Cristina Baldacci received her PhD in Art History and Theory from the Università Iuav di Venezia (in conjunction with the Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia), where she spent two additional years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She has previously taught at the Università degli Studi di Milano, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and the Politecnico di Milano, and has conducted research as a Visiting Scholar at both Columbia University and the City University of New York. She recently co-curated the exhibition New Arrivals: Highlights from the Bianca and Mario Bertolini’s Donation (Museo del Novecento, Milan, 2015) and was part of the curatorial team of Ennesima: An Exhibition of Seven Exhibitions on Italian Art (La Triennale di Milano, 2015–16).

As a writer she has contributed to various journals, magazines, and essay collections, and has co-edited several books. Among her publications, Impossible Archives. An Obsession of Contemporary Art (Italian edition, 2016), a study on archiving as artistic practice. Her research interests include the archive and atlas as visual forms of knowledge; montage and re-enactment strategies; contemporary sculpture; the relationship between art, new media, and society.

The ‘Re’-Turn: Contemporary Aesthetic Counter-practices

ICI Affiliated Project 2018-19

Today, image theorists are increasingly concerned with moving away from aesthetics and turning towards politics to understand how images operate in the world and how they affect us. But aesthetic images influence, in the same manner and with the same intensity as those of media communication, our way of seeing, understanding, and being affected by reality. They probably do so to an even greater extent, since they comprise both symbolic and symptomatic presences, have a life of their own, as well as the power of producing reality itself, not just of representing it. I therefore intend to explore artistic practices within the enlarged contemporary field of image production, in order to show how artists themselves have most often anticipated crucial issues related to the production, dissemination, and reception of images by probing first the opportunities of new visual media, together with their cultural, political, social, and technical consequences.

They underwent what I would like to refer to as a ‘re’-turn; that is, a deep revisionary process challenging the know-how, tools, and aims of art. This process of constant revision accompanies the updating procedures of digital media innovations. This constant updating entails an entire set of ‘re-‘ procedures that function as contemporary counter-strategies in the production of images: Artists thus re-appropriate, re-assemble, re-circulate, re-enact, re-mediate, re-present, and re-store mostly existing images, which are bound to a perpetual ‘errancy’, understood in the double sense of migration and failure.

Visual Errancy: The Wandering Image and Its Multiple Temporalities

ICI Project 2016-18

Through an interdisciplinary approach, this project aims to reexamine the different temporalities and topographies – together with the new values, roles, and meanings – of the image in the contemporary iconosphere by critically following an historical and epistemological path that, from Benjaminian and Warburghian traditions, leads to the most compelling up-to-date visual and media theories.

Along this itinerary, I would like to focus on the following topics: the relevance of visual anachronism and its different forms – as a drift, survival, and alteration in time; anarchivism as a way to constantly reconsider and reorganize historiography and critical investigation, since digital technology has accustomed us to an errant temporality, where information and images are in a state of flux, instead of being permanently stored; the aesthetic, technical, political effects and possibilities that all this gives to artistic practice in the present postmedia and digital condition, especially with regard to some anarchic positions based on image errancy and postproduction (Hito Steyerl, Philippe Parreno, Ryan Trecartin, and others).