Italian psychiatrist and conceptual artist Cesare Pietroiusti will bring his process-oriented, interactive practice to MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies Nov. 16-18.
Pietrioustri's work may not be easily recognized as art, and that's the way he likes it.
"An artist's intervention in an urban context should not be easily recognizable as 'art.' It's better to contribute to creating a moment of uncertainty and doubt in the casual observer than to confirm expectations. I prefer 'Who knows what that is?' rather than, 'It's art, so it's not intended for me,'" Pietroiusti has said about his focus on the art of plumbing--and even planning--peculiar, provocative moments or events.
His small-scale book, "Non-functional Thoughts" (1997), contains approximately 100 useless or incongruous ideas to be realized as art projects by anyone.
Like Freud, Pietroiusti finds that unconscious motives seep into ordinary acts and daily life. Like Yoko Ono, he creates "instructions" that may (or may not) access individual depths. His practice is often centered on setting himself or others a task that is "nonfunctional" and an adventure to complete, as a choreographer might do.
According to Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) associate director Larissa Harris, following his instructions can shed humorous light on everyday life and illuminate experiences of architectural and social spaces.
While at MIT Pietroiusti will present his work and conduct a workshop with a class of undergraduate architecture majors. As part of the workshop, students will present public "micro-performances" today (Nov. 17) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout buildings N51 and N52, which house CAVS and MIT's Visual Arts Program. Because of the spontaneous nature of the event, says Harris, "We won't know exactly who will be where doing what until that day."
Art and social change series shown
Pietroiusti's visit and "micro-performances" are part of "Europe in Motion: New Practices in Art and Social Space," a series of events hosted by CAVS. The series includes screenings of two documentary films, "The Invisible Object: Art in Social Change" (2003) and "Fluid Cities: Berlin to Istanbul" (2004) today at 6:30 p.m. in Room N52-390. Both films document artistic and architectural projects designed and built for public space in post-Cold War Europe. Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, director of the two documentaries, and Pietroiusti will be present at the screening.
Public art works featured in these documentaries will also be on view at CAVS today and tomorrow from 3-6 p.m. in Room N52-390.
Starting today, "The Traveling Magazine Table," a traveling library of publications by nonprofit and alternative spaces, groups, and artists' collectives, is on view at the CAVS through spring 2005. Organized and circulated by the international artists' collective, Nomads & Residents, which was co-founded by Pietroiusti, the "Traveling Magazine Table" is updated with new materials at each venue. The collection is on view in Room N52-390 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. or by appointment.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 17, 2004 (download PDF).