Mar­co Fusinato
THERE IS NO AUTHORITY

11th February – 17th March 2012
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks

The seeds of Mar­co Fusinato’s THERE IS NO AUTHOR­I­TY’ were sown more than forty years ago at Dial House, in England’s south-west coun­try­side. Estab­lished as an open house’, it attract­ed artists and alter­na­tive thinkers and pro­duced diverse projects — the most well-known of those being the punk band Crass that was active between 1977 and 1984. Overt­ly polit­i­cal in their word and action, their pri­ma­ry state­ment was that there is no author­i­ty but your­self: your life is your very own responsibility.

The exhi­bi­tion THERE IS NO AUTHOR­I­TY’ re-presents this mes­sage of self-deter­mi­na­tion through a scaled-up repro­duc­tion of one of the paint­ed ban­ners Crass would hang behind the stage for their live per­for­mances. Orig­i­nal­ly hand-ren­dered with black paint on white cloth, mea­sur­ing rough­ly 1.5 meters high by 1.8 meters wide, Fusinato’s re-pro­duc­tion is 9 meters by 12 meters, and fab­ri­cat­ed in high-qual­i­ty wool by some of the world’s finest rug mak­ers. The rug reach­es wall-to-wall across one-third of the gallery space. The woven slo­gan of the rug faces the back wall of the gallery: not only are view­ers forced to step onto the work upon enter­ing the gallery, they must also re-ori­ent them­selves spa­cial­ly, cross­ing the floor and turn­ing back to be able to view the whole plane, to dis­cern what the rug spells out. No longer behind the stage, THERE IS NO AUTHOR­I­TY’ becomes the stage itself.

But the rug alone is not the entire work, even after its acti­va­tion by all those who walk upon it. A mon­i­tor, also fac­ing the back wall of the gallery, is mount­ed to the wall. It is con­nect­ed to a cam­era, mount­ed in the rafters ten metres above the floor on which the rug is layed. The cam­era is always on, con­stant­ly doc­u­ment­ing the action played out across the rug. The cam­era sends these pho­tos to the mon­i­tor, with a short delay between cap­ture and dis­play: so tra­vers­ing the rug and approach­ing the mon­i­tor, the view­er sees their own image.

Unau­tho­rised images of our­selves are dif­fi­cult to look at: they cap­ture too-can­did moments; they might prove us to be vul­ner­a­ble. In THERE IS NO AUTHOR­I­TY’, the pho­tographs, how­ev­er grainy or uniden­ti­fi­able the sub­jects appear, do not explain their pur­pose. They might be the images of muse­um secu­ri­ty, or of more gen­er­al pub­lic mon­i­tor­ing for safe­ty or indeed more sin­is­ter uses. Per­haps even more uncom­fort­ably, unlike those kinds of sur­veil­lance which are nev­er seen by their sub­jects, Fusinato’s pho­tographs are a pub­lic record of each viewer’s engage­ment with the writ­ten state­ment, and with the fact of their own responsibility.

As in pre­vi­ous works (includ­ing the series Dou­ble Infini­tives, 2009, and Noise & Cap­i­tal­ism, 2011), THERE IS NO AUTHOR­I­TY’ draws on an exist­ing piece of aes­thet­i­cal­ly- and polit­i­cal­ly-charged com­mu­ni­ca­tion. But this is not a sim­ple cut-and-paste oper­a­tion. Mass-pro­duced images from pop­u­lar media or activist cul­ture are de- and re-con­tex­tu­alised in the gallery, dis­al­low­ing the intend­ed mean­ing and orig­i­nal inter­pre­ta­tion of the source mate­r­i­al. In each re-pre­sen­ta­tion, Fusina­to com­pli­cates the orig­i­nal mate­r­i­al so that no defin­i­tive mes­sage can be read — labour-inten­sive, cus­tom-spec­i­fied com­mer­i­cal pro­duc­tion tak­ing the place of the orig­i­nal medi­um: mass-print­ed news­pa­pers, domes­ticly-pro­duced pam­plets and hand-made ban­ners. At once shar­ing infor­ma­tion with the view­er and sub­vert­ing its mean­ing, Fusinato’s own hand is vis­i­ble, if not legible.

For Crass, mak­ing music was not an end but a means; being a band was one plat­form among oth­ers for con­vey­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of alter­na­tives to the norm. Of their now-leg­endary slo­gans, spray-sten­cilled onto bill­boards and Lon­don under­ground tun­nels (such as FIGHT WAR NOT WARS’), THERE IS NO AUTHOR­I­TY BUT YOUR­SELF’ is the most imme­di­ate and achiev­able on an indi­vid­ual or per­son­al basis. Fusinato’s use of a mes­sage of self- deter­mi­na­tion, trans­posed into a high-end design­er object and exhib­it­ed in a gallery retains some­thing of their guer­ril­la tac­tics. It also indi­cates com­pla­cen­cy in the cur­rent social and polit­i­cal strug­gle, and our inabil­i­ty to deci­pher, or decide, exact­ly who has pow­er over our indi­vid­ual selves.

Ash Kil­martin

Images

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Mar­co Fusinato

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY, 2012
100% New Zealand wool rug, mon­i­tor, camera
9.2512.04 metres
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks