The artwork Semilla SAGRADA by artist Rebeca Romero (Copperfield gallery, London), the winner of the fifth edition of the OGR Award, was presented for the first time on May 17 during the official public award ceremony at OGR Torino.
The METAmorphosis project, the second episode of the Beyond Production platform, promoted by Artissima and Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT, reflects on the most innovative trends in contemporary art. The edition launched in 2 022 focused on the complex phenomenon of the Metaverse.
The Metaverse proposed here takes a critical view of the phenomenon, which is formative for art world professionals and educational for the public. The METAmorphosis project has seen confirmed partnerships with Artshell, a software house for the art market, and with LCA Studio Legale, in addition to the activation of a new dialogue with REVIBE – Metaverse Experience Factory, resident in OGR Tech.
Rebeca Romero, selected as the winner by the international jury of the OGR Award, produced the work Semilla SAGRADA thanks to the support of Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT and the technological support of the partners involved in the project.
The work was presented both in its physical version, in the spaces of the Duomo at OGR Torino, and in its 3D version in a virtual version of the Duomo hosted on the Spatial platform in the Metaverse usable free of charge over time. The work, thanks to the synergy with the OGR Award, is acquired by the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT and becomes part of the Fondazione’s Collection on free loan to OGR Torino.
Following the event, the work, in its digital version in the Metaverse, will continue to be available at this link.
The project investigates the history of a future-ancient civilization worshipping the Sacred Seed, a mutable plant endowed with miraculous properties. With an animistic perspective reminiscent of Inca myths that attributed vitality to elements of nature such as mountains, bodies of water, stars, stones, caves, atmospheric events and the firmament above, the artist addresses the urgency of investigating, in an era of continuous environmental upheaval, the ontological connections between human and non-human entities and possible worlds.
Semilla SAGRADA exists in two complementary spaces or “planes”, moving fluidly between the digital and the material.
The physical work installed in the Duomo of OGR Torino presents the result of a study of pre- Columbian textiles, which has provided valuable information on both the technological and cultural advances of these societies and their economic and social structures. Building on this concept, Semilla SAGRADA takes the physical form of a carefully crafted garment that represents a fictional product of the enigmatic Seed-worshipping civilization. The garment is inspired by museum collections of ancient tunics and cloaks and the costumes of Peruvian folk dances. It was made using digital embroidery techniques and specially created fabrics centered on the iconography associated with the Sacred Seed.
The OGR Torino Duomo in the Metaverse has been recreated to host a spiritual encounter, featuring three floating manifestations of the Sacred Seed in 3D that visitors can explore and interact with. Each of these sacred seeds is presented as a deity and if clicked will act as a portal. Through this interaction (one pop-up video per seed), the visitor is encouraged to contemplate the meaning and symbolism of each seed, enabling a deeper understanding of the relationships between technology, nature and spirituality.
From the artist’s words, “Semilla SAGRADA aims to identify a unifying feature between Amerindian animistic cosmogonies and post-humanist futures where traditional boundaries between human and non-human are very blurred and divinity and individuality are dispersed across a wide spectrum of beings.”
Ilaria Bonacossa, director of the National Museum of Digital Art in Milan and curator of METAmorphosis, comments on the winning artist’s work as follows, “Rebeca Romero’s Semilla SAGRADA project innovatively articulates the relationship between past and future through a surprising link between virtual and physical. Giant divine seeds seemingly symbols of Amerindian cosmogonies project us into a Meta-future inspired by the world of video games by questioning the relationship between art and craft, video and gaming. Beyond Production stems from the need that art has always manifested in questioning the relationship with new technologies. We live in a digital age and imagining how art and its issues can impact the lives of digital natives is a responsibility of cultural institutions.”
Luigi Fassi, director of Artissima, recounts that “Rebeca Romero‘s digital and sculptural elaborations of seeds appear as epiphanies between past and future, representations suspended between the evocation of an ancestral past and a futuristic projection of the relationship between art and the sacred. Romero thus opens to an unprecedented dimension of development, capable of inspiring new modes of creation in which the artists’ imagery can move in complete fluidity between sculptural concreteness and image virtuality. METAmorphosis is the second episode of Beyond Production and explores such a complex and developing territory as the Metaverse, in which artists’ creative experience is placed in direct confrontation with the most advanced digital technologies, while maintaining a critical and non-apologetic gaze toward them.”
The Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT is supporting Artissima and Beyond Production in the belief that investigating new languages of artistic expression is essential to enable art to reflect the complexity of the contemporary world. To this end, the Fondazione has provided a production budget for the development of the winning artist’s project idea. The President of the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT, Luisa Papotti, said, “The intertwining of emerging technologies and art, from photography to the Metaverse, has always offered creativity renewed tools, opening wider expressive horizons. Beyond Production is the project that the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT wanted to promote with Artissima to investigate its potential and explore its latest boundaries. The outcome of this journey, launched in the 2022 edition of Artissima, is combined with the OGR Award, the prize that the Foundation has been dedicating to OGR Torino since 2017, awarded this year to Rebeca Romero. For the first time, the award-winning work, Semilla SAGRADA, will find complementary spaces in the imposing halls of the OGR Torino and their Metaverse, offering the public an unprecedented experience, between the tangible and the virtual.”