Ambulacri is an art project consisting of a series of audiovisual works and multimedia installative performances. With an ironic and surreal touch, Ambulacri captures fictional snapshots of the contemporary digital world, where social dynamics are steered by algorithms of control in a state of frenetic immobility.
The video series is composed of several audiovisual loops with a modular character as it consists of potentially independent videos that complement each other and acquire multiple interpretational layers when juxtaposed. All videos present isolated clusters of people on perpetual walk, where human figures are multiplied on the screen with video collage techniques. Ambulacri’s allegorical apparatus orbits around the phenomenon of Echo Chambers, which are closed virtual environments where lines of thought tend to radicalize due to the repetition of communicative patterns within a homogeneous community. Echo Chambers represent exemplary places to observe a cross-section of contemporary humankind, both in its intimate and social dimensions. The plethora of users that inhabit BOTH Industries’ scenarios are all played by two naked performers, who act as normalized human models in a digital simulation. A horde of nude walkers appears as a dichotomous organism: internally unstable and in turmoil, it is yet unable to consciously move forward, as its general structure remains still on the canvas.
Ambulacri goes live under the title Still Walking. Arising from the intersection and integration of all spheres of BOTH Industries’ artistic research, the performance expands the digital scenario of the videos out of the screens and it incorporates body performance, live electronic music and videos in an installative setting.
The live show reveals to the audience a sample of the working methods developed in the green screen studio for the video production. As if they were demonstrating the functionality of a product during a corporate presentation, the two performers take turns on the treadmill assuming the different roles of the characters that populate the digital environments of the video artworks. Treadmills and tanning lamps, vitamin drinks and the uncanny atmosphere of a fishy wellness center define the workspace. The sonic environment integrates ominous beats, earworm melodies and the performers’ voices together with some elements of the acoustic guidance systems which was used during the filming sessions, such as sound cues, oral messages and metronomes.
In both videos and live performances, the loopy narrative structures and the repetition of gestural, visual and rhythmic patterns reveal the principles that govern the scenes little by little. Gradually, the details unfold and the polyvalent iconographic code imprints its meaning on the viewers’ mind. Thus, even brief scenes of a playful and apparently superficial nature, when obsessively repeated, suck the audience into them, suggesting the hidden code guiding their inner dynamics.
Supported by Kultur Stadt Bern, SWISSLOS / Kultur Kanton Bern, Burgergemeinde Bern, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Kulturstiftung der GVB, Bürgi-Willert-Stiftung, Schweizerische Interpretenstiftung, Ruth & Arthur Scherbarth Stiftung.
Matteo Taramelli, visual artist and creative director
Valentin Oppermann, performing artist
Stella Höttler, performing artist
Jacopo Biffi, sound artist and scenography production assistant
Beniamino Sciabica, video editing assistant
Mirko Pegurri, scenography production assistant
Stéphane Devin, scenography production assistant
Laurian Ghinitoiu, photo documentation