Net Milan
Palazzo Clerici, Milan 16.-21.04.24


A line of flight or a line of escape (French: ligne de fuite) is a concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their seminal 1970s work "Capitalism and Schizophrenia". It refers to the act of fleeing or eluding but also flowing, leaking or sliding towards the vanishing point (B.Massumi). Taken in this sense, ‘lines of flight’ can be understood as those hidden vectors by which one deviates from the pattern and deflects from being captured within some rigid system of control (plane of consistency/grid). In the context of our work, the title alludes to the specific inner kinetics of its enmeshed lines and surfaces.

The constructive base of the installation is a lightweight system of thin metal cells upon which a skin of transparent black and white netting is fluidly stretched, like a colony of quivering wings. For the first time, the bearing structure of a Net installation turned modular and fully emancipated, thus becoming an equally active, multiplying pattern within the object itself. The resulting “lines of flight” (escape trajectories which produce the inner dynamism of the piece) are affirmed by the fusion of sharp crystalline frames with the layers of duotone fabric. 

The intense contrast between black and white fields and the two-fold nature of the geometric layout ( rigid frame, flying diagonals) create various sequences of optical psychedelia like the dazzle effect, the moiré pattern and the perceived movement within the binary graphics. 

The site-specific installation was sponsored by Porsche’s “The Art of Dreams” initiative and presented during the Milan Design Week 2024, in a series of events devoted to the showcasing of Porsche’s Pepita pattern (created in collaboration with Vitra in the1960s and now resurrected in a limited edition). The host-space for the installation was a historical courtyard of a famous Milanese Palazzo Clerici. In this heavily regulated, heavily protected context, “Lines of Flight” acted as a large-scale experimental public furniture; a playful heterotopia allowing the visitors to experience the courtyard from unexpected, surreal angles while floating in a series of interconnected hammocks and negotiating their own stability, uncertainty, proprioception, nervousness... 

Like all Net installations, “Lines of Flight” is designed to be experienced and completed by the human user. For the opening event, a Dutch choreographer duo Imre and Marne van Opstal created a dance performance that worked towards demonstrating the spatial and visual versatility of the immersive structure. Considering that stretched nets are a type of surface which responds to movement and mass (they adapt to the body of the visitor but also demand unusual bodily engagement, a kinaesthetic exertion of sorts) this can act as a challenge or inspiration for both choreographers and the general public.  Due to the relative transparency and height of the netting, the audience could observe the upper levels of the installation from the ant’s perspective, which produced the illusion of levitating bodies and expanded the field of possibilities for both performers and the viewers. 

The structure was engineered by Format Engineers and manufactured by the Croatian furniture producer Prostoria.