Performance and installation.
Milano, IDA Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Stecca degli Artigiani, November 2003
NO! Is a sight specific project that consists of a performance and a permanent installation in the non-profit association IDA that for many years promoted cultural events in the Stecca degli Artgiani in Milan.
The activity of IDA, together with other associations, joined the city civil protest against the demolishment of the historical building Stecca degli Artgiani and the park that surrounded it, planned by the Milan’s Council in accordance to its gentrification program that planned a massive destruction/reconstruction of the area.
Artists were invited to design a permanent intervention that, besides making the public aware of the problem, would add value to the building, making it thus more difficult to be destroyed.
Mocellin e Pellegrini’s contribution, inspired by the tactics of civil disobedience used by British activists in their fight against the construction of roads during the 80’s and 90’s, consisted in the construction of a wall inside the building and a performance that took place around and inside this architectonic element. With its clean minimal look that contrasted with the dereliction of the space that contained it, the wall symbolized the artist’s intention to take care of the ruined building. There was a hole in the wall that enabled two people (in this case the two artists dressed as groom and bride), standing in the two rooms divided by this wall, to hold their hands and to handcuff each other through the wall, in order to oppose, with their tied bodies, the destruction of the building.
This project, while keeping into consideration the artist’s reflections on interpersonal relationships, the correlation between identity and space and the theme of the double, creates a poetic image that adds a sensual and emotional dimension to the militant act. While in each room a ghetto blaster played, at alternate times, My Way sung by Sid Vicious, the red wall that divided the married couple created an apparent separation, contrasted by the warmth of the act of holding tight inside the wall.
After the performance the handcuffs were left attached to the wall in order to enable anyone who wished, to oppose the destruction of the building at any time.