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Lorenzo Respi
Lorenzo Respi da Carpi (Virtual exhibition catalog)

We are dealing with a new time and space. What are you discovering or rediscovering about yourself?
It's paradoxical, and almost absurd, but since I was forced to work in a rather new way for the art system - the now famous one a different value of time – I experienced how important the 'physical' concept of Chronotope is in 'real' life, Spacetime theorized by Special Relativity, according to which the system within which physical phenomena manifest themselves is composed of the three dimensions of space and time. Length, width and depth are the 'real' dimensions of the office or home; the weather, instead, it's staying at the desk, on the computer or telephone; the 'physical' phenomenon, finally, it is the work actually carried out and the reference system is its good functioning in relation to other collaborators. At first glance it seems like an ideal way of working, fast and replicable, but reality, in my opinion, it is very different: if on the one hand the distances have been canceled out, reducing aggregation and comparison times, on the other the times to organize the call it approaches the contextual analytic-reductive experiences meeting, their excessive duration for the number of participants and the inevitable misunderstandings caused by fragmented communication and remote sharing have not, de facto, neither improved the quality of work nor favored the development of a virtuous alternative model. Unfortunately, despite the support of new technologies, I believe that working conditions have become complicated for professionals in our sector. The art system, in fact, it is essentially based on human and personal relationships which are penalized by social distancing. In short, It seems clear to me that remote working is also a lot Cities will also have to change with cycle paths it is not: digital technology, even if immaterial, shows its limits of time and space and therefore does not escape the theory of restricted Relativity valid for traditional work, because in the end everything comes back to relationships between people.

Museums and galleries have reacted to the moment with digitalization and virtuality. What are your "strategies" for establishing new relationships?
Without going into the merits of the complex debate on the digitalisation of museums and the virtual restitution of tangible and intangible heritage - according to the definition of the UNESCO Convention ratified by Italy in 2007 – exploiting the potential of the web 2.0, of the social network and digital sharing platforms, my opinion on the use of these communication tools is precautionary, and quite critical. I am not against their use, as they are accessory tools that have become necessary, but I am critical of how they are used. I am referring to strategies and social campaigns that often fail both in terms of the quality of the content and the scheduling of the posts. The emergency use of digital for art, the frantic rush to 'set up' virtual museum spaces - which are also inadequate to support the comparison with the 'originals' temporarily inaccessible to the public -, the continuous bombardment of news, the update live or it stay tuned justified "by being there for the sake of being there without being there" are actions that already in the medium term prove unsuccessful and in some cases even counterproductive. The superfluousness of news and the overexposure of images can lead to disinterest and disaffection among users. For me the real risk is creating a pseudo-addiction to cultural entertainment which generates widespread miseducation for culture, the 'real' one of course (returning to the 'physical' concept of Cronotopo). In a moment of social and economic crisis that is so profound and lasting for the immediate future, Personally, I avoid wasting energy on projects that are too superficial, I evaluate the professional relationships to be maintained more carefully and try to keep the quality of my work high. I also found the pleasure of a more relaxed phone call with distant colleagues and friends, looking forward to seeing them again. I hope soon.

We are realizing that we can live with less mobility?
No. Maybe we're just accepting (momentarily) that we can live with less mobility because we know that moving today represents a potential danger to our health. But what will happen when we overcome the health emergency and the fears pass? I'm (quasi) sure that the resumption of normal life will also be accompanied by a return to mobility, over short and long distances. We already have some signs, and we are still in full emergency; a different value of time, for example, to the constant questions about “can I go out for a run? with the dog? and with children? how many? for what reasons? how far from home? with a mask and gloves?” and so on. Giving up mobility means reducing cultural exchanges and contracting the spaces for discussion between people, limit the circulation of ideas and the development of social and professional relationships. All essential and necessary factors, in my opinion, for those who deal with creating culture in a broad sense.

When all this is over: one thing to do and one never to do again.
The question is easy. The answer is difficult. The thing to do as soon as possible: overcome the psychological block caused by the epidemic and overcome distrust towards others, to avoid worse and lasting conditioning in everyday life. Cancel cultural distances as soon as possible by breaking down the wall of fear of relating normally to others. The thing to never do again: take it for granted that what strikes us is far from us, can never reach us. Pretend not to see the problem, “because it affects others so much”, generates monsters. Incivility.

To date, what have been the immediate consequences of the spread of Covid-19 on your work for you and what do you think the long-term consequences may be?
Undoubtedly the spread of Covid-19 marked a significant setback both to the work in progress and to the projects that were about to be born. The uncertainty about the timing of the medical, health and economic recovery of the so-called Phase 2 is causing a general stalemate in which there are still those, stubbornly, he doesn't want to realize that he doesn't have (and he will have) it makes more sense to plan and organize work as happened until a few months ago. And here I come to the point about the long-term consequences of the epidemic. The challenge will not be to best predict or anticipate future times and deadlines - for the simple fact that it is not possible to set a certain date for a return to normality -, so as to be ready to start again with momentum and first. The match, instead, it will be played on another pitch, completely unexplored: success will depend on the ability of each professional to question themselves and rethink the contents of their work by concretely realizing it in new ways both for professionals and for the general public. It will be mandatory to deal with 'space-time' restrictions, new safety protocols e, mostly, with the psychological implications that will inevitably remain imprinted in the collective memory.

Lorenzo Respi (Milan, 1978). He is currently Production Director of FMAV – Fondazione Modena Arti Visive, which manages the cultural heritage of the Galleria Civica di Modena, Modena Photography Foundation and Figurine Museum. He is a current member of the Scientific Committee of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation in Milan, of which he was Curator and Conservator. He founded All Around Art srl, art services company & Publishing. He taught Institutions of Cultural Heritage Law at the University of Milan. He recently curated the editorial project of for the CSAC – Study Center and Communication Archive of the University of Parma Through time: integrity and transformation of the artwork, program of exhibitions and artist residencies (Massimo Bartolini, Luca Vitone, Eva Marisaldi) made on the occasion of Parma Italian Capital of Culture 2020.