photo credit © Alessandro Sala / Cesuralab
What does the element of light mean to you?
It’s an instrument, an item that designs and reveals a part of reality. It’s a language
What do you associate with the term ‘illumination’?
Mainly with people. And with scraps of thought, whether personal or shared, that have the power to change the fate of things.
With figures such as Alexander Langer or Bell Hooks, with those entrepreneurs who daily beat a new path, with those who, within cultural (fictional) institutions, preserve the complexity of art and culture without giving in to the accusation—baseless and resulting from false narratives—of elitism. With the artists who, through their practices and research, investigate what politics forgets or leaves on the margins due to bad timing or unpopular themes, and also with the spaces that are constantly open to critical reflection that become a place that foster thought.
Tell us in what measure and form light has an influence in your life, ideas and emotions.
Light is a fundamental element of a recurring dream that I have. The scenarios change but the atmosphere is always the same. I find myself in a dimly lit place, and I feel as though a powerful and very dark force is about to arrive. I feel the ground shake—regardless of whether it is a house, a cave or a church—and in that place I become a very strong, blinding light that terrifies and arrests the black wave in arrival. The feeling I have when I light up is frightening, in the sense that I am afraid of the light that I become and of the power that I hold at that moment.
How much does light or the metaphor of illumination influence your work as a CREATIVE DIRECTOR?
I would say in a powerful way, many aspects of my work are generated for and within Centrale Fies, a research centre for contemporary performance practices, located inside an early 20th century hydroelectric power station. In short, I work in a power station that produces energy and light, both real and metaphorical.
Could you, in your way, using your own language, represent to us the concept of illumination?
My language is made of images, which makes me think of Gregory Crewdson’s photography, where every scene shows the dichotomy between light and dark, and where light becomes language. In each photo it is light that says something, that becomes the entity that speaks, that communicates by revealing clues that carry forward the narrative halted in the shot, and that allows us to imagine the infinite layers of something that is about to begin.
What bond do you establish with the artists with whom you work?
A bond of trust. I never cast doubt on their personal approach to research, even when the result is neither evident nor impending.
We need to be ‘illuminated’ creatively and socially. Where do you think this metaphor finds its expression?
This need can be pacified by finding appeasement in small, spot-lit, decontextualised packages that respond quickly and seemingly effectively to the questions we ask. But daily, art and research demonstrate to me that illuminating and being illuminated is something that can only happen through a slow, careful, layered process, where that which remains in the shadows is just as important as that which is bathed in light.
Plans for the Future?
To create it for myself.
©Roberta Segata + Alessandro Sala
©CESURALAB courtesy Archivio Centrale Fies