Elena Redaelli｜感染 Influence
My installation tells a microscopic story that links together the history of the park, its fauna and human life, through science.
My collaborative and scientific based project aims to raise environmental awareness by taking a closer look at the invisible particles that influences the lives of people and animals. The woven vines installation represents a close up of the surface of an avian influenza type A virus, which occurs naturally among wild aquatic birds. The art festival started as a response to its outbreak in 2005. The beautiful wetlands, that are home to many birds species, have always been a safe place. In my installation, a cluster of woven sculpture arises from the ground for people to explore and discover. Observing these shapes from a closer perspective will lead people to know more about the story behind the festival.
The rich nature of the park allowed me to experiment and use local plants. Two different kinds of vines are interwoven to generate a virus.
Let's meet Elena Redaelli from Italy, the artist of 2016 Guandu International Nature Art Festival!
Q: Why do you want to join this art project?
A: The main reason is that I've heard that the Guandu art project is an important environmental art festival running for many years, and I like the idea of wetlands in a big city like Taipei. I find it necessary to have a green area for people to enjoy. Guandu Nature Park is such a place. The other reason is because I participated in "Chenglong Wetlands International Environmental Art Project" in Taiwan this April. I had very good experience in being in touch with the community and I had chance to know the way they live. It is indeed deep involvement, and I really liked it. That's why I want to come back to Taiwan.
Q: Since this is your second time being in Taiwan, do you find anything different in particular from last time?
A: Last time I went to the festival of Matsu. I was amazed by seeing so many people joining the celebration and believing in the culture. I also loved the emotions and colors in the ceremonies. This time I stay in the city, which is very different from last time. Unlike in the rural villages, it is rather hard to build relations and to work with the community here, which is an important base of my work. But I feel Taiwanese young people are keen to involve in the society in a positive way. They believe in something good, and they are very open in mind. I joined some art parade some days ago in Taiwan. It seems that people were really interested in politics.
Q: Your work is mostly about weaving. What materials do you use? Is involving people in your creation process an important part of your work?
A: I use whatever can be woven. I usually work on community-based projects, and I always think that art is a good way to reach the public and to convey messages. It should be involved in the society to say something. I used to be an art therapist at some institutions, and I've encountered people with mental illness, drugs, and disabilities. I also worked with some people living with HIV for three years. We did art lessons together to make those people believe in themselves. Even though their physical conditions changed, they could still do something new. For me, art is not about making art works. It is a medium for me to get close to people, to understand them, and even to help them. I like working with different people because it is fun. The work is not owned by myself. It is something we all share. It's interesting that different people working on the same piece, so you can see the changes and varieties of the work. We are all different—that's the beauty of the society.
Q: This art project has required a field research process prior to the creation. Does it help in developing your ideas for the work this time?
A: My focus has changed from bacteria to avian flu after knowing the history of the Guandu Nature Park and talking to the scientists from the Park. One reason is because the shape of the avian flu virus is special; the other is that this issue seems more practical for the Park. It would be meaningful to discuss about something invisible but in fact having an effect on people. It is interesting to show up the surface of the virus which we can't see with naked eyes. This art project required us to integrate true outcomes and statistics into our concepts. I liked the idea and I also wanted to work with the place by having more chances to investigate some issues with some researchers. This is important because this is the part that makes this art project special, much more meaningful than just building an outdoor sculpture park.
I'm an Italian environmental artist currently living in Norway. My site-specific sculpture and installation is created through a deep relationship with place and society. Since 2009, my practice has developed thanks to an interaction with individuals and communities. I'm a textile artist that loves to learn and share techniques and ideas. I value and utilize ancient practices, adapting them to our modern society in a critical way. I care about environmental sustainability, promoting the use of recycled and local materials, and I feed my practice with multicultural influences. My art explores the impact of human activity on the natural environment. My gesture is translated into matter, growing in volumes and modeling itself on nature. From nature, it extrapolates tension and softness. The resulting surface mirrors and suggests an instinctive knowledge of the world.