Matteo Nasini at Barriera / Torino

Matteo Nasini, Notturno Smarrito

Curated by Davide Daninos

15.09.2023 21.10.2023

Associazione Barriera
Via Crescentino, 25, Torino

Notturno smarrito combines and reshuffles the experiments carried out by artist Matteo Nasini to translate the secret movements of sleeping brains and the distant orbits of stars into sculptural and aural outcomes.
With this new exhibition at Barriera, wandering stars and dreamlike landscapes come together to transport the spectators on a sonic and performative journey, to be experienced as a nocturnal concert and a sculptural archive of dreams.
For more than ten years Matteo Nasini (Rome, 1976) has been combining his techniques – from sculptural research to sonic experiments and technological innovations – to build sensitive tools and experimental machines capable of finding answers to seemingly impossible questions.
What unites the act of dreaming with the wandering of celestial bodies in the sky? What is the sound of the stars? What is the shape of dreams?
To find answers to these questions, Nasini has created new devices, combining tools and know-hows from multiple fields, such as neuro-aesthetics, speculative astronomy, and theoretical physics. The dialogue between aesthetic and technological research defines Nasinis works, thanks to various collaborations with scientists, musicologists, craftsmen, coders, and theoretical physicists.
Notturno smarrito combines and mixes two previous experiments, Sparkling Matter and Welcome Wanderer, dedicated respectively to reshaping the nocturnal movements of sleeping brains and celestial bodies into aural and sculptural forms.
In Sparkling Matter (2016-ongoing), using electrodes applied to the cortex of sleeping subjects, the artist records the electro-chemical activity produced during one or more sleep cycles. The linear trace of the EEG thus created is then rotated on the same axis through 3D modeling software to be translated into a geometric solid that is, subsequently, printed in porcelain with a three-dimensional printer.
These cylindrical and conical shapes still keep track of all the hidden intuitions of our resting mind,” explains curator Davide Daninos. Through them we can observe the quality and duration of dreams, discovering their hidden syntax, made up of leaps, interruptions and depressions. It is the mind that, unbeknownst to itself, carves the trajectory of its secret life into matter.”
In Welcome Wanderer (2021-ongoing), it is the solitary journey of stars in our Milky Way that is now traced. Using the vast ESA (European Space Agency) star catalogue, their orbits are translated into a chorus of human voices and electronic sounds. A dialogue capable of making us perceive the vastness of our galaxy through sighs and random encounters among over four billion stars.
Whenever a star orbits in its wandering over Barriera, the distance from the exhibition space, as well as the size and temperature of the celestial body, are immediately translated by a software into sound, thus producing an automatic and everchanging polyphony.
A video also translates the experience of these encounters, showcasing the celestial bodies with synthetic geometries, immersed in the black and empty backdrop of our universe. Such darkness expresses the vastness that separates the stars in our sparsely populated galaxy,” Daninos continues. Their gentle collision over our position or with another stellar wanderer is therefore celebrated with a different sigh, noise or murmur, creating a slow but inexorable polyphonic chant. A chorus of human and synthetic voices, whose intensity is controlled by the quality and duration of these sidereal caresses.”
Lastly, what makes this new episode unique is the performance Notturno smarrito (2023), that combines for the first time the artists two fields of research: dreams and stars.
These phenomena, which speak to us from distant and mysterious dimensions,” the artist explains, share the impossibility of being fully understood in their boundless and unheard-of manifestations. Their ephemeral experience is combined with the evocative power of sound, a tool for the imagination, which alone can approach their essence.”
The performance showcases new soundscapes created by Nasini to evoke the memory of possible dreams. During the opening night, these sounds are played in real time by the movement of the celestial bodies wandering above the spaces of Barriera.
These automatic compositions – generated by the collaboration between dreamscapes, movements of the stars and computational power – are then the vehicle for our nocturnal imagination to travel between dreams, stars and wandering planets.

After graduating from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, and becoming a member of the Luigi Cherubini orchestra directed by Riccardo Muti, Matteo Nasini (Rome, 1976) began his practice as a visual artist.
Among the most important exhibitions and projects, Sparkling Matter is presented in 2016 in the spaces of Marsèlleria and Clima, Milan. In the same year it wins the 2016 Talent Prize and was exhibited at MACRO and GNAM in Rome and, in 2017, it is part of the Intuition exhibition at Palazzo Fortuny, Venice.
Neolithic Sunshine was exhibited firstly in 2018 at the Pescheria Visual Arts Center in Pesaro and at Clima, Milan; in 2019 at Fontfroide Abbey, Narbonne and in 2023 it is presented at Villa Medici, Rome; Cittadellarte, Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella and on Vulcano island for the Volcanic Attitude festival. Since 2021, the Welcome Wanderer project has been presented at Cubo, Bologna; Clima, Milan and at Ocean Space, Venice.
Nasini has exhibited in numerous other institutions such as MANIFESTA13, MAXXI, Nomas Foundation, Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, Villa Croce Museum in Genoa, Villa Romana in Florence, Orto Botanico in Palermo, EDF Foundation - Paris La Defance, Espace Le Carré - Palais Beaux-Art of Lille, La Panacée of Montpellier, Mrac of Serignan, ICC, Hammer Museum of Los Angeles and Royal Museum of Worcester.