Interview by Arianna Forte

Spring Attitude 2016, the International Festival of Electro Music and Contemporary Culture animated Rome for the seventh year. In this last edition the festival focus won’t be only about the most exclusive club music but also the whole digital universe. A big selection of international visual artists and digital performers will crowd the section Arts&New Media, directed by Caterina Tomeo, academic of Digital and Electronic Arts at RUFA – Rome University of Fine Arts.

Although she was very busy with the last arrangements, Caterina Tomeo has kindly allowed us to interview her just before the opening:

First of all, how is born your collaboration with Spring Attitude? It looks like there’s a strong bond between the festival and the RUFA academy

My collaboration with the festival is born by chance some years ago, we met and soon shared a thought, a project: to bring to Rome the best of the advanced experimental research. RUFA involvement instead is something new this year and it concerns only the section Education. Thanks to this important partnership we’ve been able to organize three workshops, two of them for students and authorized personnel, which will be held at RUFA, and one for children and families which will be at the Museo Explora of Rome.

Already in the previous edition Spring Attitude configured the idea to integrate the music schedule with the works of electronic artists; this year the section Art&New Media is so consistent to have almost the same importance and attractiveness of the musical performances. In a festival like Spring Attitude, how is born the necessity to open to the artistic research and why?

Last year we opened the festival to the contemporary artistic research and the last generation tendencies with the project Spring +On, in which international artists like Robert Henke and Edwin van der Heide took part together with emerging young artists like Quiet Ensamble. This year Spring Attitude has been able to shape a structure, articulating in several sections dedicated not only to the music, but also to art and education. The festival focuses always more on multidisciplinary, so on interference and fusion between the different artistic contemporary languages.

Who are the artists that will perform in this edition? How did you make your choice?

The artists are very different among them, but all of them have in common the obsession for the research. This year, in the section Arts&New Media, as Art Director I keep exploring the contemporary art with particular interest for researches in New Media Art and Sound Art field. I’ve concentrated on artists‘ works that deal with the relationship between art, design, architecture, technology and sound, enlightening the most recent productions which are born from a hybrid and multilingual context . Among the artists present at the opening of the MAXXI, John Duncan, Otolab, Dvaic Nod, Giorgio Gigli feat. Lord Z, NONE, ALTERA; at the ex-caserma, the Otolab, Giannico with the RUFA students, Alex Cremonesi and Metapherein.

A very awaited event is surely Altera LVSS, the projection of architectural mapping by Gianluca Del Gobbo, Martin Mayer and Fabio Sestili. In these years we saw a lot of projections on monuments/symbol of the eternal city – The Coliseum, Fori Imperiali, Teatro Marcello, Saint Peter Basilica, Trevi Fountain, etc. – but a project for the MAXXI has never been presented. What’s the relationship between this art that digitally allows to “augment” and redraw the space and the MAXXI Museum as emblematic place for culture in Rome?

Surely the site specific performance of video mapping is among the festival most awaited moments; for the first time Altera will virtually transform the architecture of the most important contemporary Art Museum of Rome. It will be a homage to the museum, and to our audience, through a changing work where the audio and video coordinates will be constantly generated. The project has been financed by our partner Catenate group, which decided to support Spring Attitude for the contents quality and for the capacity to make technologies dialog with creative projects that challenge always more the expressive possibilities of these new media.

Altera LVSS
Altera LVSS

As you said before, another novelty of this edition is the Educational section: three very interesting workshops led by the artists themselves, one by the celebrity John Duncan, one by the pioneers of the Italian scenes Otolab and one, dedicated to the little ones, by Francesco Giannico. This will be a big opportunity for the participants and introduces a decisive element in the festival: the cooperation and the shared creativity. How is it important for you that art and technology are meant through this kind of vision?

I do believe in sharing and in the importance to transfer the knowledge of digital and electronic arts without losing sight of the generation differences. I’ve been teaching for many years, so it’s been natural to bring this vision in the festival. We’ve been able to organize three workshops about the relationship between sound and visual arts and the audience responded enthusiastically. We received hundreds of subscriptions. Besides we’re the first festival in Italy that conceived a workshop about the sound just for children between 6 and 10 years of age. I‘m satisfied.

In Italy, next to the events consolidated in the subject, since a couple of years have been taking place exhibitions and initiatives of digital arts and media art. Which is the state of art in this scenery?

I would say in Italy there are too many initiatives that propose an entertainment art where one is subjected to the technology fascination, but luckily at the same time there are projects which are about the more extreme and radical research. There are many talented young people in this Country, I’d say it’s fundamental to support them! Unfortunately the best ones are leaving!

As far as I’m concerned the extension of Art&New Media and Educational sections is part of an improvement and completion phase of Spring Attitude. What’s the future of these sections?

These new sections have surely turned Spring Attitude into the most important and awaited event in Rome, with a big turnout of foreign visitors. Not only a music festival, but also an unmissable appointment of digital and electronic arts which have given to the festival a wider scope and a bigger cultural resonance. I think all the sections need the local administrations financial and economic contribution to grow, they just provided the locations till today. I’ve been bending over backwards this year to realize the cultural project, I hope to be able to work more freely next year.

Cover image: NONE, Deep Dream, Spring Attitude 2016

Punto Zero, Terraforma
Punto Zero, Terraforma
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