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OPENING May 26th, 6 pm
"Fabio Paris Art Gallery is delighted to present Kinshasa vs Akihabara, the first solo show by the young artist Giovanni Fredi. In an exhibition designed for the occasion, the artist presents the results of photographic research into videogaming in two geographical and social settings that are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of wealth, technological status and cultural progress. On one hand we have the slums of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and on the other Akihabara, Tokyo’s most technology-dense district and the hub of otaku culture. Electronic games feature in both settings, but in very different ways. Surprisingly, in Kinshasa, the youngsters in the slums manage to play, albeit in makeshift shelters, under a tarpaulin, on a beaten earth floor, using electricity from a generator or stolen from a lamppost on the street. Ancient cathode ray tube monitors are lined up on rough and ready supports and hooked up to a Playstation so that the local kids can play the soccer game PES2008. In Akihabara, Fredi dwells on hands, hundreds of hands. The faces almost pass unnoticed, intent as they are on the invisible screens of Nintendo DS consoles of all shapes and colours. They belong to people of all ages, of both sexes, who share the same space but do not see each other: standing in the street, sitting side by side on a bench but completely isolated, gaze fixed on the screen, headphones in their ears. While in Kinshasa gaming is a social activity, a chance to meet and compete, in the advanced realm of Akihabara it leads to individualism, taking the isolation typical of otaku culture to extremes.
The contrast between the two settings, which arose spontaneously from the surprising scenes witnessed in Kinshasa, is what elevates the project above the level of reportage, making a disenchanted reflection on the simulations present in modern life.
Giovanni Fredi (Brescia, 1984) attended the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. Kinshasa vs Akihabara is his first solo show." (Fabio Paris)
Related: Giovanni Fredi
Submitted by Matteo BIttanti