When we thought the meeting at Castello di Nipozzano couldn’t get any better, brothers Marco and Saverio Lanza blew up our minds with their work.
Under the name of Pastis the brothers started working together three years ago in Florence when they realized that each one in his own discipline -photography and music- had been approaching the same topics from a very similar perspective. They named the collective after the famous French drink but also took the name from the concept of “pastiche”, a collage of a variety of things of different nature assembled together to produce something new.
As a photographer Marco observes reality as it is, abstracting situations from their context by means of a white background placed in the most random places: a plaza, a street, the woods. He waits and observes, and is ready to shoot whenever something happens in his white frame; he doesn’t edit the pictures or intervene with reality. Saverio, the youngest brother, is a musician whose compositions focus on creating music by abstracting sounds from normal life and setting them together to create new rhythms and songs from things that weren’t created for that purpose. In the piece Madrelingua a recollection of voices of immigrants recorded in public spaces is used as base and background for the music he plays on top.
In their work together they are moved by the same motivation: witness, observe, cut, paste together and compose something new that comes almost entirely from abstraction of reality.
In their very entertaining talk they presented some of the latest works they’ve been doing using mainly two techniques: framing and video.
They use the frames to hack newspapers, covering almost all the double spread with white cardboard leaving a window in it that reveals unexpected and unthought of results. Word games and involuntary visual information is then exposed as a picture framed in a passe-partout usually obtaining comical results and rich images.
Humor is without a doubt the motto for the two, they have a good time together and are mainly playing while exploring video, framing and other techniques for their artwork.
The video show started with “The parade” a video recorded in Quito, Ecuador, using a combination of images taken with a candid camera hidden in Marco’s shoulder and pictures of the people walking by a white background that he had installed in a plaza.
Using the images of the vendors of the street and their very particular selling chants Marco and Severio composed a comical audiovisual piece that nonetheless never sacrificed the seriousness of documenting real life situations.
I might be over-analyzing things but some of the videos, while humorous and enjoyable, raised at the same time a certain level of uneasiness. It’s the case of TV News, a zapping exercise of TV news channels, which is accompanied by an optimistic sound track.
While it is very entertaining to listen the rhythm that the repetition of out of context fragments of interventions of public figures like Condoleezza Rice and George Bush on TV interspersing with the chorus –a segment of a talk show in which a man says “Oh my God!”–, the more the video advances the more unsettling the feeling produced by the series of bits of unfortunate news of all sorts and the “Oh my God” chorus.
The final punch of uneasiness was reached with the closing line “Oh my god, you look like a porn star” directed to the viewer, converting us immediately in grotesque characters that are watching terrible serious situations while acting in a completely inappropriate way. The video wasn’t serious at delivering any political statement and I’m sure it wasn’t even trying to raise any deep thoughts on politics whatsoever, but it is certainly moving in many ways.
After this video we got to see many others. “La finale” was one of the preferred ones by the vast majority. In this video Marco and Saverio record their parents while watching the Final match of a soccer cup, Marco and Saverio were kind enough to let us reproduce it exclusively for you here. So here it is. Enjoy.