“My course and my artistic experimentations have allowed me to move from the two-dimensional character of classical art to the multidimensionality of connective and relational art, in order to cause a social-political action in the art world. To be independent, mentally and physically, without being subject to economic and political influences, it was necessary to get to the stratification of the Solstizio Project, with multilayered, interconnected fields in real and virtual life. My art has become global and does not end in a defined project, it rather takes the form of a social network, from which different ways of observation and action develop in surrounding realities”.
Stampone’s artistic quest represents the synthesis and formalisation of the concept encapsulated by the term Global Education.
His artistic output ranges from interactive multimedia installations to monumental and participatory public art projects. Simultaneously, his work makes reference to the “reasons for doing” by dwelling on the aesthetic gratification that comes from drawing with a Bic pen.
Stampone’s method is based upon the chain of relationships, collaborations, connections and participations developed through the Solstizio network he founded.
Global Education is a meta-project and a “formal experience”. Its purpose is to act as a catalyst to a new culture, a vita activa (Arendt) to formulate grammatical trajectories which confront and question the understandings and unease of today’s world. On the other hand, it builds a world capable of reviving perception of experience within a new physical, mental and interactive dimension where the collective abrogates the suffering of the solitary individual and art becomes a collective binding agent thanks to the intimate core of our own experience.
In this cyber age we are living in, knowledge becomes connective because everyone can interact, exchanging their own experiences with others in shared topics and areas of interest.
“Global Education” is a project born into the light of these changes. It starts with alphabet primers drawn in Bic pen (school equipment par excellence), playing on popular themes, tags, symbols and images – often pertinent to historical facts or current events. These are followed by concept maps, slogans, interactive installations and tours in various countries of the world like the ones the artist organised for the Kochi and Havana Biennales (2012).
Stampone’s work is a “formal experience”. If the form is closed and crystallised, experience of the form creates a discussion on the artist’s part within a community from which he requires interaction and participation.
The various mediums adopted serve to intensify the urgency of the circumstances. For Stampone, the artist must return to placing ethical commitment before aesthetics, political activism in the everyday, and an urgent need to construct connective structures and platforms that are cognitive, tactile and transfiguring.
His approach is nuanced and methodical, inviting the public to reflect on fundamental issues like immigration, access to water resources or war through such projects as Greetings from.. (2010 – present), Architecture of Intelligence (2007 – present), Acquerelli per non sprecare la vita (2006 – 2012) and Why? (2007 – present).
Artists in the postmodern era are fairly certain of the idea of disaster and conflict: Stampone is aware that the challenge today is to spread information to the public and ensure that it is being discussed by people who want to learn more.
An artist must gain experience on the front line, sharing the “social drama” of the people rather than merely citing impersonal links to remote experiences.
The important thing is to demolish the mysteries of communication by juxtaposing the allure of a savant sign with the post-production of meanings and signifiers. A sign that interprets files of images and symbols downloaded from the internet, that fluid media archive we can all tap into, which contains “Great History” as well as the infinite stories of each and every one of us.
Those are the stories that interest Stampone, and it is for this reason that he expanded “Global Education” to hands-on learning, involving people of all ages in the creation of a work. Sometimes he chooses a specific theme, other times he trusts in the free imagination of the people.
In this sense, the artist defines himself as an “intelligent photocopier” because he captures people’s experiences and copies them onto an alphabetic grid to create participatory assemblies where he and the community use lateral thinking associations to decide together which word should be associated with a specific image. For example, the image of a gold ingot is matched with the ‘H’ of H2O; the image of Jesus to the ‘S’ of Superman etc.
The Global Education project consists of a desire for a new literacy that is not given and created by a few for the many, but recreated through the active participation of people by way of a shared alphabet.
Stampone will live in a place for a while (China, the USA etc.) and get to know the local people and schools. He is particularly interested in primary schools because he sees the energy of an uncontaminated and unstructured life in the children. He makes notes on their stories, then returns to his studio to work on the letters and maps born from the experience.
He uses the ABC format because he seeks to reopen the dictatorial literacy we have been subjected to and rewrite it thanks to the experience and help of others. Stampone asks the local adults and children to help him, using them as an encyclopaedia to obtain as much information as possible, interpreting nothing but creating a narrative archive.
Once the letters are ready, he displays them as slogans (e.g. Arbeit Macht Frei, 2012; Hasta la Victoria Siempre, 2011; Yes We can, 2012..) and georeferences them on his emotional maps. Furthermore, with these same letters he creates tourist guides that shatter standard impressions about specific places by relating the experiences of the local people involved. The Global Education dictionary contains over 100,000 images listed in alphabetical order, each corresponding to an individual participant. An atlas of emotions, with the first and last names of every person who contributed to the resetting of world geography against any sort of viewing dictatorship. A dictionary made up of people’s experiences, created with a customised alphabet that rewrites thoughts, places and stories.
The workshop is an essential and integral part of an overall project dedicated to the training, education and teaching of art and life today, but also to the creation of a constructive journey with a transnational and Babel-like imprint that brings the problems, joys and sorrows of everyday life into view.
Global Education is expanding thanks also to the Solstizio Network, founded by the artist in 2008:
“Since I was a child, I’ve had to count on my own network to survive (I was born in a French banlieue, the son of immigrants). You can’t create a Network and you can’t invent one, either!
These days, a lot of people think that the Network has replaced the word System. But the System is another world, with different dynamics and different rhythms. We have moved from the chronological and sequential perspective of the Renaissance to Tactile and Connective Cyberspace.
The Network is “architecture of intelligence” (to borrow a term from Derrick De Kerckove); it’s the union of Mind, Body and Space, a public space made up of connections and sharing among different disciplines, methods, languages and media for the purpose of expanding our observation of contemporary reality.
A Network is an Area of interest where individuals post their own private journal, in which ‘I’ becomes ‘We’ but the ‘We’ does not cancel out the identity of each single element making up the network.
We need to move on from a ‘Technical’ perception of a network towards an anthropological techno-culture that includes everything and embraces difference.
The artist is a politician who performs, who recreates a new Aesthetic of the everyday, using ‘Intelligence as an art form’. By intelligence, I mean the ability to feel and develop connections, hence Architecture of Intelligence: mind, body and space.
McLuhan sees in artistic endeavour and the figure of the artist a Pioneer, someone who uses his antennae to perceive and anticipate – straddling the anomalous and future transformations.
The outside and the inside coincide; the centre and the edges collapse and consequently no artistic project and no vision can escape the feeling that everything is closely related to us. This too means the end of perspective and the advent of Proprioception”