Osservate, leggete con me, 2012
Regroupement Pied Carré, #417
Writer and multimedia artist Frances Stark employs a style that is often humorous and irreverent, combining simple illustration, high and low culture references, and the digital world she inhabits in a highly personal manner. Her work mirrors and critically addresses contemporary experience while appropriating electronic communing and communication. Stark is not only interested in late-capitalist technology’s impact on our lives but also in its transformation of language and its use.
Osservate, leggete con me is part of a group of works inspired by Stark’s experience in Internet chat rooms where she engaged in exchanges with young European men. The work is titled after a line from the Catalogue Aria in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, in which Don Giovanni’s servant, Leporello, enumerates his master’s sexual exploits across Europe. Accompanied by Mozart’s music and organized in nine white-on-dark text vignettes, Stark’s work offers a similar full disclosure, albeit of her online communications with these men. For Stark, it is crucial that viewers look and read along with her. She considers these online spaces to be the sites where language is let loose and text hangs out. The flow of the exchanges reveals the sexual nature of the communications, but the subtext exposes a continent-wide economic crisis that produced a large number of young unemployed men looking for distractions and connections online. Here, Stark offers an unapologetic view of 21st-century ways of communicating across cultures and borders while remaining fully grounded in the reality of our current moment in time and history.