Carlo Zanni - Average Shoveler, 2004-2005
Inspired by the graphics of Leisure-Suit-Larry (the first adventure game done for an adult audience in 1987), AVERAGE SHOVELER is an online game challenging the boundaries between photo, paintings, game and short movie. It’s snowing, and you have to keep your way cleaned. Each snowflake contains an image taken live from news, politics, sport and fashion web channels: you have to shovel pumping news from your head saving your life from a news overload. “Average Shoveler” doesn’t have points or levels or goals. It is a delivery system for “breaking news” masqueraded as a videogame. It’s our daily intellectual spoon of white phosphorus bombs for total brainwashing. It is obviously a fictional environment but the feedback you get while playing is completely real, it comes from your real life. This internal dichotomy is at the basis of the aesthetics of the project where you can see a contrast between the funny pixelated atmosphere of the scenarios and the stark realism of the images “exploding” over your head. It stinks, it is a thick and sticky runway of blood and you catwalk on it, tapping your slick keyboard. On one level, “Average Shoveler” is quite boring: it turns into a contemplative screen when you get into the buildings and find yourself in a surreal scenario. For instance you get in to a church and find yourself inside a mosque, or get into a garage and find yourself in a strange jungle with a pipe leaking oil. There’s nothing to do there except contemplating. On another level, it is always morphing and changing, thus offering you unexpected adventures. AVERAGE SHOVELER includes two prestigious collaborations: the music is by famous composer Gabriel Yared (Oscar winner for the score of “The English Patient”) and Siri Kuptamethee the designer behind the now defunct “Indigo People” created the outfit for the main character of the videogam
Since the early 2000’s Carlo Zanni’s practice has explored the use of Internet data to create time-based works that combine a pronounced social consciousness with the mediated experience of advanced technologies. In many ways it finds its roots in Sol Lewitt’s statement, “The idea becomes a machine that makes the art”, only Zanni prefers a more updated version: “The idea becomes the code that renders the art.” Zanni (born in La Spezia Italy, 1975) has been recipient of a Rhizome.org commission and he has shown in galleries and museums worldwide including: Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; New Museum, New York; Tent, Rotterdam; MAXXI, Rome; P.S.1, New York; Borusan Center, Istanbul; ACAF Space, Alexandria; PERFORMA 09, NY; ICA, London; Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh; Science Museum, London. Zanni also invented the ViBo video book and founded PeopleFromMars.org to experiment new distribution models for video art and new media projects.