Jacopo Miliani & Sara Giannini
Shinjuku Ni-chōme (2018) is a series of photographs showing a daytime view on closed entrances of bars in Tokyo's main gay district. While their doors are shut, their names linger as an invitation. The photographs are published in the book Whispering Catastrophe. On the Language of Men Loving Men in Japan (SelfPleasurePublishing, OuUnPo, 2018), which will be launched at RONGWRONG as part of FLAM Encounter Events.
Whispering Catastrophe originates from a trip to Tokyo in 2013, where - after seeing the subtle use of censorship to trigger erotic desire in Japanese homoerotic vintage magazines - Miliani and Giannini started to research the mis/uses of language by the Japanese gay community in a historical perspective. The book is the outcome of their journey inside a language unknown to them, one which unfolded through rumors, masks and translations.
From the erotic whispers of legendary gay activist Tōgō Ken, to the veiled images of underground photographer Kurū Haga, the book follows the movements of a language of desire that constantly adopts and transforms names, appearing and disappearing, telling us that what we are not is much more important than what we are.
(Analog photograph, 15x10 cm each)
Artist Jacopo Miliani and curator Sara Giannini have been collaborating in different projects since 2012.
Jacopo Miliani (b. in Florence) is an artist based in Milan working with performance, installation, video and photography. Miliani studied Semiotics of Theatre at the University of Bologna (1998-2003) and graduated with a MA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London (2006-2007). Along his artistic production, he often organizes workshops and, most recently, he taught ‘Practice and theory of performance’ at Accademia di Belle Arti di Verona. He is the founder of Self Pleasure Publishing, an independent publishing project that focuses on homosexuality and language. Recent solo exhibitions include: Galeria Rosa Santos, Valencia (2018), Marselleria, Milan (2017), Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2016), Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona (2016), ICA studio, London (2015). He showed his performances internationally including David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2016, 2012), Museum of Dance, Stockholm (2014), CCSP, Sao Paulo (2014).
He is one of the founding members of OuUnPo, a research group composed of artists, curators, and researchers who together look at the boundaries of performance by appropriating and stretching the language of workshops, seminars, and meetings. OuUnPo has met regularly in different locations and art institutions since 2009.
Sara Giannini is an independent researcher, curator, teacher and writer based in Amsterdam. Informed by her background in theatre and semiotics, she is drawn towards the interlinking of language and performativity across a variety of (artistic) practices, contexts and disciplines. After her MA in Semiotics from the University of Bologna (cum laude), she worked as curator and editor at the ZKM | Karlsruhe (2010-2014), while from 2012 till 2015 she held the position of artistic coordinator of the traveling research group OuUnPo. As an independent curator she has initiated experimental collaborative projects such as the VOLUME project (in collaboration with 98weeks, Beirut, 2013-2014), the web-publishing platform Unfold (2015 - ongoing), and the curatorial initiative Heterotropics (Amsterdam, ongoing).
In 2016/17 she was a fellow at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, researching aphasic language in relation to the archive of the Dutch artist René Daniëls. The fellowship resulted in the exhibition and performance series OWNNOW: René Daniëls.
Sara lectured internationally and contributed to a variety of books. Her projects have taken place in institutional settings, urban contexts, online platforms and independent project spaces, including Jumex Museum, Mexico City; documenta 14, Athens; the Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthalle São Paulo and Casa do Povo, São Paulo; de Appel, Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum and Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; 98weeks, Mansion, Assabil Public Libraries, Beirut.
Since 2017 she is part of the core tutor team of the If I Can’t Dance Class at the Dutch Art Institute. In 2017 she was a visiting tutor at the MA Artistic Research at KABK, Den Haag, and an advisor at Das Theatre in Amsterdam. In fall 2018 Sara will join the Bard Centre for Curatorial Studies as a visiting research fellow.