PIZZAGATE NEON | WARREN NEIDICH
Pizzagate Neon (2019) is the artwork of the American artist Warren Neidich, which presents itself as a large installation composed of colorful neon signs attached to the ceiling with wires, left hanging in the middle of the room. “Comet Ping Pong”, “Pizzagate”, “James Alefantis”, “Twitter”, “Alt-Right”, “John Podesta” – those who are interested in American current events, or have lived in America the past recent years, will find these words familiar. The theme that Neidich’s project explores is the scandal, known as “Pizzagate”, which involved some political figures from the US Democratic Party who were accused of pedophilia and human trafficking by an extreme right conspiracy group.
Pizzagate Neon aims to draw attention to the effects of information dissemination and its manipulation between carefully constructed truth and falsehood through the internet and social networks. The structure of the artwork reflects the distorted representation of a communication network: a cloud of neon signs suspended from the ceiling by a web of threads, intricate and chaotic, challenging to reconstruct in its sequentiality. It is as complex and nebulous as the stories fabricated and narrated by the ‘conspiracy theorist’ stereotype, where secrets and mysteries are brought to light and disseminated in a paradoxical and relativistic use of social ‘justice’.
The words and concepts in this luminous installation blend together, at times concealing themselves, becoming less or not at all legible, but always present. In keeping with the pervasiveness of these distorted networks, Neidich’s installation is traversable, passable, livable, and navigable, much like the news on an online newspaper or the profile of a seemingly harmless ‘hater’. The ubiquity of this distortion and the complete lack of regulation that feeds it are so deeply part of the way we communicate that it becomes impossible to escape and extremely challenging to discern.
This engagement serves as an invitation to awareness, urging us not to solely ‘surfing’, but to rediscover the ability and effort required for assuming responsibility, engaging in dialogue, studying, and fostering critical thinking, even though, today, such actions are increasingly less sought after, if not considered against the trend.
Pizzagate Neon, 2019
Neon gas and Glass, 4 x 9 meters. Installation view at Zuecca Project Space, Venice Biennial. Courtesy of Priska Pasquer Gallery.