SARA LEGHISSA

May 31 > June 5 2021

 
 
What does it mean for you to inhabit a space during a residency period? 

 
Having worked in public spaces for years, the space in which my research is played out determines and builds my work. If I think of my artistic practice, I associate the idea of inhabiting a space with the notions of observation, reception, assimilation and exchange, allowing the place itself to provide indications for me to start building the form and determining the content of the work (considering the close connection and match between form and content). I would call it cooperation between the idea, which is driven by an urgency, by a desire, by an intuition, and the space in which that idea seeks to materialise into a practice. In my experience, the greater the amenability to this relationship being open and fluid, the more one can build complexity into the vision. I have always thought that it's possible to tailor the idea to the space. If I consider the urgency and I structure it into an idea, that idea in turn will give me more information, and the number of occasions on which it will be able to redefine itself over time will be all the greater, the more I am amenable to getting it to dialogue with what is there, with whatever I find, without forcing it, without trying to always keep it the same. That doesn't mean being open to altering the nature of the idea or to shifting its urgency, it means including in it, and in the process, certain information that you hadn't planned to include and that continues to forge a new meaning and to teach you things that you would never have imagined on your own in respect of the original idea. So living in a space means working in a relationship, working together with that space. Daniel Blanga Gubbay calls it co-authorship in respect of creation, including the space as an author in the creative process: I feel very much at ease with that kind of approach.

 

How would you define the space of your work and research? What will you investigate on this occasion? 

 
As I said above, I define space as a component in the creative process. Tendentially, frequenting public space as a place of research and of passion, one realises that space is often enough in and of itself, and that it is very difficult to add details or images in addition to those that already exist, those that are already there. What one tries to do is to work by subtraction, to understand how to make the best use of what's already there, in combination with the structure of the work. Basing one's approach on the idea that the space already contains everything one needs, rather than adding information one attempts to understand how to shed light on what's already there by adding a mechanism that prompts people to look, or that determines the position of the onlooker, thus creating a viewpoint. From a technical standpoint, the mechanism itself can also be built using or exploiting what's already there. Tendentially, the use of such mechanisms can trigger a deviation in the gaze, shift a person's attention, focus it on a detail, expand the image and the imagination in the onlooker. This is what we call fiction. The addition of a mark creating a small shift compared to what I actually see, compared to what is ordinary, a time-slide that becomes a narrative, building new meanings for the onlooker, creating short-circuits between reality and imagination and disturbing the perception of the separation and distinction between those categories.

I shall continue to experiment with working between the room and the outside space, trying to position the various (more or less conscious) "audiences" in two different environments separated by a glass. I would like to work on the basis of this spatial state, and to try to dwell on the relationship that is created between inside and outside, in other words on the relationship between the aware audience and the random audience in order to explore the space between fiction and reality, calling into question the perspective gap between the two different audience experiences and reversing the question: "Which of the two situations is fiction and which is reality? Does this separation exist?" The aim is to create two different mechanisms activating attention, working on the imagination and creating a narrative both for those watching from the inside (the aware audience) and for those watching from the outside (the random audience made up of passers-by). Based on the idea of a "Reptilarium" as a title and as a suggestion for looking, I would like to create a mechanism prompting the onlooker both inside and outside the room to observe what lies on the other side of the glass as though it were a self-contained environment with its own dynamics and its own "rules", and to try unravelling and smashing this rigidity.

During my period of residency I shall try to develop a relationship between fiction and reality through experimentation with a graphic mechanism, in other words through a reproduction of the outside environment on which I can impress shifts and interferences, creating matches, synchronies and asynchronies.

 

Define “care” in three words 

Listening, Positioning, Surrender.


 

 


 

Sara Leghissa is an artist, performer and researcher based in Milano. Graduated in Contemporary History with a thesis in Social and Politic Communication. She has been co-founder of the collective Strasse, involved in site-specific production in public space, that worked within the frames of performance and cinema to question and intensify our relationship to reality. Her practice moves through a principe of ecology of resources, using as much as possible what is already available in the reality, and creates systems and devices which try to blend and to be mimetic with the context in which they occur, to vehicular images and contents and to meet and intercept different audiences, through the use of accessible technologies linked to the ordinary. For the Italian scene, she organizes icw. Annamaria Ajmone, Nobody’s Business, an independent platform for sharing practices in the performing arts and NESSUNO, a party where artists from different disciplines gather to share their strong diversity, shuffling contexts and contents. As a performer, she has collaborated with various artists, collectives and choreographers as Teatro Valdoca, -Dom, Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin, Muta Imago, Annamaria Ajmone, Jacopo Miliani, Daniela Bershan. She has been recently in residency at Sareyett (Ramallah) and La Casa Encendida (Madrid) and she has presented the work in different contexts including Santarcangelo Festival (IT), Triennale Teatro dell’Arte (IT), Short Theatre (IT), VAC Foundation (IT), Far Festival (CH), Oerol Festival (NL), Festival Parallèle (FR), Saal Biennal (EE), Les Tombee De La Nuit (FR).