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Rendering view of the installation in the space of the Luxembourg Pavilion.
A Comparative Dialogue Act by Andrea Mancini and Every Island

Luxembourg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2024

A Comparative Dialogue Act challenges the entrenched notion of individual artistic authorship by presenting a collection of works where artists relinquish ego in favour of a profound exploration of collective creativity through the medium of sound.

A programme of residencies taking place over the duration of the Biennale will transform the pavilion into a production space where each individual exploration will contribute to a shared body of work.

This exhibition explores the transformative potential of sound as a medium for cultivating connection and understanding. It aims to transcend the limits set by singular perspectives of what Sound can lend to the acts of interpreting, distorting and appropriating

Sound as a Medium

The title, ‘A Comparative Dialogue Act’, encapsulates the nature of this experimental project – an exploration of diverse sonic languages and a contemplation of dialogue beyond the visual, into the immersive world of sound as a tool for negotiation.

Four artists are invited to explore the elements that define their individual practices and artistic methods. Each artist is asked to create a sound library representing their unique approach by the start of the Biennale. Each of these libraries will be a part of the Pavilion space to become one shared tool. During the six months of the Biennale, each artist will appropriate and use this libraryto create a soundscape. The aim is to stimulate collaboration and community through an understanding and interpreting of what was made available by others, while allowing, in exchange, the use of each other’s libraries to create distinct works and performances.

The body of work, both the libraries and the residencies’ productions, will constantly be absorbed and integrated anew – challenging notions of authorship and appropriation, each contribution will be shared, contributing to a dialogue between the artist present at a given time and those who came before, or will come to inhabit the space in turn.

Each artist will engage in a series of performances. The performance is part of the collective artwork and is the moment during which each artist presents their contribution in public. Although the artists never physically cross paths, their explorations intersect in a cyclically unfolding process of synthesis through interference, understanding and trust.

During the performances, artists may manipulate and combine the body of sounds as they wish, while incorporating new and live material. The resulting sequence of pieces will be published as a vinyl record, to be released at the end of the Biennale.

Throughout the thirty-week duration of the Biennale and its programme of residencies, the space will remain continuously accessible to the public: the installation of the pavilion is designed to foster moments of appropriation and performance, without setting boundaries between artist and audience, who, instead, will coexist.

Physical description of the pavilion

The pavilion is conceived as an infrastructure for the transmission of sound. Technology is used to develop a local experiment investigating the transmission of knowledge and work in progress. The notion of openness is here not bound to the absence of limits, but rather to appropriation of ‘the other’ and its contribution to collective and open-ended scenarios.

The pavilion’s infrastructure is constituted of four elements: four walls, a floor, a ceiling, and a curtain façade.

The four walls, or ‘Sound Wall’, are the central piece and sound system itself. They are on wheels, allowing the artist to interact and work them as they are arranged or re-arranged in the space. Each trolley supports a glass panel: the sound is transmitted through one of them via a transducer, a loudspeaker component that lacks the frame and cone of traditional speakers and functions by vibrating a rigid surface to create sound.

The artist decides how to use the sound walls during their residency. The sound walls serve as tools during the performance, and to play the recorded library of sounds and produced pieces when no artist is present. The four sound walls can be in syntony, looping a previous performance, as well as in interference with each other. Each of these moments of confrontation or interference between the work of several artists is defined as ‘dialogue’.

The floor, constructed with standard floating floor panels left bare, functions as a vibrating surface tuned to the walls. The aluminium tiles are fixed to a network of Bass shakers, a type of transducer that transmits bass frequencies to floors. The suspended ceiling hosts a light installation and the electrical nerve of the installation, while a curtain façade acoustically divides the pavilion from the rest of the Sale d’Armi.

In line with the notion of continuous appropriation which will shape the pavilion’s content, the infrastructure is also physically altered. The metallic coating of the floor is engraved with symbols and texts that become a temporal record of the pavilion itself, but also the colophon and description of the work. It presents the timeline of appropriations, becoming a palimpsest for the audience to map moments of performance and moments of dialogue.

Visual identity concept

“The visual identity has originated from a collaborative process, wherein we designed a collective idiosyncratic alphabet based on the writings of everyone involved in the pavilion, including artists and the curator. The typeface was then optimized to provide instructions to a CNC machine, converting human strokes into numeric instructions for the milling machine. This process facilitated the production of all the necessary graphic materials, from the poster to the floor of the pavilion itself”, Lorenzo Masson

Publication

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication and a vinyl record. The publication will act as a prequel and include a commissioned essay by writer and musician Dan Fox as well as a curatorial statement by Joel Valabrega, alongside a rich visual contribution by the commissioned artists. The record will be released at the end of the Biennale and stands as a sequel, comprising the resulting activity taking place at the Pavilion over six months. Together they will form a tangible, physical trace of A Comparative Dialogue Act. They will be published by Mudam Luxembourg - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, and designed by Lorenzo Mason.

Biographies

Andrea Mancini (b. 1989) is a Luxembourgish artist and musician based in Brussels. Mancini’s practice is interdisciplinary and investigates the relationship between space, form and the realm of sound through composition, installations and video environments activated by performance practices. His recurrent work method consists in confronting the intangible materiality of sound, the tension it creates and the texture it unveils. Mancini’s work also uses codes from club-culture, a scene he has been a part of for a number of years under his alias ‘Cleveland’. The artist’s works have recently been shown in exhibitions, festivals and labels such as Rotondes (2023), Kalahari Oyster Cult (2023), Casino Luxembourg (2023) and Cité internationale des arts in Paris (2022), among others.

Every Island was founded in Brussels in 2021 by Alessandro Cugola, Caterina Malavolti, Damir Draganic, Juliane Seehawer and Martina Genovesi. As a collective their spatial research focuses on the role of performativity in architecture, which translates into volatile building projects and installations. Their projects develop spaces that are open to different uses and consequently abandon inherited binary and conventional models. Space becomes a design tool that defines an alternative common ground. By provoking a confrontation between the spectator and the work, Every Island ‘arrives at scenarios in which seeing, acting and imagining become fundamental’. The work of the collective has been shown in several institutions and performative arts festivals, including Mudam Luxembourg (2022), Santarcangelo dei Teatri (2022), VIERNULVIER (2022) and BOZAR (2023).

Joel Valabrega (b. 1991) is Curator of Performance and Moving Image at Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. She holds a master’s degree in Architecture (Milano and Venice). Valabrega has worked within institutional contexts as well as in independent spaces. Valabrega is part of the curatorial team responsible for programming of MEGA, a Milanese project space. In the past she has worked as visiting curator at the V-A-C Foundation in Moscow & Venice (2018-2019). Recent exhibitions, performances and commissions include projects with Tarek Atoui, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Cecilia Bengolea, Trajal Harrell, Ligia Lewis, Ari Benjamin Meyers and Nora Turato.

Credits

Location:
Luxembourg Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, Venice
The Ministry of Culture has appointed:
  • Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg
    as commissioner and organiser

    Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Joel Valabrega
    as curator