INIST VANGUARD: BEYOND THE THRESHOLD OF THE YEAR 2000
By Antonio Gasbarrini
The transitory, ephemeral, yet belligerent, revolutionary and anti-bourgeois term 'avant-gard' was coined by the utopian Saint Simon and later adopted (only in part) by Baudelaire. The term was actually 'put to use' however by the Italian Futurists and found more recent reincarnation in Inism (from the acronym INI: Internazionale Novatrice Infinitesimale).
After the historical dates of major vanguard movements (1909 Futurism, 1916 Dadaism and 1924 Surrealism - whose influence was felt through the end of W.W.II, 1946) and the rise of neo-vanguard in the 50s-60s (Action painting, Minimal Art, Conceptual Art, Land Art, Body Art etc.), Inism brought the term to life again in the 80s. In the First Manifesto of the year 1980 the aesthetic use of the symbols of international phonetics and the indebtedness to historical vanguard movements, especially as regards the renewed relationship with science, was immediately highlighted: "L'avant-gard aussi est une genre, historiquement le plus important après ceux d'antiquité parce qu'elle a porté le mond vers nous: vers sa science toujours en évolution (en ce moment chimique, électronique: que l'on pense à l'audiovisuel par rapport à la poésie sonore)". The poetic and ideological nucleus of a new vision of the world and of life released by the discovery of a science 'toujours en evolution', concentrates in the Inist term 'infinitesimal' all the subatomic energy that can possibly rise from the force of creativity: "D'autre part il est inutile de limiter le domaine de l'art comme l'ont fait tous les théoriciens jusqu'aujourd'hui. La création n'a pas de fin, elle est infinitésimale. Le futuriste prechaient la vitesse, les paroles en liberté, l'imagination sans fils; les dadaistes l'abolition des règles; les surréalistes l'onirique et le langage automatique, nous autres de l'INI, l'INFINITESIMAL [...]".
While the clearly recognizable 'Inist sign', present in every work, forms the cell or DNA of innovated vanguard creativity (signs are the 'orchestration' of feelings and thoughts, the global vision that life presents us with, capturing the supreme order arising from chaos. They have been labelled 'Inie', Bertozzi), 'Infinitesimal' represents transgression, the sabotaging of any sort of 'embalming' of art, ideas or ideas on art; just as in science, laws of Nature are valid until proven to be false (Popper).
The Second Manifesto 1987, underlined this decisive aspect of contemporary vanguard research with a series of aphorisms establishing the new cannons founded by Inist poetics to recuperate the ritual, magical and sacred aspects of an 'Inia word-sign' destroyed by the media (@ the poet can use a pen, a a brush, a marteline, a computer, film indifferently... @ martelines and pens are destined to be replaced in everyday life by computers: In this way an Age d'or will arise because their use will reappear in a sort of 'sacred rite' and not out of 'common usage'/ @ words will no longer be conventional and thus will recuperate their magical, evocative and sacred power. First there were words; the poet will find them again. @ words will be inedited and bear new, inedited meanings. The overcoming of Inisim itself, thus of all vanguard to come is wisely forseen: new scientific discoveries eliminate previous laws of Nature considered never-changing and eternal.
The message for the generations dealing with future creativity is: @ understand our message before objecting; once it is understood you will no longer object because you will be intent on surpassing us, and this is what we aim at!
The awareness of temporal limits pertaining to any vanguard forms- including Inism- do not prevent the proclamation of a basic rule of 'pure Inist creativity' in order to eliminate any form of manneristic degeneration: "We will not be repetitive". Note the use of the @ symbol (the year is 1987!) which was to become of common use only in the era of Internet during the last decade.
Another strong point of Inism stood in its abolishment of operative sectors or fields (painting, sculpture, music, cinema, photography etc.) resulting in an interconnection and blending among various expressive genres. 'Videoinipoetry' is an example, and the Manifesto '90 explains the limits, on an aesthetic level, of virtuosity entrusted to passive co-operation between the artist and technology. 'Videoinipoetry' is "the music of images (with music). The pathos and rythm of Inia in movement./... 'Videoinipoetry' is not only multimedia but a type of philosophy./ Multimedial art is a sign of intellectual impotency./ Hooking up a computer to a videocam or CD could be considered a limit./ [...] From technology to science. If art was once synthesis and exposition, today, it is pure analysis and discovery ./[...] "
In Inism something different happens in comparing its Manifestos to those of historical vanguard movements: once an Inist work is created the content of the the manifesto is integrated and even surpassed. An example can be seen in Monologo Acceso the videoinipoem begun by Bertozzi in 1990 and completed in 1992. In the 10-minute video, poetry and music (only partly contemplated in the Manifesto), video and cinema are blended into a poetic form having a language of its own (that is, videopoetry).
The use of various technological instruments by the artist in order to enhance to the max the assonances between means and work was formulated in the First Manifesto of Inist Photography (1996). Here, aside from various theoretic explanations on Inist photography and variations of 'Photoinigraphy', the boundaries of 'photographicable reality' are expressed; that is, "the Inist pure moment; the infinitesimal; the mental image."
As regards other vanguard experiences in photography, from the photodymnamics of the futurist Anton Giulio Bragaglia to the chadography of Christian Chad 1918, the rayography of Man Ray's surrealism 1921, and the conceptual images of Laszlo Moholy Nagy the following year, no other vanguard movement had given the same amount of attention to photography - one of the main expressive forms of a society dominated by images and information. The predominantly commercial and flat side of this was however eliminated by aiming not only at the reproduction of an identical image but going beyond to capture the poetical-metaphysical characteristics: "The chaos was brought back to a supreme order. No limits were known. How small time was for such great minds! How small the world was for their stop!" (from the Manifesto of Inist Photography).
In viewing the non-photos displayed at the Kemi art Museum, the technological subordination of the camera, computer, microscopeor other instrument in comparison to the Inist idealization of the image in progress cand be understood as well as 'the poetic antagonism' between Inist photographs and the wide array of interchangeable images and videos constantly thrown in our direction by the media (Internet included). An excellent symbol of this is the Inist photograph - Buenos Aires- taken by Bertozzi in 1997. The technical procedure used is based on an analogical superimposing of numerous images on the photogram. The result is that we feel, more than see, the unforgettable face of 'another' reality in which the metaphor of colour, of art and of painting makes the architectonic heart of the city beat as never before.
In fact, in the Manifesto of 'Arkitettura Nuova (1996), it is stated that: "The home will become the city, the city will become the world, the world will necome a room, a room will become a dream [...] Young people want graffiti. When young people become young again and arise, the world will be full of graffiti. Graffiti has saved many from death through overdose."
The tubes of paint in Buenos Aires cannot but represent mass graffiti entrusted to Ini palingenesis. [....]
In the prestegious space of the Kemi art Museum Inism presents paintings, sculptures, object-books, photographs, videos and multimedia by some of the most famous artists of the movement: Gabriele-Aldo Bertozzi, Laura-Aga Rossi, Giovanni Agresti, Kiki Franceschi, Iniero Garesto, Eugenio Gianni, Giorgio Mattioli, Angelo Merante (Italy), François Proïa and Marinisa Bove (France), Juan Molero Prior and Jabier Herrero (Spain), Pietro Ferrua and Paul Lambert (U.S.A.), Lisiak-Land Dìaz and Neli Maria Vieria (Brasile).
For each artist at least one painting is on display (large canvas with no frame on average 200x150 cm.), as regards the others, works ranging from small sculptures (Franceschi), photographs (Bertozzi), object-books (Agresti), Videoinipoetry (Bertozzi), Inist clothing (Laura-Aga Rossi), 16mm film, (Proia), CD Theatre, (Mattioli Theatre Group/text and music by Bertozzi) to Inika Sonorika (Merante) are present.
Rather than commenting each work presented, we feel it more appropriate to highlight some of the main formal aspects of Inism. The Inia - graphic-phonemic sign par excellance, sprung from the international phonetic alphabet - has expanded through the years, incorporating inias from alphabets of no-longer-existing cultures and then interwinding with those of imaginary alphabets. Just like every subatomic particle of an atom contributes to the energy of the whole; every Inia fragment of a work can be considered the "ultimate particle" of creativity and expression. The Inias thus represent a mental and visual voyage to the depths of image writing. Inias are, on a semiotic and aesthetic level, infinite and never alike: fluent and arabesque in Laura Aga-Rossi, they are transformed into alchemic-exoteric sign-signals in the works of Aldo-Gabriele Bertozzi, and labyrinthical maplike pathways in those of Giovanni Agresti, reaching a sort of microscopic architecture in Angelo Merante. Graphic oscillation can go from the evident corporality of miniture letters in Jabier Herrero to the geometric plasticity in the works of Neli Maria Vieira, reaching pure digital vibration of images in Molero Prior. Various ideogrammatical accentuations are to be found in Lisial-Land Dìaz, Marinisa Bove, Iniero Garesto and Kiki Franceschi.
Genetically more "in tune" with the signical texture of painting are the "sonorous" Inias of Eugenio Giannì, the graffiti of Giorgio Mattioli and the gestual ones of Françoise Proia. Paul Lambert and Pietro Ferrua, on the other hand, prefer the collage (inia-icon), as a poetic transfiguration of mass-media communication.
The pecularities of Inist art, in all of its forms of expression can be perceived and "taken in" at the Kemi Art Museum through Inist photography and Inigraphy of Gabriele-Aldo Bertozzi, Angelo Merante and François Proïa.
Here one of the most important aesthetic disciplines of modern and contemporary art, notwithstanding the attacks in the mid 1800s by Baudelaire, is revolutionized by Inist artists in a "simple" manner as regards procedure but in a totally original way as regards iconographic invention. The latter is projectual in Inist photography: since there is no manipulation of the film, it is necessary to anticipate "the final image imagined" through an overlapping of a number of "clicks" on the same photogram (Bertozzi) or of a single "click" preceeded by a "mise-en-scène" obtained through a rebounding of images with a play of mirrors (Merante). In Inigraphy, on the other hand, a final digital (Proïa) or manual intervention is present. A highly poetic and aesthetic identity is linked to the diverse techniques employed: not only in the sense of critical or historical arrangement but in that of exquisite fruition. Inist artists, notwithstanding prolific vanguard excursions, have always aimed at finding a just, even if at times precarious, balance between signifier and signified, form and content, means and end to re-establish a new connection between the work and the viewer. This is not based so much on the "sacral auratic distance" proclaimed by Walter Benjamin but on a sort of "epiphanius" closeness established through silence and pauses (Gadamer) of the viewer who wishes to observe in order to understand, and a work that lets itself be seen in order to be understood - and not only "seen" but touched (Inist clothing), read, seen and heard (Inist novels and theatre, videoinipoetry, films).
History of Inism
The First Inist Manifesto (1980)
The Second Inist Manifesto (1987)
The Inist Sign (1990)
The Inist Photography Manifesto (1996)
Arkitettura Nuova (1996)
Primer Manifesto Ini Argentino (1986)
Inism Bibliography 1980-1997