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Lara Favaretto, Thinking Head: Clandestine Talks 2017– ongoing
Lara Favaretto

Thinking Head: Clandestine Talks

Lara Favaretto employs a variety of media to explore social, economic and cultural issues in our contemporary society, often with a degree of dark humour and irreverence. Thinking Head (2017–ongoing), originally commissioned for a solo exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, was developed into a three-part work in 2019 and presented in the Central Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. Collectively, the three distinct elements mirror the functioning of the human brain as if it were a machine, a generator of thoughts. First, a selection of objects that the artist has collected over the past twenty-five years were displayed in the Central Pavilion. Second, a series of ‘clandestine talks’ on single-word subjects inspired by these objects took place. Finally, a vapour emitted from the roof of the Pavilion partially obscured its façade. The latter is a nod to Alighiero Boetti’s final sculpture Autoritratto (Mi Fuma Il Cervello) (1993–94), an electrically-heated bronze self-portrait in which the head literally fumes to suggest an overactive mind. Favaretto has said she wanted to turn a museum into a ‘thinking machine’. Furthermore, this intervention functions as a form of institutional critique, obscuring the institution’s architecture and dissolving its cultural authority from our view.

Favaretto’s series of ‘clandestine talks’ are intended to deconstruct fifty ‘key words’ via a hidden discourse that takes place – according to the artist’s instructions – in a ‘bunker-like’ environment (an undisclosed, protected, and soundproof location within or close to the institution). These ‘key words’ are described by the artist as ‘vital and relevant to dissecting and redefining our present moment’. Each discussion involves three to seven participants, meeting behind closed doors and without a public audience for an undefined period of time during one day. The speakers are rigorously selected by the artist, connecting a variety of disciplines and areas of expertise to bring together different perspectives on the subjects. Each talk is broadcast as a live audio stream, as well as being transcribed and published on the website

For Post-Capital, Favaretto has selected three words, surplus, power and hacker. Each will form the subject for three new clandestine talks, which will take place at a secret location within the museum during the exhibition.

Lara Favaretto was born in 1973 in Treviso, Italy. She lives and works in Turin, Italy.

22.10.2021 | 16h00
Sven Biscop, Sarah Khabirpour & Geert Lovink

04.11.2021 | 16h00
Patrice Riemens, Stéphane Duguin & Caterina Riva

24.11.2021 | 14h00
Francelle Cane, Ludwig Engel, Hannes Grassegger, Marija Maric, Markus Miessen

Live audio stream on: +


Clandestine Talk – Power


Clandestine Talk – Hacker


Clandestine Talk – Surplus