On her website, Alexia Serpentini states that she is an “artist and independent researcher focusing on the development of post-conflict cultural policy, identity regulation, and the intersections between culture and conflict.” Although an experienced photographer and video filmmaker, she uses these more as tools in the production of conceptual work made manifest as performances and site-specific installations. Serpentini is one of a generation of artists who embrace an expansive definition of art and collaboration: “I am interested in Social Practice and participant-driven work, primarily using my art as a vehicle to listen to perspectives outside of my own.”
That heavy reliance on the actions of others to realize her vision, often with tenuous connections forged through open calls, lends an element of randomness, and even risk, to Serpentini’s projects, but it is, arguably, what makes her work so fascinating. For one project, called, “What We Were Shown”, she would spend 60 seconds photographing the window of strangers who had responded to her request (artist and subject never met). The participants would determine what would be visible through the window at the prearranged time, and Serpentini received that revelation through her lens.
For The 2016 Future is Now project, Serpentini has been working with Jeffersontown High School student Shaii Morton. The intention is, in part, for the artists to inspire the student, but Serpentini was happily surprised to find the opposite was true: “During our first chat I knew she was special – Shaii came right out of the gate with at least three different ideas and immediately went to work. She is driven, hardworking, and always on the move, but my favorite thing about Shaii is that she isn’t afraid to experiment. With a background in photography she jumped at the opportunity to try new, collaborative ideas outside of her comfort zone. Every time we meet I feel inspired and impressed – I can’t wait to see what she does next!“
The Future is Now is a mentorship program conceived by Daniel Pfalzgraf and Jackie Pallesen that matches Jefferson County Public School high school students with professional local artists in Louisville, Kentucky. This summer, the program, which is administered by Louisville Visual Art, is partnering with The Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University.
Us, by Alexia Serpentini
digital photograph of performance with vinyl backdrop, size n/a, 2016
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At a Glance:
Name: Alexia Serpentini
Hometown: Akron, OH
BFA - 3D Studio Art, University of Louisville / BFA - 2D Studio Art, University of Louisville / MFA - Creative Cities, Kings College London