Sivilization’s Wake – Stephen G. Rhodes and Barry Johnston [2018]

INCURVA presents the Sicilian première of Sivilization’s Wake, the latest experimental buddy comedy by Stephen G. Rhodes and Barry Johnston (Unknown Friend). Curated by Marianna Vecellio

Sivilization’s Wake is less an adaptation than an expulsion of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, floating beyond a cesspool of cinematic repetitions. Beginning with the premise that film itself, in the very act of casting light as its subject, necessarily defaces the written word which birthed it (and whose nature is always darkness), Unknown Friend attempt a further disfiguring of the text’s legibility. Misreading darkness as drunkenness, swerving toward a state of total blinded-by-the-lightness, the artists want to drive themselves—with Twain in the backseat—off the well-lit roads of authority, and down into the dark gorges of prophecy. Drowning in the rivers of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, spelunking in the bunkers of Sicily’s past patria, the gang grope wildly for anything that shines, only to find that the sunken treasure they discover is too heavy to be carried, and can only be added to the mythologies that flood, in overlapping projections, the walls of this rented basement. Using the advanced technology of the Star Trek franchise, as well as a cast of flexible characters, Unknown Friend travel through time and space performing society’s primal scenes (as well as a few of their own), often before involuntary audiences. In the process of staging these conundrums of exodus— freedom? banishment?— Sivilization’s Wake attempts an ecstatic desertion of the source text, only to wash up once again on the shore of history’s traumas, and find that the displacement, dysphoria, imprisonment, and injustice that even Mark Twain at times could not fully face, continue to plague civilization today, 200 years down river from the “Sivilization” of Huck and Jim’s time.

“Beware.  Trouble is brewing.  Keep a sharp lookout.”
– Unknown Friend

Press Preview:
Fri 15 June 2018 at 11am

Opening Reception:
Fri 15 June 2018 at 6pm

Opening hours:
From Sat 16 June to Sat 14 July 2018
Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-1pm and 4pm-7pm

Palazzo Campofranco 8,
Piazza Croce dei Vespri
Palermo, Italy

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped in making Sivilization’s Wake real: Gary Luster, Rosario Riginella, Claudia Cangemi, Giulia Monroy, Marianna Vecellio, Andrea Parlato, Arturo Parlato, Vito Sciacca, Pierluigi Domino, Ernesto, Banjou, Niamanto, Galerie Isabelle Bortolozzi, Attilia Fattori Franchini, Carlo Pratis, Gianni Politi, Lupo Borgonovo, Samara Scott, Nicola Martini, Megan Rooney, Dimitra Louana Marlanti, Giuseppe Fazio.

Sivilization’s Wake is supported by

Babi 1 (2016), Babi 2 (2016) and Babi (2016) are the very first artworks produced at Curva Blu since the programme began. The three sculptures were produced by Lupo Borgonovo in Favignana and are now showed at ZEESTER, Lupo Borgonovo’s solo exhibition at Museo Civico Castelbuono (Palermo) on view 8th August 2019 through 29th September 2019. More info

Kore (2019), produced by Margherita Raso during Curva Blu 2019 , is part of the group show “Le Monde Ou Rien” organized by Sgomento in Naples (More info). During her residency in Favignana, Margherita Raso learned limestone sculpting with local sculptor Benito Alessandra at his “Giardino Incantato”.

Congratulations Stephen G. Rhodes and Barry Johnston for being shortlisted for the 3rd Mario Merz Prize with Sivilization’s Wake, co-produced by INCURVA. Learn more and cast your vote on

Congratulations Trisha Baga for her solo show at Greene Naftali (NYC), also featuring the cave footage shot during Curva Blu 2017. More info

INCURVA has been invited at Supercondominio, a gathering of new contemporary art spaces in Italy promoted by Castello di Rivoli and its research department, the CRRI. More info about the event

8 July 2018

Some of the works conceived during the Curva Blu 2017 residency are on show at Loom Gallery, more info here.

9 May 2018

We are glad to see part of the research that took place during Curva Aperta 2017 surfacing in Gianni Politi’s exhibition “2017”. More information here. 14 Apr 2018

Some of the research carried during Curva Blu 2016 by Nicola and Jacopo on show at Mega Off-site. More info here 14 Apr 2018

Trisha Baga’s work produced during Curva Blu 2017 residency was exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City) Art Party, sponsored by Birkenstock. 20 Nov 2017

“Egadi (il mondo di ieri)” (2016), shot in Favignana by Renato Leotta, is on view at Quadriennale di Roma 2016. 26 Mar 2016

INCURVA aims at making western Sicily a fertile ground for research in contemporary art, re-activating its public spaces and stimulating dialogue with its local communities through a platform for residencies, talks and exhibitions. Established in 2016.

INCURVA is not-for-profit, read more on how to support us 

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