Black Box Conversation 3

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Alessandro Caruana, Expanding Entanglement. 3D model

Alessanndro Caruana talks to Patrick Ward about 3D printing, Psychoanalysis and on-campus panopticons

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Alessandro Caruana, Expanding Entanglement. Installation view at Winter Show 2019

Your project an Expanding Entanglement involves a lot of different material processes, including ceramics, 3d printing and video. Aside from the project itself the title makes me think of seeing you around the building last year. Although I rarely saw you in the fine art studios, I would often see you in various workshops throughout the building in discussion with technicians and students, particularly in the ceramics rooms.

Yeah, I have to admit I basically made the ceramics room my studio [laughs]. The thing about the ceramics room is that it's like a panopticon you're in the centre and there are all these classes around so you see everybody come in and go, you are right at the centre. You can see everybody!

But unlike the panopticon, we can also see you.

This is true [laughs], a pity. But you know, you get to meet so many people, you are around Visual Communication students, Architecture students, or whatever. For me it's cool because you are in the centre of everything. That's probably why you saw me in the ceramics room, people would come there to speak with me, it was like having an office [laughs]. You know what I mean?

So you were making a lot of ceramics work, right from 1st year. When did you start working with 3D printing?

It was during the summer break. I was working a little bit in the studio and then got the chance to get in the ceramic room. I was speaking with Harvey Reehal (technician of the ceramic room) and he suggested I speak with Anatol Just who is the expert in 3D print here. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to do this ahead of my final academic year because the processes and technologies involved require a lot of time and they are, you know, these machines are very sensitive.

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Alessandro Caruana, Expanding Entanglement. Installation detail

So tell about the work you produced using this technology, this was directly related to your in ceramics work?

Yes, it was basically, I took the first ‘entanglement’, one of the first one I've done. Small, almost hand size figurations, which are ideal for 3D scanning. Once they are scanned you have a 3D model, which you can manipulate and print as you wish,

The project has its conceptual anchoring in Psychoanalytic theory and specifically Lacanian theory?

Yeah, I mean, yes [laughs]

I would like to talk about this but I feel we would be here a long time, and you know I have to transcribe this [laughs]. But I understand this has led you towards your future plans of study?

Yeah, well who knows at this point but yes I have been accepted to study Psychoanalysis and Art MA at Birkbeck, I hope to get a better understanding about what I'm doing, because to be honest I have no idea about what I'm reading at all. I based my own dissertation about Lacan but still I have no idea what I wrote [laughs] or what I understood. So I hope this course will give me a better understanding, I mean it sounds very funny that I wrote an entire dissertation about the theories that I will say that I haven't got a clue if you asked me!

Well I think you are being perhaps a little modest. But you’re probably in the post-dissertation phase where one can feel disconnected from what you studied, this is quite common but I also think that's not uncommon for psychoanalysis to be very seductive to art students while also seeming very obscure. I mean, its notoriously difficult stuff.

It is yes (laughs)!

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Alessandro Caruana speaking from a cupboard somewhere in Italy. An extract for a conversation between Alessandro Caruana and Patrick Ward that took place on Zoom on 09/6/20