Posted: 17 March 2021

Posted: 17 Mar 2021

Michela de Mattei’s ‘Acquavideo’ 2020 commissioned by MAAT Museum

Congratulations to Michela de Mattei on her latest commission Acquavideo on view at MAAT museum, Lisbon from 18. March until 6. September on the occasion of the upcoming exhibition Aquaria curated by Angela Rui.

Acquavideo, 2020
two-channel video installation (10'16”), 4.1 audio system.
courtesy of the artist and Belmacz

The video-installation takes as a starting point a water leakage that occurred at the Dubai Aquarium inside the Dubai Mall in 2010. Juxtaposing the Internet footage of the recordings of the incident with the artist’s recent first hand recordings inside the Dubai Aquarium, the video wants to question the idea of aquarium both as a window into an underwater world, a display of marvels, as well as an artificial and problematic reproduction holding wonder and anxiety tightly together.
Projected into two separate screens Acquavideo links visually and conceptually the fish tank and the Dubai Mall as enclosed spaces of desire, imagination, power and control. The first section of the video suggests captivity, playing with excessive points of views; glimpses and gazes of this extreme visibility. The editing of the moving images creates constricted architectural partitions, planes and perspectives. The shops in the Mall reflects their logos and lights onto the glass panels of the fish tanks creating a visual intoxication of these two enclosed spaces. This excessive tension escalates into a short circuit, a figurative and symbolic crack into the system that make the second part of the video collapse into a nocturnal dimension. Darkness envelops what is visible and the viewer slips into an immersive acoustic space, sliding into a submerged world that is both hypnotic and fictional, realistic and surreal. The soundscape registers this shift, from a sound pollution to an absorbing acoustic atmosphere. 
The video installation hold together, reverses and mirrors these perspectives. The two screens interplay these dimensions like communicating vessels. Both a visual and symbolic outflow, Aquavideo is an intimate journey into subliminal desires, pressures and mesmerising visions. Ultimately, the work reflects on the relationship between consumerism and wonder using the affinities of fish tanks or the aquarium to windows displays, as both are carefully designed to allow viewers (or consumers) to imagine, escape and disengage from their own everyday reality. 

Sign Up to our newsletter