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Black Mirror > Prada Foundation Venice> Luca Rossi

>>> Black Mirror, black conditioners / radiators inside the Prada Foundation, visitors’ phones, visitor action, videos made by visitors, Prada Foundation, Luca Rossi 2019. 

The text has been translated from Italian into English with Google Translate. In so doing, the text deliberately maintains a level of approximation and imperfection that allows a more engaged, interactive, and open reading of the artwork and intentions.

Luca Rossi’s Black Mirror project at the Prada Foundation in Venice, insinuates itself into the normal activity of the Foundation and does not require any official status, as it does not require any expenditure of resources. It represents a form of “ecology of art”, extremely important in a phase in which we are all producers and consumers of content. The “black screens” are the air conditioners / radiators that accompany the official exhibition of the Fondazione Prada in Venice. Objects apparently marginal, invisible and therefore effectively “extinguished”, compared to the official visit route. In reality these huge black and ultra-flat screens are extremely significant in a historical phase in which we are all producers and consumers of content. Gilles Deleuze said that we don’t need to express ourselves, we do it too much. We need interstices of solitude and silence to finally say something true.

>>> But these big screens are actually something else. In Luca Rossi’s project they become support and direction structures that allow anyone to make a specific video. Simply place the phone over the black grills of the air conditioners, with the camera facing down. Press REC and move the phone to your liking. Here is that each visitor can make a video that he can keep.

The widespread aestheticization, the rapid proliferation of smooth images and delivered to consumption where only the mere present of the flatter perception counts, lead to a fundamental anesthetization. Nothing happens and affects us more deeply and so art becomes, as Nietzsche had already warned, only the occasion of a momentary excitement. But the original experience of beauty is instead an ecstatic and non-contemplative shock that transforms and extends even into ethical and political life. Beauty does not refer to the feeling of pleasure but to an experience of truth: “you must change your life”.

These large monoliths become the tutors and prostheses for visitors’ cell phones. Each visitor can create variations on the theme compared to the videos you see on this page. The creation of the work of art loses its contours, like the project of Luca Rossi, unofficial, clandestine but inexorably present in the spaces of the Prada Foundation.

The first thing to do as soon as you enter the Prada Foundation is to lower yourself, get on all fours, regain the size of the child. To see the works you need to have the ability of this side view, unusual and a bit crazy.
The large black air conditioners, present in all the halls of the Fondazione Prada, appear in all respects as large inexorably turned off screens. What happens if the screen of our mobile phone or our computer does not turn on anymore? What does it mean today to recover a moment of silence and decompression? How can all this frighten us?

 The project does not bring any object, no new content, inside the Foundation, does not require an invitation from the curator or the Foundation itself, does not add other works and other contents to a continuous production of texts, videos, works and images of which we are all producers and consumers. A hyper production that brings suffocation, anesthetization, impossibility of deepening, and the destabilization of the concepts of truth and experience. These problems flow into our private life but also into the big questions of our time (immigration, climate change, economic system crisis, artificial intelligence, etc.). We pass from the ability to face problems and make them real experience, to the ways in which they are communicated. In other words, it tends to become more important to “share living content” than “to live”.


These “black screens” are discreet and dramatic witnesses that are repeated over and over again in the spaces of the Foundation. There are, but nobody really sees them: the black screens turned off are metaphors of their own condition of works present but “invisible”.

Gilles Deleuze said that we don’t need to express ourselves, we do it too much; we need interstices of solitude and silence to finally say something true. These “monoliths”, distributed in all the rooms of the Foundation, represent precisely these “interstices” compared to the usual and official activity of the Foundation.

The screen that characterizes the IMG XXXX projects (If you don’t understand something look for it on YouTube) in this case is turned off. The bulimic production of the videos in the IMG XXX project in this case was interrupted to actually earn “a space of solitude and silence”. The videos seem to present the back of a dystopian and mysterious machine, suspended between the digital and analog world. A virtuous, and at the same time dysfunctional, use of the cell is suggested, almost to cancel any narrative and to show a behind the scenes always equal to itself. As if they were the “back mechanisms” of all the opinions and contents we produce and consume. At the bottom of these air conditioners / radiators emit air, breath; they have some internal mechanics.

I am interested in how these black screens, these silent monoliths, can become the directing structures for the videos to be made in their own interior. I am interested in this insanely self-referential dynamic played in a systematic, blatant and clandestine manner within all the halls of the Foundation.