An interview with Giovanna Cerise
Bryn Oh: Where are you from? And who are the most renowned (not necessarily the best) artists from your country in your opinion?
Giovanna Cerise: I live in Italy, and currently I teach Italian and Latin Literature in a high school. I have joined to my liberal arts studies, the musical studies by studying classical guitar and musical Paleography. So for a long time music has been my main activity. My passion for virtual art has filled the emptiness left in me from having abandoned it. Making a choice of famous artists in the world is very difficult, in a country like Italy, where you breathe art in every corner: those who have left an important, indelible trace are so many. So it is an impossible task for me to choose the names. I will indicate randomly the ones that come immediately to my mind, forgetting certainly many. Dante Alighieri, Luigi Pirandello, Dario Fo, Eugenio Montale, Umberto Eco, Umberto Boccioni, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Amedeo Modigliani and again Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi, Edoardo De Filippo, Luciano Pavarotti, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Paul Sorrentino but Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Magnani, Monica Vitti ... and I could go on forever.
Bryn Oh: Often the average person outside SL is perplexed with virtual worlds in general. When people unfamiliar with the virtual ask you what you do how do you explain it?
Giovanna Cerise: I confess that until recently I had problems speaking about my experience in SL, first because I myself found difficult, in defining it. When I tried to explain that I was taking a course in virtual didatics, around me I saw quizzical expressions, mainly because others did not understand what a virtual world had in common with the work I was doing. With time the situation has not improved much. Now, to those who ask me questions, I present my experience by trying to show them all the possibilities that it have opened to me and how it has enriched me.
Bryn Oh: Who are a few of your favorite artists and why?
Giovanna Cerise: Many of the artists that I have already named are among my favorites. In general I am attracted to artists who are able to express their innovative point of view, those who dig deep and have the courage to show their more hidden world. . . The works of these artists are "listening" and they seek to connect our inner with the piece of the world that we have in front. I love Frida Kahlo and her intense works, full of strength, sensitivity, passion. I like the large metal sculptures of Arnoldo Pomodoro, his perfectly geometric forms with a highly polished surface, torn with cracks and openings that expose a shaggy interior, fraught with reliefs. And yet Anish Kapoor and his
monumental, surprising, disturbing and problematic installations. Alberto Burri
and Lucio Fontana, who question the system of values and certainties and
invite you to investigate further. And then of course there are the musicians,
and I name Bach among all of them, an exceptional personality, whos work is
both poetry and science t. To these other should be added like Hermann Hesse,
Luigi Pirandello, Italo Svevo and Eugenio Montale. Many, then, are the artists
of virtual worlds by whom even if for different reasons I am affected. I want
to mention some of the works: "der Schauer" of Selavy Oh, Transition
Zone of Oberon Onmura, Imogen and Pigeon of Bryn Oh, "Taxy! To the Zircus
" of Eupalinos Ugajin, Black and White World of Cica Ghost, The Inevitable
of Fate of Rose Borchovski, Sparkys of Romy Nayar, Celebrity Blow Your Tits Off
Rides Again of Maya Paris , Imago Anatopism of Alpha Auer, Bogon Flux of Blotto
Epsilon and Cutea Benelli …
Bryn Oh: Whose artwork do you personally dislike the most and why?
Giovanna Cerise: More than indicating precise names, I am not normally attracted to those works that, as we say in Italy, are "Tutto fumo e niente arrosto," works in which the author only seeks the spectacular effect, trying to cover the complete absence of any content, in the worst cases, and, at best, give a vague idea of a general concept where they trivially put in anything that has to do with it at the moment. I feel a mental laziness inability to empathetically envolve the observer in an authentic manner, touching only the emotional surface l with a cluster or a juxtaposition of elements that should inspire wonder, but, at the end they just get bored, for their repetition, which at the end to nothing more than to slip epidermically.
Bryn Oh: Which of your own works are you most proud of? Do you feel any failed and if so do you now know why?
Giovanna Cerise: Among the works that I like most there are those of the last period and I refer to the installations as Arithmos, Fisicofollia, Cosmos and kaos and Speculum. I am particularly tied to the "Habanera" inspired by Bizet's Carmen and to smaller works like "Broken Time" and "The hidden purity". Usually I am never happy with the work I have just finished. My first temptation is to destroy them immediately. Luckily I can resist. I'm pretty critical of what I do and often, then reviewing some works in the past which seemed “exceptional” at that time, I say myself "But it is really bad", especially when I detect a sweetning or winking effect.
Bryn Oh: Do you have a method when creating? If so how does it often progress? For example do you sketch or write out ideas first for weeks or do you perhaps just jump directly into the project with little planning and adapt as you go?
Giovanna Cerise: For a long time I felt the need, which then became a habit, to write down in a notebook those words, phrases, images, musical references that have impressed me in a positive or negative way. The book has become a treasure chest of sensations and concepts, almost inexhaustible. It becomes a kind of latent memory from which often unconsciously, and for various reasons, an idea emerges. Sometimes the idea is so clear that it is immediately transformed into an image and the work of creation becomes fast and immediate. Other times I let an idea subside for a long time, which expands like a spider web. Often I proceed through a symbolic research. And when I arrive to what I think is the best, I start to remove the superfluous, the repetitions, the distortions, trying to synthesize the whole. In practice can be summarized in a job of expansion and synthesis, which I can be repeated several times, and that is accompanied by mental images of the transposition of ideas. The work of concretization is never very long, but it is intense. I try to concentrate it when I know I'm free from other tasks, because it absorbs all my energy becoming almost compulsive. In a few days what I had done before on a mental level is repeated. I collect objects, I work with prim or Blender. I empty the inventory looking for something that maybe I built some time before. I create texture. I move, I change, I look from various angles and, above all, I experiment, until I am convinced, until I arrive to the version that will be visible, but I may not be definite.
Bryn Oh: What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to inspire your work?
Giovanna Cerise: Right now I'm reading "The birth of the Greek tragedy" by Friedrich Nietzscke. In addition to Bach, who, as I said, is my favourite author, I'm listening to "Tristan and Isolde" by Richard Wagner and some songs of Queen.
Bryn Oh: Does your work have an overall theme and if so what might that be? If not please describe how you tend to pick your topics.
Giovanna Cerise: There is not a general theme that inspires me, but, almost all my works I thing you can find a tension that reveal the relationship between unity and duality, which then often becomes that of multiplicity. And of course, we can still include the randomness and determinism and the fragmentary. To these general concepts I add my fondness for music that becomes a source of inspiration, not only when I work on a musical work, but also for the disposition of space, whether symmetrical or asymmetrical, and for all that can be connected to rhythm or harmony (assonance, dissonances, repetitions, pauses, etc.). There is a theme that then I particularly feel which concerns the violence, especially against women, and oppression in all its forms.
Bryn Oh: Have you ever had to deal with negative publicity or a disappointing rejection of your artwork? How do you deal with it?
|The hidden purity|
Giovanna Cerise: Not many times, but sometimes, it has happened, that someone has criticized some of my choices about effects, believed as excessive, or some color, saying that it would be better if I had used another. Another time offering my work for an event I was asked to change it by inserting some textures that were supposed to make, from the point of view of the customer, my work closer to the event. I refused and I was invited to take away my job. How did I react? I continued to use excessive effects, when I thought it appropriate, to use the colors I wanted and withdrawing the work, excluding other possibilities of collaboration with those I had requested the work. This does not mean that I do not accept criticism, It is natural and even necessary. It is useful not so much for the work already done, but when it makes me think about what I will do after, words especially if it highlights something that I had not considered before.
But it is also true that when the artist creates, he has the right and the duty to choose, accepting all the consequences of this choice.
Instead I don’t take in consideration that criticism that based on preconceptions that become rules to be respected at all costs and that become the parameters of the work itself.
Bryn Oh: Would you like to take a stab at explaining what defines virtual art?
|The variations of the magic flute|
Giovanna Cerise: It’s difficult to give a definition, even if I can try and probably I will not dodge the stab. We can begin by saying that virtual art is one of the possible paths which an artist may choose to undertake in our time. Precisely for this reason, however, it can become a need or requirement because we are immersed in a society where technology development is due to changes in the way we think and act, to the transformation of each type of language and perception . It is a path that has in itself infinite potentialities that have become active only partially, and therefore it opens up a fervent scenario of not simple but difficult perspectives. It constantly uses the testing of new methods and techniques, sometimes incorporating the traditional ones and amplifying the combination of art and technology. It is not an easy path for many reasons, some reasons are certainly strong, due to the reluctance of the majority of people, who belong or don’t belong to the sector, towards this type of art, but also to the shallowness which unfortunately sometimes is found in those who do this kind of art, and which is manifested in various ways. (Perhaps the stab has come ...)
Bryn Oh: What would you say makes virtual creations unique over other art forms?
|Fisicofollia, image by Kikas Babenco|
Giovanna Cerise: Even here it is difficult to give a clear answer. Many terms were used to define the virtual creations: immersivity, interactivity, interconnectedness, complexity, constant change of perspective, presence of more and different sides, break down barriers of all kinds, multimedia, ability to be replicated, and even the unfinished ... Perhaps we can say that its uniqueness lies in the potential that the artist can use at the same time and in the same space all or many of these elements, pouring into this form of art all the features and problems of our age.
Bryn Oh: Centuries ago there was no such thing as an "artist" just craftsmen, as time progressed superior technical ability and creativity created the elite "Master" artist whose work stood recognized above all others. In 1917 Marcel Duchamp submitted a work entitled "Fountain" to the Society of Independent artists. He stated "... He (the artist) CHOSE it. He took an article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object" He wanted to shift the focus away from technical craft to more of an aesthetic intellectual interpretation. Some say that because of him almost everything is considered art today. From an elephant painting with its trunk, a Banksy, a child's drawing to someone vomiting paint onto a canvas. What is your perspective on this?
Giovanna Cerise: The choice of Duchamp to use, without modification, of a profane object to bring out the cultural development of an object not depending on his artistic transformation, was certainly a source of discussion, poignant and often innovative, especially for the period when it was formulated. I think this placed the artist face to face with the choice, which often is not free because it is conditioned by external and internal factors, to take the path of Duchamp or the "traditional" one, with all the implications that this entails. In both cases, the choice itself can not be separated from the creative purpose that arises from the artist and his mental and conceptual processing. You can not, on the other hand, say that the technical skill is never important. Sometimes I think it is also essential. If we shift the focus from the visual arts to music or dance, for example, I can not think (but maybe that's my limit) of how you can do this kind of art if you do not have a certain technique and a certain knowledge. The artist, perhaps, then reaches higher goals when he most manages to hide his technique. (On the other hand I must say that the acquisition of techniques, experimenting new ones, at least for me, is also a source of pleasure, of game and a way to clear the mind and show better ideas).