Marco Fusinato | Saturday newspaper
Marco Fusinato is a renowned Melbourne-based artist who works across photography, sound, music, installation, performance and print media. Since the early 2000s, he has been working on extended series, some open, in which he explores the iterations of an idea, often translating an image or representation into another medium. In other projects, he sets up recurring collaborations or curations with other artists.
His work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and biennials, including Soundings: a contemporary score (2013), the first sound exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is known for his long-lasting musical recordings and sound performances, which are sometimes incorporated into his visual works and can include performances of up to eight hours. He has been nominated for two prestigious prizes, the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, South Korea (2018) and the Nasher Prize, Dallas, USA (2017), and his work “All the World’s Futures” has been included in the Venice Biennale 2015.. He will represent Australia at the 59th Venice Biennale next year. The most recent work of Fusinato, EXPERIMENTAL HELL (ATMOSPHERE), will open at the Anna Schwartz Gallery once closures allow.
For The Influence, he chose to discuss the enigmatic Japanese doom-metal band Corrupted.
Tell me about Corrupted.
Their intensity commits me. What I really like about them, and about a lot of artists that I admire, is that it’s seen as a complete project. Everything is taken into account: the music, the packaging and the way they present the project. For example, they refuse to do interviews, they don’t take promotional photographs, all of their song titles, lyrics and literature are in Spanish, yet it’s a band from Osaka, Japan. So there is this kind of refusal, which I respect.
They have released numerous singles and EPs and five full LPs. Recordings on later LPs tend to be one long track or a few long tracks, with a heavy and doom-laden look but interwoven with long sections of ambience using a range of instruments, from harp to keyboard to acoustic guitar. . The song is throaty, a sort of growl. The singer has a voice as powerful as a bulldozer. Their music is melodic, then explosive and intense at other times. The key is to listen to it loudly, because of the dynamic range.
They have been active since the mid-1990s; From what I can understand, they’ve come out of an anarcho-crust-meet-noise situation, and that’s an area that interests me. They made a multitude of recordings from that period, which were really inspiring to me. Their graphics are coherent, in black and white, with a very particular use of graphics. Most of the time they’ll use a media photograph of, you know, depraved humanity, which I also use in my work – a very specific font and design, usually all caps. They take newspaper quotes, magnify them. So there are some sympathies there, that’s what I’m saying.
I have explicitly referenced Corrupted in two projects. In 2006, I started a project called THIS IS NOT MY WORLD, where over the years I invited a selection of graphic designers to give their take on this slogan, which was originally attached to the side of a government building by a group of dissident Yugoslav artists protesting against Tito’s regime. I finished this project in 2019 and for the last banner of this series, I invited Masahiko Ohno, the graphic designer of Corrupted, to give his point of view.
Then, when I was doing a poll in 2012, I remember removing a corrupted T-shirt, and on the back of the T-shirt, in lowercase, it said, “The color of the sky has melted.” I thought that was a really appropriate title for this exhibition, because everything I was presenting was in black and white.
I grew up with bands like Slint, Fugazi, Shellac, Godspeed You! Black Emperor… these groups of noise, this explosion of ecstatic sound. I think it’s a kind of poetry of ruin, a conflicting experience, working on erasure but, as you say, in a coherent way. It’s a whole: sensory experience, attention, an integrity of dedicated art, even if it is collapse and entropy. Something erotic, sensual, scary …
It’s about creating your own worlds and finding like-minded communities. There are always communities involved. One that I’m involved in is the underground noise scene, which is a small international scene.
In many big cities around the world, there are always the same kind of 30, 40, 50 people who are interested in it. It has nothing to do with money. It is an attitude, a spirit.
The punk and post-punk scenes are associated with the renegade, the resistant. How does this correspond to your development as an artist? Was it a process of finding the courage?
Growing up as a kid in the suburbs, you become resilient early on – and challenging the prevailing order. It’s a refusal, isn’t it?
I think for some it may take a long time and a lot of courage to get there, to put everything else aside.
Your own work tests viewer engagement; they come for something adrenalized and immersive.
I do work that I want to experience and I hope that along the way he will find people who want to experience it as well. For example, I have a project called Spectral arrows in which I install the equipment (guitar, distortion, a lot of amps) with my back to the public and play during all the opening hours of the gallery. I want the sound to be impenetrable, so it’s like a wall. The first hour is always difficult but after that I lose track of the time and that’s where some interesting things really start to happen. It’s a bit like standing in the ocean with the waves crashing into you all day long: it’s the feeling. You lose track of time and space and in the end the sound can take you to places you never imagined.
Your Black mass implosion series also involves a kind of violence applied to the music.
We need scores from well-known composers to try to push the language of music. I take their scores, I play them 1: 1, then I choose an arbitrary point on this score, then I set a line of each note in this score up to that point, as a proposal for a new composition, and c ‘is: imagine if all these notes were played at the same time. So it’s essentially a piece of noise, all notes reduced to a moment of singular impact. It is a question of intensity, of bringing all these forces back on themselves. That’s what I try to do when I play live, trying to harness those strengths and create a physical experience. All of a sudden I’m totally consumed with where the sound takes me. I’ll just let it roll and get used to it.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on September 4, 2021 as “Marco Fusinato”.
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