Giuseppe Moscatello in Conversation with Fakewhale

Art Producer, Curator, and Co-Founder of Foundry Downtown in Dubai, Giuseppe Moscatello brings over 15 years of experience across the cultural landscapes of the UAE and Italy. With a robust network of relationships with key cultural figures both regionally and internationally, he specializes in developing innovative art, design, and cultural projects.

In conversation with Fakewhale, Giuseppe shares the highlights of his journey through the art world—from his formative years in Rome to his visionary projects that integrate digital art within physical spaces. All with a special focus on his dual role as an artist and a curator, which provides him with a unique perspective on the evolving dynamics of art production and exhibition when it comes to the entanglement of traditional and digital art forms.

Giuseppe Moscatello, portrait

Fakewhale: Could you share some insights into your early life and the experiences that shaped your passion for art and curation?

Giuseppe Moscatello: My journey in the arts began during my formative years at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome. It was there, under the mentoring of Fabio Mauri, that my understanding of exhibition conception and production became deeper. Then when I moved to the UAE, my subsequent experience as cofounder at Maraya Art Centre, 1971 Design Space, and Foundry Downtown; as well as other exhibitions curations, allowed me to curate and oversee the production of more than 100 exhibitions.

Curation is a dynamic practice that continues to evolve over time and adapts to each unique project. I have to say that I have a unique perspective, which is shaped by my dual roles as an artist and an art producer. This duality provides me with a comprehensive view of the exhibition process, from conceptualization to execution, enabling me to appreciate and navigate the multifaceted nature of the art world. It really put me in a vantage point, where I can understand the different perspectives of this system.

Fakewhale: Reflecting on your career trajectory, can you identify a moment or decision that was particularly pivotal in shaping the path that led you to your current role as director at Foundry?

Giuseppe Moscatello: The transition from artist to curator was gradual but natural. My role at Maraya Art Centre served as a critical turning point. It was a vibrant cultural hub where I not only curated exhibitions but also engaged with a community of artists, critics, and art lovers. Each project at the Centre, along with my work at 1971 Design Space and Foundry Downtown, added layers to my curatorial practice, enabling me to refine my approach to exhibition-making.

Through this experience I have approached curation from a unique angle — through the lens of an artist.

More recently, I have been closely observing the rise of digital art during the NFT boom. This period was enlightening; it made me recognize the potential in nurturing a community of artists engaged with digital technology who may not have extensive experience in showcasing their work in physical spaces, and this was the “ah ha” moment through which I got the idea of integrating digital art and innovative technologies within tangible environments. Embracing this new direction led to my current role as the director at Foundry. This hybrid space was created to fill the gap in the art ecosystem in the region; but also, aiming to bridge the gap between new technologies and physical exhibition spaces. It’s here that I see a future for artists to explore and for audiences to engage with art in transformative ways.

Giuseppe Moscatello
Third Dimension installation view, by Skygolpe curated by Giuseppe Moscatello, Foundry Downtown Dubai, November 2023-January 2024

Fakewhale: With Foundry positioned as a multifunctional cultural hub, what long-term impacts do you aspire to create in the Dubai arts scene? How do you envision these efforts evolving over the next decade?

Giuseppe Moscatello: Foundry was established as a response to the changing dynamics of the art ecosystem, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19, which has significantly altered our society and the art world. The art ecosystem now demands new formats and standards, and I believe a hybrid concept like Foundry can better meet these needs. I envision an art world that is more global and fluid, where pop-up projects and temporary exhibitions occur in various locations around the world, perhaps even simultaneously.

Our format at Foundry are short term exhibitions, which could create more opportunities for new shows and similar content. This model could also decrease production costs and promote a more sustainable system, particularly beneficial as more independent and self-funded cultural entrepreneurs emerge.

Fakewhale: Foundry hosted Third Dimension by Skygolpe from November 2023 to January 2024. Working alongside Skygolpe, who has such a distinctive approach to digital and physical art forms, what insights can you share about the collaboration process? In what ways did your visions align and influence the final presentation of the works?

Giuseppe Moscatello: Working with Skygolpe marked a significant milestone in my curatorial career. Upon our initial meeting, it was evident that he was not your typical artist. His distinct approach places him at an advantageous point within the art scene. Skygolpe is among the few from the NFT boom who have strategically navigated the market’s metamorphosis.

The buildup to the “Third Dimension” project began a year in advance. It was the result of profound conversations that spanned strategic, financial, and philosophical discourse. These talks fostered a mutual understanding that transcended the conventional artist-curator dialogue. These discussions with Skygolpe have since matured into a regular exchange where larger projects and visions are discussed, assessed, and possibly strategized for upcoming initiatives.

Giuseppe Moscatello
Third Dimension installation view, by Skygolpe curated by Giuseppe Moscatello, Foundry Downtown Dubai, November 2023-January 2024

Fakewhale: Considering the recent exhibition we organized together for AGH1 this March, how do you see the role of digital and generative art evolving within the traditional gallery space? What impact do you believe such exhibitions have on the perception and valuation of digital art within the broader art market?

Giuseppe Moscatello: As I’ve highlighted before, we find ourselves in a pivotal transitional period that reflects both epochal and generational shifts. There is a big community of digital artists and creators who incorporate technology into their work and now face the challenge of adapting these works to a physical context. However, it goes beyond simple adaptation; there is a strong need to create harmony and define a meaningful narrative that will amplify the philosophical foundations of their work within its new context.

Digital art transcends being merely a new genre; it represents a burgeoning movement that is almost entirely distinct from the traditional art ecosystem. This detachment provides a unique opportunity to define and establish new parameters and forge a bespoke system for a new era in the art world.

In considering market dynamics, it’s evident that generative art has already gained a favorable standing within the digital art community. Its reputation is becoming stronger and more entrenched among traditional collectors as well. However, such developments will happen gradually, as the progress of generative art is linked with the mass adoption of blockchain technology.

Fakewhale: With advancing digital art forms, the curator often acts as a mediator between technology and the audience. How do you see your role evolving with these changes, and what skills do you think are most crucial for curators in this new art landscape?

Giuseppe Moscatello: At this critical moment in history, the role of the curator is more crucial than ever. However, their responsibility extends beyond the traditional academic and theoretical approaches. Curators must possess a comprehensive vision that includes a deep understanding of technology and its aesthetic implications on the overall narrative of exhibitions, as well as its impact on the wider audience’s perception; and this could also lead to redefining conventional concepts.

Curators must use a more pronounced influence in conveying the artistic message to the public. In this significant moment, curators carry the weighty task of investigating, interpreting, mediating, emphasizing, transforming, and delivering. They may act as facilitators and ambassadors who, with their cultural intelligence and persuasive power, will help bridge the gap between the creative community and the various cultural domains, up to the most institutional organizations.

Giuseppe Moscatello
AGH1 installation view, by Kim Asendorf, Andreas Gysin and Leander Herzog, presented by Fakewhale under the curation of Giuseppe Moscatello, Foundry Downtown Dubai, March 2024

Fakewhale: Is there a particular project or achievement in your career that you find especially fulfilling? How has this experience shaped your approach to future projects?

Giuseppe Moscatello: Launching Foundry Downtown presented the opportunity to conceptualize, shape, and craft the identity of a new platform. As a cultural entrepreneur, I am always captivated by the prospects that each new project brings, where I might bridge gaps in the art and cultural ecosystem, enabling new forms of expression. Collaborating with Fakewhale has been an extraordinary experience; engaging with the founding members to brainstorm and develop new visions and perspectives has been immensely gratifying.

Fakewhale: Are there any new projects or collaborations you are currently involved in or planning that you would like to share?

Giuseppe Moscatello: Currently, I am closely observing and assessing this significant moment in history, examining how people respond to the new technological art movements. I am watching the reactions of institutions, scrutinizing their approaches, and measuring the accuracy and meaningfulness of their responses. In this context, I am strategizing about the near and distant future, contemplating how spaces and organizations will continue to react to these phenomena. Being involved in placemaking and collaborating with emerging artists remains my passion and mission.

Giuseppe Moscatello
AGH1 installation view, by Kim Asendorf, Andreas Gysin and Leander Herzog, presented by Fakewhale under the curation of Giuseppe Moscatello, Foundry Downtown Dubai, March 2024

Founded in 2021, Fakewhale advocates the digital art market's evolution. Viewing NFT technology as a container for art, and leveraging the expansive scope of digital culture, Fakewhale strives to shape a new ecosystem in which art and technology become the starting point, rather than the final destination.

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