POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Carlo Zanni at the Chelsea Art Museum
Italy appears to be buying a lot of oil right now, enough, at least, to make Carlo Zanni’s flying flag in his show “Flying False Colors (The Sixth Day)” at the The Chelsea Art Museum move rapidly. Propelled by a wind generating program that reads and responds to online data counting the number of purchased oil barrels by country capitals and calculating their weather, Italy made a particular ruckus when I visited the show this Saturday.
The banner itself is a replica of the Universal Ecology Flag designed in 1969, which depicts the Greek symbol of Theta — derived from thanatos, meaning death. The implication made physical here is that real ecological and empirical effects can be felt through these transactions. As such, through the course of the exhibition the paint used on the flag eventually flakes off, leaving only a blank sheet. In this work, identity and colonial conquest prove both mutable and impermanent.
Further underscoring these ideas, the exhibition title “Flying False Colors (The Sixth Day)” refers to the 1975 espionage film Three Days of the Condor, which was based on the book titled The Six Days of the Condor. Zanni’s piece marks the second work in a trilogy in which he completes the film’s three missing days by exploring ideas of ecology, oil and energy supply, and Middle East politics. “The Fifth Day” — the website component featuring Zanni’s trademark power with cinematic stylings — will be showcased as part of Performa ’09 at White Box.
Accompanying the exhibition are four diagrammatic sketches with stamps and a machine that lists the country currently propelling the flag. Zanni’s exhibition runs through October 31st and will travel to Marselleria, Milan in November 2009.
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