Anti-Social Car, so the Panda becomes a public work of art

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What is a strange Panda doing, much longer and narrower than normal, exposed in the middle of a public park? To understand this, we talked to the artist who created it, Viola Pantano. We interviewed her in the Ada art gallery, shortly after the official presentation of the work, which she has (and will have for ten years) the place of honor in the Villa Comunale of Frosinone. With her we understood what “Anti-social Car” means – the title of the work – and we retraced the stages of a journey that began thanks to “Lazio Contemporaneo” 2020, a call from the Lazio Region created to finance monumental and semi-permanent works of artists under 35 residing in the region. A project promoted by Eticae – Stewardship in Action, by the Ada Advisor agency and curated by qwatz, contemporary art platform.

The pandemic has forced humanity to discover and share the experience of distancing, generating several negative consequences. For this reason, the Anti-social Car has five individual seats, separated from each other: the Fiat Panda has become a sort of device for investigating the aesthetics and identity of relationships during and after the pandemic.

How did the idea for this work come about?

Sometimes the ideas are not born in a complete form, but they arise from suggestions had some time before which then at a certain moment come into full focus. It all started from a design, almost a single line, then I chose the Panda also for its roots in the territory due to the Cassino plant which is nearby.

When did the work last and how did it go?

A year ago I started working on the first Panda and 3D design. At first I thought of using four, in the end it took seven for all the pieces, especially for the doors, since to make only one I used four. And he thinks that initially I thought of making the work even longer, so much so that I wanted to make it on site, even if it turned out to be impracticable and therefore I had to reduce the measures. I also wanted to cover the whole car with mirrors, to push people to observe themselves and observe the reality around them, but the costs would have been absurd.

What is the founding thought of the Anti-social Car?

The first thought behind this work is that it must have been in Frosinone, where I lived for many years. So I felt a certain responsibility and I particularly cared about it; beyond the visual meaning, I wanted to try to create a little sociality around a work of art. The work is located in a very popular public park, where anyone can see it and can be stimulated in any way to comment, reflect, think but also to criticize.

Instead, how did this particular name come about?

It all started from reading an article that talked about the Anti Social Social Club brand, then I read the story of its founder, a person who spent a few years of his life in a kind of isolation. From there I began to reflect on the fact that even if social networks should bring us closer, in reality we are all even more distant. And so the name was born.

And now, what will happen in the next ten years? Will the work remain as it is?

The first thing to evaluate will be people’s reaction. The work could also be smeared and that too would have a meaning to question about. Going back to the mirrors I was talking about earlier, there may be some developments in that sense. Also, surely there will be other events, performances and dedicated moments where other arts can merge, because I really like mixing. Finally we are preparing a book, where there will be many interesting contents, including an interview with Giugiaro.

Can you give us a little preview?

Well, Giugiaro is a legend of industrial design and the creator of the Panda, but he is also an exquisite person. Talking to him was a great experience and he told me he never expected the Panda to become a work of art. It was a great satisfaction.

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