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VASA video series ...

Almost Friends

a selection of Italian artists curated by Carla Della Beffa


September 2017
First of four installments

Note: Videos may go full screen.

Elena Arzuffi

She graduated in art semiotics and was a teacher in graphic design 3D. Mental introspection is the way to transfer her passions into videoart.

Crunchy Love
2008, 3' 10", video PAL

The usual, daily and always-the-same actions are the true killers of love. Sound Monjes Budistas and Amy Winehouse.

Giovanni Bai

Sociologist and artist, publisher, performer and independent curator, Bai concentrates on the issues of communication and functioning of media. In 1990 he founded Museo Teo, an atypical institution for the diffusion of contemporary art, «a museum without a location and without works of art», which publishes since 1991 Museo Teo Artfanzine, a creative and alternative magazine. 

Effetto Serra
2016, video, 1' 19"

Effetto serra (Serra Effect) is a tribute to Richard Serra’s The Matter of Time at Bilbao Guggenheim Musem. (Courtesy of Bilbao Guggenheim Musem)
(Serra effect - literally greenhouse effect - is a pun that loses his way in translation…The subtitle too is a pun, referring the song Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) performed by Doris Day in the Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Man Who Knew Too Much)

Giovanni Bai



2013, 1' 49"

Zapruder is an interpretation and re-arrangement of Suite for Tennis Table and Organ, a Zapruder Filmmakersgroup‘s performance at Careof, Milano, in which the coming and going of a fragile and uncertain small ball on either side of a net is converted into music.

Alessandro Brucini

Born in Pontedera in 1979, based in Florence, Brucini is a film director. His documentary films, short and medium-length received several official selections and awards at international independent flm festivals. As a video artist, he collaborated to site-specifc installations and his experimental works are part of collections of contemporary art museums and galleries.

Le Retour à la Raison
2001, video, 3' 06"

“Le Retour à la Raison” is an experimental flm directed by Man Ray in 1923. It consists of animated textures, white specks and shapes gyrating over a black background, a gyrating eggcrate and the torso of Kiki of Montparnasse… One of the frst Dadaist flms is proposed with a new soundtrack and color. Music: Alessandro De Francesco

ConiglioViola is an art duo formed by Brice Coniglio and Andrea Raviola.

Building on our cross-disciplinary backgrounds we have explored the visual and performing arts using different media and breakthrough technology. Some reflection on the notion of digital medium as a meta-language whose intrinsic property is ‘fluidity’, according to Lev Manovich, lies behind our commitment to conjoining art forms and ‘liquefying borders’ between techniques and genres. Inspired by Humanism, we have shaped our idea of ‘artist’ while overcoming specialisation as antithetical to the unity of knowledge and constraining creativity. Our endeavour is like a ‘Renaissance workshop of the digital era’.

2007 HDV video 3’ 50’’

On the notes of an old pop Italian song by Viola Valentino,  the video Romantici shows a 19th Century family posing for a daguerreotype. The exposure and shutter speeds to achieve one of these photographs were very long. This may seem paradoxical for the contemporary mentality accustomed to associate photography why the idea of capturing an instant. Another interesting aspect is that all family members are played by the same actor whose body, through a sort of digital body art, is transformed to take on all ages. As in other ConiglioViola projects, the aim is to use art as a means of escape from the determination of human life, as a tool through which creating and investigating the plurality of lives and of possible worlds.

Almost Friends

The conceptual difference between video and film lies not as much in the support, since today many films are somehow digital anyway, as in the language. If I had to define it, I would say that video is usually based on a single idea, visual or other, not on telling a story with a start and an end. It might tell a story, actually, but it will sound and look different from feature films narration: for some authors, the mix of techniques tells the two levels of fact and feeling; for others, a simple image can be exploited for minutes and enter into a never-ending loop; some joke, or hint at emotions, with flashes of very few seconds.

Being invited by VASA project to curate a selection of Italian videos and films, I chose artists I know and appreciate: some of my colleagues and almost friends. Most of the selected videos are by visual artists that work with moving images as well as with other media. One of them produces great videos but defines himself a painter. A few are film- and documentary-makers. Some prefer to express themselves with performances. Others still use drawings and animation.

Techniques and subjects are different, and vary from one artist to another: homages to other artists and intimate, everyday details; works about economy and visions of cities; poetry and technology; performances and interviews.

With my review, I aim to give an overall idea of of what happens in Italy in the field of moving images: not an impossibly complete catalog, but a multi-faceted sampling (in alphabetical order) of good, varied, significant works by people I like.

The series will include four installments: September, October, November and December.
Each installment will be archived. All works remain under the © of the author.

The curator

Carla Della Beffa is a video, photo and relational artist and curator. Formerly art director and creative director in international advertising agencies, she has had experiences (and exhibitions) as a painter and a net-artist. Carla lives in Milan but is actively involved in international residencies, exhibitions and festivals.


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