“Blind Spot” takes us on a touching journey into Swiss history of the open drug scene at Platzspitz in Zurich before its closure in 1992. Clicking through 3D visualizations of scanned rooms of different areas the artist creates spaces of memory in which the spectator gets confronted with Zurich's tragical history of heroin which influenced a whole generation.
In one projection you feel trapped in a sprayed men's toilet full of tags in the Red Factory in the middle of the AJZ period, a presumably exhausted or dead junkie lies on the street. In another projection word like "Züri brännt" and "Merdadon" flash up. The artist works through the "tragedy of heroin" along its spaces: In "Blind Spots," he uses sophisticated technology to create virtual spatial models which can be interactively examined by visitors of the exhibition.
During the process of scanning the rooms, the technology has shown itself to be treacherous and has created empty spaces. These empty spaces have a metaphorical meaning in his work: the focus here is on memory, the desire to reconstruct, but also the wish to get rid of something and forget it in a good sense.
The starting point of Gianluca Trifilo's work is his family biography. The artist, who comes originally from Sicily but grew up in Baden, has lost his two older brothers to drugs. A private tragedy with a social and historical dimension. Since 2014, Gianluca Trifilo has been dealing with the gruelling stories of heroin addicts and processing the history of Zurich's open drug scene of the 1990s in his art.
His work is also an excursion into Swiss drug policy: 1992 the police sealed off Zurich's Platzspitz with the aim of making the "open" drug scene invisible. 25 years later, the drug scene no longer exists for the average citizen. Gianluca Trifilo wants to revive the "Platzspitz" in the digital world and make visible the stigmatized figures that have been conditioned to invisibility. In the exhibition, virtual reality glasses can be used to enter various rooms where the drug scene once gathered or is still meeting today.
The experience is impressive, the possible conclusion remains sobering: one can rotate the rooms individually, the empty spaces and thus the questions remain. But nevertheless these pictures leave traces and remind us of a collective memory of this time.
“Blind Spot” deals critically with the question of stigmatisation and the act of making the Zurich drug scene of the 1990s invisible. Gianluca Trifilo transfers the tragic history and the associated social and historical significance to the present day. He creates virtual spaces that try to illustrate history, but at the same time can be experienced physically. The interaction between two different times and two different local spaces is of social and technological importance. Gianluca Trifilo raises the question of what it means to rewrite a story, to make it tangible through virtual spaces and to transfer it into the present. He deals with the revival of a forgotten and taboo history through technology and art. How can yesterday be revived or kept alive? How can yesterday's spaces be made experienceable in today's world? What is the relation between online and offline space?
Questions that “Blind Spots” critically examines and provides an approach to thinking about fictional and real memory spaces. “Blind Spots” is also important on a metaphorical level for the dying and simultaneous revival of a story: the fragmentary 3D visualizations encourage the viewer to fill it with content and meaning. There is an interaction between the installation and the audience. An interaction that is both medially and socially significant and has another parallel: it is a discourse that occupies us all in today's globalized society.