Monstrosity and Modernity: Reflections on Il Deserto Rosso by Icaro March 01, 2024 0 News, Research

“Monstrosity and Modernity: Reflections on Il Deserto Rosso”

15th of March | 6.30pm

Michelangelo Antonioni in conversation with The Third Thing – Nithya Iyer and Vlad Mizikov

The conversation will be in English on the 3rd floor of the Hangar without an elevator.

On the 15th of March, Hangar will be hosting a screening of Deserto Rosso by Michelangelo Antonioni in conversation with The Third Thing – an arts-based research collaboration by Nithya Iyer and Vlad Mizikov. The artist talk will be moderated by the curators of the exhibition An Experiment In Intervals III – Violet Desert, shown in Antecamera until March 21st. The name of the work references Antonioni’s 1964 film ‘Deserto Rosso’ (Red Desert), renowned for depicting stark scenes of industrial architecture and featuring a protagonist, Giuliana (Monica Vitti) who is tormented by the alienating force of living within modernity. In parallel, the piece reads the site of the industrial park in Barreiro, Portugal, through the lens of ‘monstrous architecture’, or the monstrosity of modern idealism. Shaped by the industrial expansion brought about by Companhia União Fabril from the mid-1960s to 1970s, today the site exists in a liminal zone – haunted by the promises of economic prosperity and the failure of such promises. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, it houses plural identities and multiple futures. It is representative of both monstrosity as threat and opportunity.

The Third Thing commenced working together formally in 2019. Coming from a background in performing arts predominantly rooted in the Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, Nithya Iyer’s practice includes durational and improvised works undertaken across solo and group performances in Australia, India and Portugal. Between 2016 and 2020 Nithya completed a Masters in Therapeutic Arts Practice, bringing a methodology of phenomenology into the centre of her practice. Vlad Mizikov’s interest in somatic practices commenced in 2009 whilst studying Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga in India and led to a collaboration with Lianne Metcalf, founder of Somachi – a mix of somatic practices and yoga asana, underpinned by Vajrayana Buddhist metaphysics. Building on his early interest in analog photography and film, these studies informed his approach to image-making – the question of where and how form and structure intersect with notions of metaphysics became a key curiosity in his work.

The first project in their formal collaboration, the Experiment in Intervals series speaks to their shared interest in the capacity of the body to enter ‘intervals’ or disjunctures in spatial territories. Importantly, however, it represents a desire to bring this embodied capacity into a dialogue with architectural sites of ideological or philosophical significance.