Rossella Biscotti
Acquired Nationalities

Rossella Biscotti’s “10×10” series investigates the relationship between demographics, data processing, textile manufacturing and social structure. The work observes how demographic records have been modeled through the use of punch cards to program both early data processing machines and automated looms (jacquard). Reversing the process, Biscotti turned to the 2001–2006 census information of Brussels—where she was then based—to create a pattern on these textiles. Biscotti programed the Brussels census into an excel spreadsheet to perform a series of searches that pinpoint key demographic details. The results of each filter are noted through on the jacquard-woven textiles: single mothers, children and acquired nationalities as in particular, in this work. In this yes/no binary questions program, a yes/no answer leads to a certain line of questioning. Biscotti interrogates how statistics and quantitative analysis not only gives a misshapen representation of our society but also dictates policies (i.e., immigration quotas). In doing so, the artist underscores the codependent relationship of data processing and racial and social profiling.  By revisiting the early history and development of data processing today, the artist points at the growing economy based on new data systems—NSA monitoring, Google data mining—and its effort to measure, define, archive and control societies.

Departing from social and political history, the work of Rossella Biscotti (b. Molfetta, Italy, 1978) transforms and modifies truth through a variety of mediums: sound, film, sculpture and textile. The artist employs a documentary-styled aesthetic to highlight the impossibility to fully account for a truth told to us and heralds a heterogeneous trans-social theory that asserts multiple realities. Her work questions how objectivity is easily given to historical documents and juridical actions and considers the past as an effective vector of possible change. Biscotti’s work reflects the active role art plays in the construction of contemporary knowledge, while questioning the legitimacy of history and of those by whom it was built.