knowledge and multiple forms of creation, from languages to natural sciences, from a hagiography of ascetic saints to the profiles of serial killers—committed himself to interweave deep and prolific relationships with contemporary art and some of its leading figures. A series of early evening appointments, strictly on Saturdays, during the first strict lockdown, saw him animate, in choral entertainment, an enthusiastic group of newcomers to the Zoom platform. The first interpretative readings and spontaneous improvisations soon gave way to unpublished texts and composite dramaturgy, mindful of the lesson of Jerzy Marian Grotowski and the timeless concept of ‘availabism’ as expressively delineated by performer and musician Kembra Pfahler. Domenichetti began to compose scenarios for collective narratives. He collaborated with Haris Epaminonda to digitally animate his monologue. He enlivened the participation of Camille Henrot. He met for the first time Mathilde Rosier, Enrico David, Sissi, and, above all, he produced his first independent videos. Recurring figures of the autodidact improvised thanks to tutorials and sleepless nights: the dimension of the comic strip, the suggestion of the audiobook, the reference to lucid dreaming, and the recurrence of eloquent slogans and nursery rhymes. In addition, some obscure biographical notes along a choppy horizon. In the same months, he abused social media—after all, he was born in 1992—and at the same time studied Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism, which challenges the new power of manipulation. The condition of being in a state of declared ambivalence, critically and creatively qualifying, characterizes Domenichetti as a snake in the bosom, like Roberto Cuoghi’s Difesa del tumore liberato (Defence of the Liberated Tumour): a rebellious hypertrophy that wants to abandon a dying body at all costs.
The reading of Zuboff, together with that of Legacy Russell’s Glitch Feminism, some texts by Jaron Lanier, and the manifestos of the Comité Invisible gave rise to the video trilogy MyceliuMinds, which promotes two solutions to the problem, one more peaceful and the other more dissident, defined by the author as Fantadiplomazia and Tecnoresistenza, respectively. The problem is the profiling: predictable targets for easy marketing and various forms of inappropriate and malicious propaganda. What used to be called junk data has been converted into a lucrative form of income. The answer—at least one of the two offered—is to confuse the postman (in this case, the algorithm) into delivering the mail to the wrong address. MyceliuMinds encourages the exchange of profiles between friends and acquaintances. It suggests considering one’s digital ‘domicile’ not as a tight-fitting outfit custom-tailored by the needle and thread of an interested algorithm but as a house whose main doors (the log-in) can be used anarchically. Homes in which to act as host or be hosted, to be left for long or short periods, more or less nomadically. A simple idea but one that, if adopted on a large scale, would render data collection inaccurate and the entire predictive system based ineffective.
It is worth mentioning that MyceliuMinds has been circulating since January 20, 2022 on @canis_in_somno, a dreamscape initiated as an altered copy of Mark Zuckerberg’s profile, a kind of non-consensual symbiotic growth in which scenes of @Zuck’ s everyday life—his home, travels with his wife, children, dog, Meta’s new products—are haunted by dissident and radical voices, inviting constant reality checks. To understand the logic of the profile, I recommend that you do not ignore the warning announced in capital letters in the post “MISS ME NOT” that opens the animation of a never-seen-before Pamela Anderson with the stolid voice of Goshka Macuga explaining to followers the creative and dissident context in which they find themselves. And it is from this profile too, that the narrative for Pompeii Commitment arises: a video intended as a pilot episode of Black Mirror accompanied by a series of NFTs displayed as posters. Between Utopia and Dystopia, Pompeii Conspiracy. Clever Dogs to Stay Out of the Sun! comments on the sloppy social network system, frozen in the same dynamics. Domenichetti uses the mainstream narrative fiction of the British series, complicating its language and making it difficult to either condemn or redeem it simplistically. A group of patrons has declared themselves ready to invest a considerable sum towards creating the most majestic digital monument that history has ever seen and promised @pompei_archaeological_park in exchange for eleven of the most influential profile owners on Instagram. Perhaps a sort of re-enactment 2.0 of the myth of Proserpine and the Eleusinian Mysteries: the kore that divides the year in half. She ascends from Hades bringing spring with her, and descends again, leaving winter behind her. The visible traces of her change of home are evident in the landscape.
At the beginning of the video, a sentence appears like a sphinx insinuating an existential fork in the road: “Either you’re part of the problem or part of the solution. There’s nothing in between.” The motto of the Black Panther Party adopted by the artist Chiara Fumai , no longer with us, invites a clear-cut stance. Still, once one or the other path is taken, the roads will begin to cross, as the DNA double helix. The boundaries between one response and the other will lose their clarity. Who are these patrons wrapped in the anonymity of cozy sweatshirts bearing the name of the Neapolitan author Elena Ferrante, a symbol of a concealed authorship? Are they fiery visionaries, scrupulous investors, or both at the same time? Will the Babel that plans to soar into the sky of the feeds of half the world destroy a flawed system or offer it an escape route, another stomach to digest the resistance it has produced? The questions intensify when fake news appears regarding the outcomes of swinging. The level of contradiction reaches its peak in the NFT series, conceived as a series of eleven posters (one per character) in which Domenichetti adopts an old feminist cartoon from the Austrian anarchist group KSV, where a woman with a hammer promises to crush patriarchy. Here, the champions of the most Luddite and subversive data justice are the people who, more than anyone else (Meta shareholders excluded), gain popularity and money from social networks. Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, and Zendaya, among others, prowl menacingly in ectoplasmic data centers wielding weapons of revolt. It looks like the prelude to a mad act of renunciation, like that of the lead character in Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, who sets fire to his house to foil a mysterious catastrophe announced on television. Alternatively, the incipit of a gesture of liberation, such as that of Jane Birkin, who, to quell a heated quarrel with Serge Gainsbourg, unexpectedly threw herself into the Seine, obtaining a happy return at home, hand in hand.
In conclusion, it is worth revealing that the subtitle Clever Dogs to Stay Out of the Sun! was taken from a comment under a post by @pompeii_archaeological_park depicting stray dogs. Shadow as a place of dynamic counter-culture, as a safe place for alternative explorations. Do dogs fabricate resistance in the shadow of privilege, or do they medicate privilege in the shadow of resistance? MF

Home page image: Canis In Somno, Digital elaboration of a fake-news related to the profile swap between @pompeii_parco_archeologico and @cristiano, @therock, @kimkardashian, @justinbieber, @zendaya, @badgalriri, @priyankachopra, @lalalalisa_m, @oprah, @donatella_versace, @rupaulofficial,  @milovanfarronato, 2022.  Courtesy the Artist

Matteo Domenichetti has been working as a fashion designer for Gucci’s team since 2017 and is a second year student of Science and Technology for Nature at the University of Pavia. In 2020 he collaborated with SAGG Napoli on the creation of a special deck of trump cards as part of Lezioni di Italiano, series promoted and produced by the Fiorucci Art Trust of London. For the same organisation he has created, together with the art critic Rita Selvaggio, a series of video episodes on the life, work and cultural heritage of the artist and designer Cinzia Ruggeri. He presented his video trilogy MicelyuMinds with Milovan Farronato at the Casa Degli Artisti, Milan on 20 January 2022 where he is still an artist in virtual residence. He is interested in developing artistic expressions through digital languages ​​and NFTs. In recent years, he also developed an interest for the problematics around Data Justice, for which he tries to generate creative ideas of resistance and innovation, using metaphors and processes deriving from his scientific studies on the natural world. He created the IG profiles of @canis_in_somno and @guccy_palace.

Milovan Farronato teaches Phenomenology of Art at the Iuav in Venice. He was curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. He directed the Fiorucci Art Trust until its extinction in 2021. He developed the itinerant residency project Roadside Picnic and, from 2011 until 2019, the annual Volcano Extravaganza festival, born in Stromboli and then migrated first to Naples in 2017 and then to Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2018. With Paulina Olowska he gave life to the Mycorial Theater symposium held in 2014 in Rabka, Poland, and in 2016 in São Paulo, Brazil. He collaborated with Serpentine Galleries for the Magazine Sessions (2016). Farronato conceived The violent No!, part of the public program of the 14th Istanbul Biennale in 2015. From 2005 to 2012 Farronato was director of the non-profit organisation Viafarini and curator at the DOCVA Documentation Center for Visual Arts in Milan. From 2006 to 2010 he was Associate Curator of the Civic Gallery of Modena and, from 2008 to 2015, professor of Visual Culture at the IUAV University claDEM. Among the curated exhibitions: Nightfall, with Fernanda Brenner and Erika Verzutti, Mendes Wood DM, Bruxelles (2018); Nick Mauss, Illuminated Window, La Triennale and Torre Velasca, Milan (2017); Lucy McKenzie’s first solo show in Italy, La Kermesse Héroïque, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice (2017); Si Sedes Non Is, The Breeder Gallery, Athens (2017); Prediction, Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo (2016); the personal exhibition of Peter Doig, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice (2015); the personal exhibition of Christodoulos Panayiotou, Kaleidoscope Project Space, Milan (2014); and Arimortis, Museo del Novecento, Milan (2013), co-curated with Roberto Cuoghi. Milovan Farronato was a member of the curatorial team of the IV Dhaka Art Summit and part of the Development Committee of the Chisenhale Gallery in London.

Pompeii Commitment

Canis In Somno, with Milovan Farronato. Pompei Conspiracy. Clever Dogs to Stay Out of the Sun!

Commitments 47 30•06•2022

The Swinging Club is a digital resistance practice that involves the exchange of profiles to hinder data collection and to foster more adventurous digital experiences. It appeared for the first time on @canis_in_somno’s IG profile in the video shown here, second episode of the MyceliuMinds trilogy (2021). The utopian / dystopian elaboration of Pompeii Conspiracy starts from this assumption, in which swinging becomes the tool for the construction of an imposing digital monument.

A democratic surveillance society is an existential and political impossibility.
Make no mistake: this is the fight for the soul of our information civilization.
Shoshana Zuboff