Discipula is an artist collective working in the field of visual research, founded in 2013 by Marco Paltrinieri, Mirko Smerdel and Tommaso Tanini: a social psychologist, a visual artist and a photographer respectively. Discipula produces image-based art projects; they design, self-publish and distribute printed matter, and hold lectures and workshops. Working across a range of media, Discipula delves into the production, use and consumption of images and explores the relationship between fact and fiction. Discipula’s works have been exhibited, among others, at the Mücsarnok (Budapest), the Format Photography Festival (Derby), Photo 50 – London Art Fair, the Krakow Photomonth and the Tokyo Institute of Photography.
F: What was your first approach to photography?
MP: I approached photography as a psychology student. I believed it was the best tool to use in order to reflect on the complexity of reality.
MS: My interest in photography started by collecting amateurish pictures taken by anonymous people. But it is thanks to my teacher and artist Francesco Jodice that I started to look at photography in a very different way.
TT: It started in a very classic way. That is to say, using my father’s old camera to shoot pictures which I then developed with my father’s old dark room equipment. At a later stage, I realised it was something that allowed me to play freely in an attempt to control what I was looking at.
F: Who or what had an influence on what you do?
MP: When I was a child, my father used to allow me to watch weird, often scary, but always beautiful movies with him. It definitely had a strong impact on me.
MS: Guy Debord stole my virginity.
TT: Maybe my Hungarian grandmother. Since I was a child, and for many reasons.
F: What stories do you like to tell?
MP: Stories that have no beginning and no end.
MS: Multilayered and open-ended stories.
TT: I like to tell stories in which I feel I could be personally involved.
F: What does it mean to be independent?
MP: To believe in something enough to smile at your masochism.
MS: Just everything.
TT: I can only imagine a solitary man, living at the end of the world knitting his new wool hat for the coming winter while his sheeps are freezing outside.
F: What is the best photobook you have seen so far?
MP: The Whole Earth Catalog by Stewart Brand (1968).
MS: Vivere a Milano by Aldo Bonasia and Nanni Balestrini (1978).
TT: Waffenruhe by Michael Schmidt (1987).
F: What is the best exhibition you have seen recently?
MP: The collection of Simon Spierer’s sculptures at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, last spring.
MS: Hablemos de Reparaciones by Beto Shwafaty at Prometeo Gallery in Milan, last June.
TT: Unedited History. Iran 1960 – 2014 at the MAXXI in Rome, last year.
F: And the record you like the most?
MP: I’m a music geek so I can only tell you the record I like the most today: Equiknoxx, Bird Sound Power (2016).
MS: I don’t know, there are so many. I grew up with punk rock, hardcore, new wave and industrial music. My favorite today is: Hajj by Muslimgauze (1986).
TT: One among many is Deceit by This Heat (1981). It comes together with a lot of experiences and memories.
F: What are your future projects?
MP: Stop working online only and have a real studio with Tommaso and Mirko.
MS: Building socialism with consciousness.
TT: Stop working online only and have a real studio with Marco and Mirko.
Conversation with Discipula Tuesday, September 13 at 7 pm Viasaterna Via Leopardi 32, Milan www.viasaterna.com www.discipulaeditions.com