Elisa Giardina Papa: Drawing From Life

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at Link Point, Brescia

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Elisa Giardina Papa: Drawing From Life

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On Saturday April 6, 2013, the project Drawing From Life (2011 – 2013), by artist Elisa Giardina Papa, will be presented in a specially designed installation at the Link Point in Brescia, Italy. The show will be open to the public from 6.30 to 9.30 PM. The artist will be present.

Drawing From Life is a series of 120 digital drawings printed on paper, and based on casual encounters occurred online. More specifically, the drawings were made in the online chat website Chatroulette, “that pairs strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. Visitors to the website begin an online chat (text, audio, and video) with another visitor who is chosen at random. At any point, either user may leave the current chat by initiating another random connection.” (Wikipedia)

The system also provides a drawing tool that allows you to interact with your random partner via manual writing or drawing. Elisa Giardina Papa decided to employ this tool to turn her presence on Chatroulette into a long, silent, enduring drawing performance. Any time a new partner connected to the chat, she started drawing what she saw on the screen, refusing any other form of communication. She didn’t talk, she didn’t write: she just draw. Each drawing is, therefore, the record of the artist’s interaction with her “audience”: some got bored and changed partner in a few seconds, leaving the portrait incomplete; some tried to talk; some posed; some kept doing what they were doing; some contributed to the drawing.

A live record of an uncanny interpersonal experience – now available to everybody – Drawing From Life is also an archive of memories, a transfiguration of reality as it is experienced on the web, and the re-enactment of a popular way of interacting online – Giardina Papa is, of course, not alone in drawing people in online chatrooms: all strategies often explored in her recent body of work.