Previously at the ICA - Events

Film Still, Fiamma Montezemolo, Unlived, 9 channel video-installation, 2016. Courtesy Fiamma Montezemolo and Magazzino

Culture Now: Mike Watson & Fiamma Montezemolo

10 Jun 2016

Art theorist Mike Watson is in conversation with artist Fiamma Montezemolo, discussing his new book Towards a Conceptual Militancy (Zero Books, 2016) alongside the artist’s own practice. This event includes a screening of extracts from Montezemolo’s new video-installation Unlived (2016).

In Towards a Conceptual Militancy (Zero Books) Watson calls on the artist to mount a defence of subjective freedom in opposition to the twin objectifying factors of Science and Capital, personified by growing surveillance technology. The book is both a critique of the political left and the art world, ultimately arguing for a commons-based cultural management which can act as a space for rethinking the approach of the left.

An artist and cultural anthropologist, Fiamma Montezemolo works with various media, including video, installation, performance and ethnography. Building on the work of the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, Montezemolo’s new work Unlived (2016) refers to the phenomena by which the European economic ‘crisis’ of recent years, especially in Greece, Spain, and Italy, has had an impact on the general conception of labour. Central to this piece is Adam Phillips’ explanation of how all of us lead two parallel lives: the one we are actively living, and the one we feel we should have had or might yet have. In this video the artist follows the line traced by her interlocutors’ desire for a second working life, present in many of us and seldom actualised. 

Fiamma Montezemolo holds an MFA, San Francisco Art Institute and a PhD, Universita' degli Studi Orientali di Napoli. She is an established scholar in border studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Digital Media at the University of California, Davis. Her artwork has been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally, and is represented by the Magazzino Dell’Arte Moderna gallery in Rome. She authored and co-authored several books, among them: Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the global Border (Duke U. Press), Here is Tijuana (Black Dog Publishing), and has published articles and collaborative works in various journals, including Third TextAztlan, Avatar, and Revista de Antropologia Social.

Mike Watson is an art theorist and curator based in Italy. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from Goldsmiths College and has curated for Nomas Foundation and at the 55th and 56th Venice Biennale. He writes regularly for Frieze, Art Review and Radical Philosophy.

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