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2019 - ongoing
Beyond Archive – Exhibition and symposium
Undead Voices focuses on the archive as a subject rather than a repository of material, and invites us to reflect critically on the absences it encompasses, on the politics of knowledge, on possible alternative ways of writing history. The starting point is a Super 8mm amateur film, Donne emergete!, made in 1975 by filmmaker Isabella Bruno. Examination of the reel, recently rediscovered and consigned to the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia ANCI, revealed that the film is, according to archival criteria, damaged beyond repair. Reviewing its devastated chemical emulsions, the project exposes the effects of the marginalisation of “minor cinemas” and the dissemination or destruction of the material culture related to the movements of contestation in Italy in the 1970s. It nevertheless manages to retrieve the ghostly sequences documenting feminist demonstrations and assemblies, gestures of resistance and love, as well as the several songs that constitute the soundtrack – that reveal strange and transgressive invocations of undead voices calling out to us from the afterlife.
The video installation – that also includes banners and historical material – emphasises the spectral, hauntological quality of cinema and becomes an experiment with its potential for reanimation. The film production creates a temporality in which past and present feminist artistic practices can reach out to each other across time and resonate together. It invents a form that combines different generations and registers of images, interweaving narration and song, breaking the hierarchy between the semantic and the vocal.
This first version is the result of discussions with film historian Annamaria Licciardello. It has developed through a series of collective listening sessions and collaborations with performers Alessandra Eramo and Anna Frei aka DJ Fred Hystère. The project will continue with additional research into feminist archives, with filming sessions on the lakeside of Lago di Vico (where Isabella Bruno lived the last years of her life), and with conversations with several of the protagonists involved in the cine-clubs and feminist movement in Rome.
Starting from the collaboration between two different but complementary archives, which preserve two collections related to video art (Careof) and corporate films (Archivio Nazionale Cinema Impresa), Beyond Archive develops a social, political and cultural research. The project investigates the modernist utopia from multifaceted perspectives, taking the industrial heritage left by Adriano Olivetti as a starting point.
The Ivrea archive shows an important portrait of post-war and industrialized Italy, experiencing social change and internal conflicts in the world of work. This overview includes the development of labour – and post-labour – movement; the rising of feminist movement inside and outside factories; the debate on rights and on technological innovation. The archive illustrates how design and architecture had influenced some of the most illuminated figures of the Italian entrepreneurial landscape between the 1950s and the 70s. This material is not only the mirror of the idea of a country and of what art, business, design and architecture, at different times and with different sensitivities, have developed. It can become a resource for artists and the public for creating investigative models to transfigure this identity, and putting it at the center of the discussion.
How has work changed? And what about the relation between production and society? What are the reflections that nourish our relationship with that historical memory today? What imagery has been created from the idea of well-being rooted in the capitalist model? What have been the effects of the modernist utopia produced in the age of colonization outside the western world?
with Raphaël Cuomo / Maria Iorio and Beto Shwafaty
I. Archive philosophy; II. Living Archive – archive as space for continuous (re)definition of its own statute and role; III. Archival practices – historical or living memory
with Matina Angelotti, Cristina Baldacci, Evan Calder Williams, Federica Martini, Annamaria Licciardello, Matteo Lucchetti, Marco Peroni, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Enrico Terrone
November 23, 2019
Casa Blu Olivetti, Ivrea (IT)