MAXXIng out in Rome: Net Art!


MAXXI, Rome's museum of XXI century arts, has been developing 'Netspace: Journey into Net Art,' a series of exhibitions devoted to new media art that aims to expand knowledge about this field in Italy. The latest of these shows, recently on view on the museum's temporary premises while the Zaha Hadid design is being built, was 'Electronic Landscapes.' This project brought together works that examined the expanded notion of landscape in contemporary visual practices, 'from the creation of a landscape where pictorial tradition and new technologies co-exist, to the construction of architectural utopias and the exploration of the urban landscape through an electronic eye,' as curator Elena Giulia Rossi has put it. For example, Brazilian artist Vera Bighetti's 2005 'Stereoscopy Space' is made by the piece's viewers, who place objects in the space and then immerse themselves in it using 3D glasses. However, it was Mexican artist Ernesto Rios's 2006 'D. F. Maze' that most caught the attention of the visitors due to its intellectual affiliation and political engagement. In this installation, Rios deals with Mexico City’s imagery through three interactive journeys that evoke psychogeography, a practice which discussed the effect of the environment on individual psyche popular among the Letterists and Situationists during the 1940s and the 1960s. Presenting the recent trends that have developed around this topic, 'Electronic Landscapes' therefore contributed to the public awareness of the importance that a genre as classic as landscape still has in current artistic production. Slated to open in early December, the next installment of this series of exhibitions is a show that will investigate bodily metamorphosis in cyberspace. MAXXI is thus positioning itself as one of the main venues for new media art in Europe. ‐ Miguel Amado