BARK is a participatory project by Derek M F Di Fabio (DAI, 2022) started in the summer of 2020. Over the past months, BARK has developed by stratifying and accumulating actions and modalities of interaction and sharing. It has collected experiences, images and words from the people who participated in and contributed to its transformation. It took shape as a series of workshops, online reading groups, a performance in partnership with Imbarchino and a solo exhibition at Almanac Inn. From July 2 - September 12 2021
A first series of workshops — realized in Berlin, in the Brandenburg countryside and on the terrace of Almanac’s exhibition space in Turin — investigated how fear could be a precious experience to explore ourselves; how our inner space interacts with outer space; how we can move from intimate and private places to others which are public and shared, as well as from a feeling of familiarity and protection to the possibility of being exposed to what is both unknown and foreign to us.
Beginning from the reading of M Archive: After the End of the World by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, the workshop Quando l’auto si increspa e finge la sua corazza: come risolvere conflitti osservando due buchi neri fondersi led to the production of texts. Later, those materials were used for a following series of workshops realized via a messaging app, where the participants shared their reflections on the previously produced materials through vocal or text messages. These materials have been developed and reworked by Di Fabio into a script for the public performance which was realized in the streets of Turin on July 1st in collaboration with Imbarchino.
Meanwhile, BARK also took shape as an online reading group which was dedicated to the Italian translation of Posthumanist performativity: toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter by Karen Barad. In this occasion, we continued to think through opposite scale measures: looking at black holes and quanta, reflecting on the potential of the indeterminacy of matter as well as gender not only to break a priori structures, but also to open up new fields of agency that would bring us back into the more-than-human world in which we live in, and to remind us of our responsibilities and respect for each other.
Not surprisingly, the works included in Di Fabio's solo exhibition share the participative process at the core of BARK.
Fermenting Profiles is a big cut-out, Matisse-like fabric piece which was made during a workshop realized in London in 2017, stemming from a collaboration between ALMANAC, Counterpoints Arts and the Red Cross. Layers of fabrics overlap dreams and desires of the young refugees who participated in the workshop. Their bidimensional shapes, pinned and re-assembled together, play between full and empty surfaces, and question how we recognize the outlines of something or someone.
Alba is another work where bidimensional forms come together. Titled after the young participant who brought up the image of a marten in one of the workshops, this series of terracotta pieces are formed by different shadows of the animal converging, crossing each other, to become a lantern. As a paradox, the intersections of shadows contain and house a light, a restless flame.
A megaphone, used as prop for the performance and as sculpture in the exhibition space, is also the outcome of a collaboration. Titled Tana, the name of whom designed and welded it, the work is made assembling car body pieces: a reference to the reflections, initiated in the workshops, about soft and hard bodies, as well as cars as both shields and dangerous moving things that bring temporary private spaces around the city. The car becomes a body extension, projecting the voices of the performers in the streets of Turin.
The live streaming of the performance and its recording are played in the exhibition space. The sound waves interact with the water contained in tanks, trying to initiate a dialogue within the matter by positioning the speakers in front of the glass tanks. The water is constantly moved by pumps and lit by torches which project moving reflections in the exhibition space. It is another recollection of the workshops and the reading groups, as the concept of diffraction is often employed by Karen Barad to talk about the active and performative role of matter. Waves overlap each other, extend into one another, encounter other bodies, constantly changing and redefining their path. Will the water remember those sentences uttered so many times last year during the workshops and during the rehearsals along the rivers? How many voices has the water heard?
Special thanks to the performers: Alessandro Puglisi, Maria Mallol Moya, Michela Depretis, Miriana Reale Calabrese, MINQ.
Thank you to all the participants: Alba, Alessandro, Alyssa, Alfy, Andrea, Aniello, Beatrice, Carlo, Cleo, Cosimo, Dalia, Ella, Emiliana, Erin, Eva, Giacinta, Giuliana, Gaia, Guido, Heriel, Iside, Jess, Jessica, Johannes, Kemoy, Laura, Lodo, Louis, Luca, Maria, Marco, Matteo, Michela, Miriana, MINQ, Max, Nadia, Neele, Nico, Nomi, Senya, Susanna, Tana, Valentina, Valentina, Vittoria, Zeyn.