Almanac of Contemporary Aesthetics
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1999 is a multidisciplinary project presented by Slam Jam, curated by KALEIDOSCOPE, at Spazio Maiocchi bringing together a new video commission by French filmmaker Baptiste Penetticobra, a performance by Amsterdam-based artist and choreographer Michele Rizzo, and an animated billboard by Milan-based digital artist Giulio Scalisi.

1999 is a multidisciplinary project presented by Slam Jam, which explores the myth of the New Millennium specifically in relation to Milan’s youth culture. Marking the 20th anniversary of the infamous Y2K celebrations and related Millennium Bug hysteria, the project seeks to represent this landmark moment at the turn of the century and its mix ofeuphoria and early digital dystopia.

The visitor accesses the space through an “archaeological” selection of archival objects displayed on the modular steel grid structure of Artifact c/o Spazio Maiocchi. Recreating the signature style and aesthetic obsessions of the Milanese subcultures of the time, the display is a generational time capsule combining statement outfits from key clothing brands like Stüssy and The North Face, with tech and design icons like Nokia phones and Honda scooters.

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In the gallery facing the courtyard, Baptiste Penetticobra (French, b. 1991) presents Untitled (bug), a new five-channel video installation specifically produced on the occasion of the exhibition. Set against the backdrop of a gloomy Milan, rarified through the creation of a minimal theater set, the coming-of-age narrative subtly feeds into the genres of street opera and indie horror. A collective portrait of a crew of urban teenagers reminiscing the paranoia-tinged events of 2000 New Year’s Eve, the videos adopt Penetticobra’s signature language of spoken-word and prosaic monologues to deliver an evocative image of an alienated, dysphoric youth.

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HIGHER xtn., the most ambitious performative commission to date by Michele Rizzo (Italian, b. 1984), explores the club as a space for self-expression and communion. Previously presented at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in January 2019 and featuring an original soundtrack by Lorenzo Senni, the work furthers Rizzo’s investigation on transcendent and synesthetic approaches to movement, drawing a trajectory between the late 1990s Italy and millennial Europe through electronic dance music and club culture.

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In the courtyard of Spazio Maiocchi, a special billboard commission by Milan-based artist Giulio Scalisi (Italian, b. 1992) will expand digitally through a QR code, revealing Angelo Azzurro, a 3d-rendered video work inspired by late-90s videogame aesthetics. The original score by Milanese musicians 72-HOUR POST FIGHT pays homage to the seminal 1999 hip-hop anthem “Street Opera” by cult-status producer Fritz Da Cat.

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A large-format publication accompanying the exhibition features key visuals and a conversation between the three artists.

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