Art. 11

A new independent laboratory for digital art is born and launches its first project: Land of Nod by Paolo Bufalini curated by Treti Galaxie

OmniArtVerse is an independent laboratory for digital art born in the summer of 2022. It explores the relationship between art and technology, inviting emerging artists to experiment with new digital media, accompanying them in the process of research, production and distribution of digital artworks, registered on the blockchain via non-fungible-tokens (NFT) and available on Nifty Gateway on the OmniArtVerse page.

Art and technology have mutually influenced each other throughout the entire evolutionary process of the human species. Technology has had a significant impact on the way art is created, presented and experienced, and art has often been at the forefront of exploring and interpreting the social and cultural implications of new media. OmniArtVerse believes that technology can represent a tool for asking questions - rather than providing answers - and challenge the dominant narratives and systems shaping its development and use. The intention is to build a community of people interested in better understanding digital art and its potential, not only from an economic point of view but above all as a creative tool capable of opening up new perspectives.

For its debut, OmniArtVerse invited Paolo Bufalini to design a hybrid project between digital art production and the physical space, which the artist dedicated to the complex interactions that exist between intimacy, technology, privacy, trust, control, perfectibility and profitability of the body. Thus was born Land of Nod, curated by Treti Galaxie (Matteo Mottin and Ramona Ponzini), which takes up the English idiomatic expression to be in the land of Nod, synonymous with asleep. If in the book of Genesis, the Land of Nod identifies a place populated by monstrous visions where Cain is exiled after his brother's murder, from the eighteenth century onwards it loses this gloomy meaning to coincide with "the world of dreams".

The starting point of Land of Nod is the recording of biometric data (respiratory rate, heart rate, body movements) of Bufalini's partner, Federica, during an entire night sleep. The registration, carried out via a wearable monitoring device, provides a sort of portrait in the form of data, then registered as an NFT on the Blockchain and commercialized starting from February 2, 2023 via the Nifty Gateway platform. The artist documented this process through a photograph taken with the optical bench, in collaboration with the photographer Marcello Galvani. The apparent incorporeality of the digital realm is therefore counterbalanced by the materiality of analog photography. The result is a contact-printed version – The Sleeper – and a life-size digital print – The Sleeper (life-size) – created starting from the scan of the negative.

With Land of Nod, Paolo Bufalini does not give up on the sculptural practice which characterizes him. As Treti Galaxie points out: “In Bufalini's sculptures there is always a juxtaposition between apparently extraneous elements or situations. Their relationship is not explicit on the physical level but develops intuitively and unconsciously in the gaze of the observer. Land of Nod is a work in which presence and absence coexist. In general, a sculpture is characterized by a physical presence in the three spatial dimensions. The data on breathing and blood circulation collected for the work all refer to volumes. We can't see them, but by interpolating the data collected by the biometric sensor, a computer could easily reconstruct and display them. It is in all intents and purposes a sculpture, but it is not perceivable as such by the sense organs with which human beings are endowed".

By bringing into play a personal perspective - the sentimental relationship with his partner - Bufalini duplicates the relationship of intimacy that exists between technological devices and users, in which trust and fear of control are constantly renegotiated. In this sense, the breath recording symbolically corresponds to the famous topos of soul theft, and its reification through NFT authentication is only the corollary of this process. In the essay 24/7 – Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, the American scholar Jonathan Crary describes sleep as the only temporal portion still impermeable to the dynamics of performativity and economic advantage. By exploiting even what seemed like a sort of free zone, the new degrees of pervasiveness achieved by technological devices are highlighted. Finally, the artist is interested in the fetishization of data, in the idea that the recording survives the person over time, becoming the simulacrum of a night, of the movements and data of a body at the moment of its maximum vulnerability.

The project is accompanied by a text “From the Dream Experiments Collection” by Treti Galaxie, published on OmniArtVerse website: a science-fiction tale, set against the background of a conflict between humanity and a widespread digital entity, in which Land of Nod seems to play a key role.

Land of Nod, commissioned by OmniArtVerse and produced with the support of Foundation for Art and Blockchain with the graphic design of Studio Visivo (Marco Casella, Mattia Pajè), is launched in conjunction with beloved, a solo exhibition by Paolo Bufalini curated by the curatorial/editorial duo Condylura, where the photographic work The Sleeper (life-size) will be exhibited for the first time at Gelateria Sogni di Ghiaccio (February 2-12, 2023), as part of the eleventh edition of ART CITY Bologna, the institutional program of exhibitions, events and special initiatives promoted by the Municipality of Bologna in collaboration with BolognaFiere, in conjunction with Arte Fiera.

Paolo Bufalini (Rome, 1994) lives in Bologna, where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. Between 2016 and 2019 he co-founded and managed the non-profit space TRIPLA. Recent exhibitions include: MON viewing room (solo), Turin (2022); Casting the Castle III - They repeat themselves constantly, but do not create a sense of habit, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Umbertide (2022); A paradise for smiling alligators, Mura Urbiche, Lecce (2022); Forget me not, Fabbri-Schenker Projects, London (2022); eve (solo), MASSIMO, Milan (2021); Futuro. Arte e Società dagli anni Sessanta a domani, Gallerie d'Italia, Vicenza (2020); Martedì (solo), Localedue, Bologna (2020); Estate Autunno, State Of, Milano (2019); Snoozin' Gutssss, Neverneverland, Amsterdam (2019); Low (solo), Adiacenze, Bologna (2018); Bello, Dimora Artica, Milan (2018); Playing Scenic, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna (2017); Tirarsi Fuori, P420, Bologna (2017). In 2021 he was selected for the Nuovo Forno del Pane artist residency at the MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna. Recent awards include: Mint Fund Grant - Foundation for art and blockchain (2022); Carapelli for Art (2022); Premio Combat (2020); Premio Acquisto Opere d’arte della regione Emilia-Romagna (2020).

Treti Galaxie is an art project founded by Matteo Mottin and Ramona Ponzini. Its goal is to work with artists in a broad-based manner, respecting their ideas and projects, and helping them to produce and develop exhibitions in all-round terms. For this reason it chooses not to have a fixed venue but to seek out a space each time which is best suited to the project it’s working on. In 2020, it curates the project Endless Nostalghia, dedicated to the work of movie director Andrei Tarkovsky, among the winners of the Toscanaincontemporanea2020 grant. In 2021, it’s co-curator of Supercondominio3 for Castello di Rivoli - Museo di Arte Contemporanea, and curator of Torino Social Impact Art Award, promoted by Artissima fair. In 2022, it opens the exhibition season at NAM in Manifattura Tabacchi, Florence, with the solo exhibition " The Vernal Age of Miry Mirrors" by Michele Gabriele, and it curates the VI edition of the Club GAMeC Prize. It collaborates with Artissima as curator of the third edition of the TSI Art Award and the Artissima Voice Over platform. For the Eataly Art House Foundation it coordinates the E.ART.H. Prize. 

February 8 2023