www.digging-up.net, 2021-in progress
Courtesy the Artist
Lara Favaretto’s contribution to the web portal www.pompeiicommitment.org is the periodic publication of another web portal, www.digging-up.net, comprising four issues over the course of 2021. It is the virtual and documentary version of the project Digging-Up: Atlas of the Blank Histories, an initiative still in progress that was launched in 2012 for the series Momentary Monument, of which it is the final segment. After the initial work, Momentary Monument – The Core, presented in Kabul in 2012 for dOCUMENTA (13), the project developed and was reshaped over time for its presentation in 2017 at the Haci Nuri Bey Mansion, in the context of a programme of contemporary art for the third edition of the Cappadox Festival, Ways Out from the World, and in 2019 at the Villa Arianna, an archaeological site and park in Castellammare di Stabia administered by the Parco Archeologico di Pompei. It appeared the same year at the Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo, as a Collateral Event of Manifesta 12. Digging-Up: Atlas of the Blank Histories explores the multiple, potential, and even contradictory interpretations by which it is possible to understand the technique of coring, that is, excavating and extracting materials from subsurface deposits. For Favaretto, connecting material and nonmaterial findings – real but also imagined – as well as differing methodological and disciplinary approaches (geological, ethno-anthropological, archaeological, historical, economic, sociological, philosophical, literary, musical, and artistic), implies the possible creation of a short circuit between reality and invention, between the dimensions of space and time, and, within the latter, among the past, the present, and the future. Before coring can begin, there must be preparatory research conducted by a group of experts and by the local community, in order to pinpoint the areas for the coring on the basis of the collective knowledge gathered from common saying, anecdotes, stories, legends, and personal recollections of the people who are their repositories. The resulting mapping is a departure from official cartography and re-establishes an atlas of emotional traces that correspond to marginal visions, unexpressed or previously unconnected, deposited in the memory of the cored area. This act of alternative consciousness is not only an outcome but is transmitted to the future through the creation of a true ‘time machine’ that protects the past of an object discovered by coring and projects it beyond the physical and historical space-time of the project itself. Within the context of Pompeii Commitment, all the phases of the project will be published gradually, from its conception and general structure to its first incarnation in Kabul, to the successive ones in Cappadocia and Pompeii and the surrounding areas, until its final versions planned by the artist but not yet underway. Between one edition and the next, essays commissioned by the artist will also be published that explore new meanings of the word ‘coring’ and of the infinite theories it can embrace, documenting the knowledge produced by this project – analogous to that created by archaeology – which is always ongoing, destined to proceed by hypotheses, by continual verification using its own tools and results.
In Episode 1, published on 11 March 2021, the general concept and structure of the project was presented, whilst in the second issue (Episode 2), published on 1 October 2021, the materials that document and reconstruct the presentation in 2019 of the project at Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo, which was the premise of the Digging-Up. Atlas of the Blank Histories outcomes in Pompeii and surroundings. This issue (Episode 3) features the materials relating to the cores carried out in 2019 in Pompeii and surroundings at the following excavation areas: within Pompeii Archaeological Park, at Palestra Grande, Torre di Mercurio, Villa di Diomede, Foro Triangolare; in external areas, managed by the Park, at the Extra Urbano di Fondo Iozzino sanctuary (Pompei), Villa Sora (Torre del Greco), Villa San Marco (Castellammare di Stabia); on the land managed by Comune di Pompei, at Messigno e nearby Cappella della Giuliana; further cores from the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum and on the territory of Ente Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio, at Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. Episode 4 will follow, in which materials relating to the presentation in 2019 at Villa Arianna of the cores carried out and materials relating to their burial in the Vesuvius Park, where they will be kept for the next hundred years as a Time Capsule of the project. Finally, starting from 2022, the materials relating to the first incarnation of the Digging-Up. Atlas of the Blank Histories project will be published, which took place in Kabul in 2012, and the subsequent one which took place in Cappadocia in 2017, also including materials relating to the further incarnations designed by the artist, and yet to be realised. AV
Digging-Up: Atlas of the Blank Histories was one of the awarded projects of the second edition of the Bando Italian Council (2017), conceived by the Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane (DGAAP) of the MiBAC-Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali. Promoters: Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee / Madre • museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. Recipient of the donation: Parco Archeologico di Pompei.
We wish to thank Fabio Agovino and Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo for their generous support of the first edition of the digital publication www.digging-up.net.
Home page image: Found documentary image, artist’s personal archive.
Lara Favaretto (Treviso, 1973) lives and works in Turin. Her artistic inquiry brings together drawing, photography, sculpture, installations, and video. Based on rigorous processes of research and the involvement of other people who, for the most part, do not belong to the art world, her works are often destined to self-destruction and disappearance, investigating their creation and dissolution as integral parts of the works themselves, expressions of a theory rather than just practical creations. After having attended the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, in Milan, and Kingston University London, she won the second edition of the Querini-Furla Prize in 2001 and was artist-in-residence at PS1/MoMA in New York. Among the Biennales and international shows she has participated in are the Venice Biennale (2005, 2009, 2019); the Biennale of Sydney (2008); the Sharjah Biennial (UAE, 2009); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Kabul (2012); Manifesta 12, Saint Petersburg (2014); the Liverpool Biennial (2016); and Skulptur Projekte Münster, Marl (2017). Her solo exhibitions in museums and public institutions include: PS1/MoMA, New York (2012); the Sharjah Art Foundation (2012); the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2013); the Rennie Collection, Vancouver (2015); Nottingham Contemporary (2017); Kunsthalle Mainz (2018); and The Bass, Miami Beach (2019). Favaretto has participated in many group shows in international institutions, such as the Magasin-Centre d’art contemporain, Grenoble (2010); the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012); the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and MOCA, Cleveland (2017); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018). Starting in 2009 (and still ongoing), Favaretto began a series of different projects entitled Momentary Monument and a series of artists’ books devoted to them, to which one must add, at least in part, the digital publication www.digging-up.net.