Riccardo Giacconi

Quello che non c'è
[What is not there]
ongoing research project

Quello che non c’è (“What is not there”) is an ongoing research on the appearance of an absence within a given linguistic system. The appearance of an absence is rendered through a specific mode, a strategy internal to language itself. Through the study of cultural forms such as jokes, riddles, cartoons and rebus, the project attempts to track down certain techniques language prearranges to refer to itself.

In the first installment of the project, a series of illustrations are extrapolated from an Italian Disney magazine for children. Each illustration comprises the indication of an absence, as a specific linguistic sign.

Language comprises techniques to isolate the space of an enunciation and to turn it into a performance, aimed at producing a specific effect. In telling jokes, the so-called ‘punch line’ functions as a ‘flick of the tail’ of language, as it flashes and illuminates the whole space of enunciation that comes before.

In the second installment of the series, five Italian jokes are deprived of their punch lines.
 By removing such ‘flick of the tail’, the primary aim 
of such enunciation is revoked. But the futility it acquires may open a space for sense, for a certain, somewhat uncomfortable narrative to emerge.

In the third installment of the series, a woman reads compositions that sound like love poems. Constructed, using rhymes and metrics, in order to resemble poems, such compositions are Italian riddles, enigmas or charades. While love is their apparent subject, they hide a second meaning, whose formulation is the objective of the game. The presence of such 'solution' becomes perceivable only when we uncover the ambiguous space of enunciation.

The fourth installment of the project is a study on rebus, carried out in collaboration with Giulia Marzin. It consists in a collection of rebus, extrapolated from the Italian magazine "La settimana enigmistica". Each of the rebus has been deprived of the letters that, inserted within the picture, allow the player to construct a sentence – the so-called 'solution'. By removing the possibility to solve the rebus, the aim itself of the picture disappears, leaving the mark of its absence on the awkward disposition of the figures in the depicted space. Such absence may, then, open up the space for a new narrative value.
The pictures that compose the work have been exhibited in different ways: individually, in groups of two or more, as an open archive or as a slideshow.

Installation view, Peephole, Milano, 2013.