Turistica

 

The season is over. The Autumn wind shakes the branches of the trees, solitary witnesses in a motionless space. In a house of someone who cannot sleep, a television lightens up the pale white painted rooms. Empty hotel neon lights reflect their luminescence on the windscreen of my car. Silence is filled with small, almost imperceptible, sounds: old bulbs flickering, radiators and ventilation systems sizzling in the dark. Everything looks the same, orderly and ready. Perfectly outlined. It’s hard to not feel alone. I get out of the car and I light up a cigarette while watching a big calf vanishes like a ghost in the haze that has risen in the meantime. His story is already written. He is stuck. Nothing can be changed. Here is the light of dawn. I think about the people I lost and who has lost himself in this place. Animals speak to me and palms look like fireworks. You couldn’t feel bad.

 


 

 

Carlo, born in Turin and Swiss by adoption, is a director with a bachelor in visual communication trained specifically on moving photography; after his graduation, with a thesis based on an experimental project developed through the use of infrared, he worked as a DOP around Europe (mainly in Germany) and in Brazil until, in 2016 and after 6 years spent elsewhere, he had to return to Locarno, a town on Maggiore Lake where he grew up.

 

The return, forced for personal reasons, and a touristic town that lives during the summer but that remains suspended, waiting for the rest of the year, pushed the author in search of escape, of his dimension: in the sleepless nights of Locarno Carlo began to retrace the places of his childhood, now different and “populated by characters who seemed ghosts more than vivid”, and to undertake a reflection based on the comparison between the volatility of memory and the tangible vision of the present.

 

In 2016 Carlo Rusca defined the birth of a project and its technical characteristics: the film was the rule, the tool capable of profiling a method and a limit and which allowed to “focus on the subject and carefully choose what to photograph and what it meant, formally and expressively “.

 

In 2016, therefore, Carlo Rusca began to photograph his wandering initially as a sort of therapy and then gradually build the narrative of a non-place or, better, of “a place that belongs to many places, places waiting for something. that maybe will never come. A story dedicated to small tourist towns and their lonely inhabitants stuck in these bubbles “.

 

Turistica ended in 2019, after 3 years of work and an editing that lasted six months. Turistica is a travel diary through the feeling of uncertain, waiting and memory that has unexpectedly (but, in my opinion, deservedly) found adhesion with an already large audience; this is testified by the fact that the project was also selected by Aperture magazine and already exhibited in the past few months in New York during the Aperture Summer Open.

 

Today Carlo Rusca works as a director of photography and is a professor at the audiovisual department at the cantonal art school of Lugano (CSIA) and at the International Conservatory of Audiovisual Sciences in Locarno.

 

I chose to tell you about him and his work because I found his project, Turistica, empathic and endowed with a strong aesthetic charge and, unlike many current ones (and without wanting to generalize), not at all pretentious. Essential, on a technical level, and absolutely instinctive on the approach; a project that leads to a visual investigation but which clearly has emotional roots. Poetics.

 

Turistica will become a book, available from next April. My suggestion is not to foreclose the pleasure of holding it in your hands.

 

Words by Walter Borghisani

 


 

Carlo Alberto Rusca is born in Torino (Italy) on the 29th of June 1989.

 

First graduated in directing and film production at the International Academy of Audiovisual Sciences in Lugano in 2013, he continued his studies at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) where, in 2014, he graduated with high honors with a thesis in aesthetics of human bodies by experimental photography. He’s currently based in Locarno (Switzerland) and Düsseldorf (Germany), working as freelance photographer and filmmaker. Since 2015, he’s also teaching audiovisual sciences at CSIA in Lugano. His recent work “Turistica” has been selected for several national and international exhibition, among others, the Aperture summer open 2019: Delirious Cities, at Aperture Foundation, New York.

 


 

 

From mirror after mirror,
No vanity’s displayed:
I’m looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.

 

W.B. Yeats: The winding stair

 

I stared at the first image of this series for a significant amount of time. I felt the need to talk to my own reflection after I stopped looking at it. The awareness of aging, the wisdom that comes with the body breaking down, the tears that were never shed, the divine moment hidden in future wrinkles, the stretched skin and the fissures; mirror after mirror, the image that you think is going to tell you who you truly are as you approach the reflective surface, stays silent. This very intense and personal visual chronicle by Rory King dissects the feeling of longing for something that is never fully shown; ambiguous and faceless figures escape from consumption.

 

A recurrent symbol appears in this body of work: The Sun.

 

It appears as an ink mark on the chest of the artist in various self-portraits and as the yearning for unbounded freedom relaxes, it sparkles on a stretch of water in the guise of Kairos, the Immortal Now, paying a romantic tribute to Masao Yamamoto.

 

Confronting myself with the simulacrum of our infinite source of energy, I think of it as a father who holds the name of his children like a net in his hands. This thought immediately brought me to “Solar Inferno and the Earthbound abyss” by Reza Negarestani. In this text, the philosopher brings up the idea that all organisms in the biosphere are subjected to a ‘Heliocentric Slavery’, since the dying star narrows the speculative opportunities of radical exteriority. What the Sun, our exorbitant source of energy, creates, remains within the confines of its own limits. In the solar system, ideas and possibilities of how to live are reduced to solutions to confront the problem of consumption; the plurality of life is enforced at the expense of monism in death. What we call death is then just one of the possible narratives of the abyss, the terrestrial face of something that has unbound potential.

 

Under the spell of Rory King’s self-portraits, I wrote as if I were him: “I feel like I died many times, but the Sun tells me I get to die just once”.

 

The closing piece of this series shows a shadow that seems to whisper: “Which way out shall I take?”. Identity dissolves into the abyss and the shadow seems to find the face it had before the world was made.

 

Words by Cecilia Nobili

The sound of things happening without anyone making them happen. The details of the void capacity of silence and the powerful splash of your parents avoiding conflict as you were growing up. This series is meant as a material proof of a personal quest that longs to find out more about the outer world, sometimes so alien, sometimes so welcoming.

Accepting the rotten, the unborn, the amputee, and binding them together to see with different eyes. Depicting reality, with its shortcomings and its excesses, has a soothing effect that doesn’t seem to make Freja fall into the illusion “of having had, and lost, some infinite thing

Words by Cecilia Nobili

In 1992 The World’s Scientists Warning to Humanity was signed by Henry W. Kendall and other 1.700 leading scientists. The document begins with these words:”Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course”. 25 years later, in November 2017, 15.364 scientists signed The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice. The call does not seem to have been answered. Accepting that what our species did to the biosphere might look like what is described in eschatological writings, would mean embracing our absolute vanity and dealing with our responsibilities, a thing that does not seem to be achievable before destruction.

 

Put the signs of negligence and violence before our eyes, we will not move. Let us live surrounded by dying creatures and rubble, you might listen to some of us raising our voices, but the revolution will not come. The solution seems to lie beyond death itself, in the non-worldly as a possibility of the forthcoming end of the world. Every single fact concerning mortal beings is arbitrary, artificial and generates from a notion of violence and an exosomatic process slipped through the fingers of whom is supposed to be in control. Marie Queau’s work, especially the series Odds and ends, made me think about ways to regain agency. Examining her production and reading her interviews and publications bombarded me with flashes, immersing me in the realm of things that exist but are not manifested. The spirit of the atomic bomb relives in Gojira, a plane crash breaths in and out of its wreckage-skeleton through the words of Paul Virilio, Philip K. Dick is evoked to explain conceptual dislocation as the key element to provide possible futures, as in fiction, as outside of it. Bernard Stiegler, in a recent article on morality within the technosphere, addresses the fact that the only antidote to the inherent entropy of holon (the whole) is restoring noetic activity. The pharmakon is thinking, experiencing the local difference between microcosm and macrocosm, between a sand grain and the desert. Odds and ends embodies that difference, the distance that reveals what can be understood. I heard some of Marie Queau’s pictures talking; some, conversing with one another without noticing me, some others screaming at me to wake up. In Le Royaume, her ongoing project where we see photographs taken during a french sporting event called Le Mud Day, we are forced to deal with the stillness of myth and how its weight both haunts us and shelters us. Given a platform onto which it is possible to project the ghosts of the past, the contours of a humanity that is capable of defining itself only through what it removes start to appear. Adopting a more documentary approach, in this series, Marie Queau shows us again something that we would not normally look for if we were to follow our default setting, the same setting responsible for the revolution not happening.

 

Words by Cecilia Nobili