GLIMPSES OF THE DOCUMENTARY
curated by Marco Bertozzi
Arte Fiera - Mambo
Bologna 26-29 January 2017
Corpo Sensibile examines the confines between video art and documentary cinema - a porous boundary where the seemingly real becomes mingled with film cuts, tears and strip slips to produce original impressions and glimpses that cast into question the apparently realistic image. The works by young authors probe this mysterious relationship. Snippets of found footage, poems written in light, visual snatches that come close to an aesthetic experience push the boundaries to the edge of aesthetic experience where reality must be constantly re-invented and documentary cinema becomes the contrary of paradigmatic certainty. Corpo sensibile also aims to reconstruct a common generational arena. The artists involved all operate in an international dimension. Experience of residencies and collaborative periods has provided an impetus leading them to develop a hybrid poetic and contemporary art language. As a result, they are equally at home at film festivals or in the more classical exhibition and distribution channels of contemporary art.
There will be eight meetings – two a day – in which each artist will present some of his work in a conversation with Marco Bertozzi on the theme of the boundary - and if it exists - between the documentary film and contemporary art. Another discussion point will be around the film as performance, whose creative dimension involves the author’s physical person, diverse other media as well as his life experience – a range of poetic gestures with which the artist lays himself bare.
THE ARTISTS (in alphabetical order)
Milo Adami (Roma, 1981), Virginia Eleuteri Serpieri (Roma, 1974), Luca Ferri (Bergamo, 1976), Riccardo Giacconi (Tolentino, 1985), Chiara Malta (Roma, 1977), Caterina Erica Shanta (Landstuhl, 1986), Cosimo Terlizzi (Bitonto, 1973), Danilo Torre (Catania, 1978).
PLACES AND DATES
Corpo sensibile will be exhibited at Bologna’s MAMBO from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 January 2017. There will be two talks a day for a total of eight presentations (video + talk) lasting an hour and a quarter. The first talk will start at 5.00 p.m., the second at 6.30 p.m. On Saturday, 28 January 2017 at 2.30 p.m. the curator and some of the artists will also attend the general presentation of Focus at Artefiera. During the White Night (Saturday, 28) all the films making up the project will be shown from 8 p.m. through to midnight.
Marco Bertozzi teaches Documentary and Experimental Cinema at Venice’s IUAV University and belongs to the group of artists that in recent years has contributed to the rebirth of the Italian documentary film as a vehicle for renewed cultural and theoretic thrust. Bertozzi has taught Documentary Cinema at Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia and at the Conservatorio Internazionale di Scienze Audiovisive of Lugano, Switzerland. He has also curated Italian documentary festivals in France, Canada and the United States. His publications include the books L’idea documentaria, edited in 2003, Storia del documentario italiano (2008 – the Limina Award for the year’s best book on cinema) and Recycled Cinema (2012, the first book in Italian to look into found footage film. Bertozzi’s own films include Appunti romani (2004), Il senso degli altri (2007), Predappio in luce (2008), and Profughi a Cinecittà (2012). He recently directed “Corto reale. Gli anni del documentario italiano”, a 25-part series for the RAI-Storia channel.
Born in Rome in 1981, Milo Adami studied History of Art, subsequently attending Venice’s IUAV where he graduated in Visual Arts with Giorgio Agamben in 2007. In 2010, together with Luca Scivoletto, he directed his first documentary A Nord Est, which was screened at many festivals, winning several prizes. He has made several videos for artists, fashion designers and institutions like Rome’s MACRO. Admi combined video-making with academic studies, gaining his Doctorate from Rome’s La Sapienza University in 2016 with a dissertation entitled: Immagini in movimento: lo scompiglio dei formati, supporti e dispositivi tra video, cinema e arti visive (Images in Movement: the jumble of formats, supports and slides in videos, film and the visual arts).
Me video, 2006, 4’
A video self-portrait. Filmed with a fixed camera, the author’s body floats in space in an effort to abandon the realism of the human form and strive towards the extreme, unattainable, and perhaps even vacuous goal, of reproducing the images of artists who have preceded him.
A Nord Est, 2010, 44’ (with Luca Scivoletto)
A journey along the “Padana Superiore”, the trunk road from Venezia to Lake Garda. Leaving the eternal beauty of the lagoon city, the film explores a degraded region to the accompaniment of the stories and voices of those who suffer at first hand the glaring contradictions of this mythical northeast corner of Italy.
Il minestrone, 2016, 7’
An editing ‘divertissement’ comprising a disparate series of YouTube videos bound together by a word with multiple meanings: “action”. A tribute to the film by Sergio Citti of the same name, Il Minestrone is the first episode of a magic alphabet work dedicated to the Web.
VIRGINIA ELEUTERI SERPIERI
Born in Rome in 1974, Virginia Eleuteri Serpieri graduated from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia and also has a degree in Letters from La Sapienza University. Her experimental documentary films have been screened at several festivals such as the Rome Film Festival, the Pesaro Film Festival, Now&After (Rumania), Exis (South Korea), and Videoformes in France. Her 2015 documentary My Sister is a Painter, won the Casa Rossa Art Doc award at the 33rd Bellaria Film Festival.
Home, 2007, 10’
Home movie scenes from the past dialogue and contrast with fragments of digital animation. Home is the second chapter of an autobiographic trilogy, an investigation into memory using a creative mix of photographs, drawings, videos and animation.
Perduta visione, 2009, 5’
A summer’s day fifty years ago. A young girl walking in the mountains with three little girls. She’s wearing a red skirt with flower patterns; her blond hair covers her face and right eye. A young man sits in a blue Fiat 500 watching her. The image becomes indelibly fixed in our minds. Sound track and video tell two different stories, both accounts of the emotions aroused remembering that same scene.
My Sister is a Painter, 2014, 37’
There are many ways to describe others. Here, the artist has chosen an inward-looking gaze; a simple choice since the subject is her sister, Lisa. She first chose a word to sum up her sister’s work as a painter: body. This is where she begins the journey of getting to know the person.
Born in Bergamo, Italy in 1976, Luca Ferri works with images and words. Since 2011 he has been engaged with writing, photography and film directing, his work screened at national and international festivals. Ferri’s first full-length fiction film, Abacuc, released in 2015, was presented at the Film Festivals of Turin and Mar del Plata. With Cane Caro he explores how film footage, medical imagery and narrative voice can be combined. His latest work, Colombi, was screened at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.
Cane caro, 2015, 18’
Low quality film footage tells a story narrated by a monotonous mechanical voice. An elderly gentleman takes his beloved dog to an animal hospital to be visited by a Russian doctor who resembles Adorno. The dog’s blood has to be cleaned by a series of automatic machines. In the long exhaustive wait, the old man observes the comings and goings of doctors and nurses as he reflects on the pleasure he feels at entrusting himself to automatic mechanical procedures.
Tottori, 2015, 7’
We are in Tottori, Japan, in the smallest desert in the world, some 30 km², where Hiroshi Teshigahara’s film Woman in the Dunes was shot. Every year more than 2 million people come to this place that is constantly being changed by the wind and sea currents. As underlined by the musical score – an electric acoustic soundtrack composed by Dario Agazzi in 2015 – the “dots” are humans with their protective umbrellas wandering in an almost metaphysical landscape.
Colombi, 2016, 20’
A couple in love live through a century together while around them fashions, objects and films come and go in a slow, inexorable descent into horror. Their obsession for the octagonal shaped knobs of coffee machines and anonymous design accompanies them down the decades. Growing old and gradually losing their strength but never their wits, they prefer to exclude the world, sealing the shutters in their home, closing themselves away to leaf through old encyclopaedias on extinct animals.
Riccardo Giacconi studied the Visual Arts at IUAV, Venice, the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, and New York University. His work as both artist and filmmaker has been shown at several exhibitions, including the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims), Tranzitdisplay (Praguea), Peep-Hole (Milan), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin), and in the Résonance sector of the Lyon Biennale. In 2007, he co-founded the collective Blauer Hase, with which he curates the periodical Paesaggio and the Helicotrema Festival. Giacconi has been a resident artist on several occasions: Via Farini in Milan, Lugar in Dudas, Colombia, and the Macro in Rome – and has presented his films at several festivals, including the Turin Film Festival, the International Film Festival of Rome, the Marseille International Film Festival (where he won the 2015 Grand Jury Prize with the documentary Entrelazado).
Notre-Dame de Fourvière, 2011, 10’
A conversation with a priest on the concept of truth and deception, recorded in the confessional of the Church of Notre Dame in Fourvière, Lyon.
Entrelazado, 2014, 37’
In Cali, Colombia, a tailor, a puppeteer, a parapsychologist and a physicist tell stories about things that have apparently taken place in the town, from which emerge a link between the disappearance of a cow, someone being possessed by a puppet, a case of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox actually taking place, and a bus plunging into a river on account of a lion. Weaving the link between these events is the mechanical eye of a filmmaker. Stretching the visual possibilities of the medium to its limit reveals hidden relationships between the various events in details the human eye cannot isolate on account of the prime importance always attributed to the foreground. As a result, landscapes turn into mysterious, places where unidentified threats lurk and dark secrets lie in wait.
Born in Rome, Chiara Malta has lived in Paris since 2002. She has made several shorts that sit between fiction and documentary: L'Isle, J'attends une femme, Les yeux du renard, l'Amour à Trois, Histoire de Stefano screened at numerous international festivals and broadcast on television (France 2, Canal+). After her documentary feature film Armando e la politica – broadcast on Arte, and screened at the opening of the Turin Film Festival – she became artist in residence at Villa Medici in Rome. The winner of numerous film awards, Malta is currently working on her next film set in France, Italy and Rumania.
L’Isle (L’isola), 2004, 10’
During a hot summer a man works on an erotic animation movie. Concentrated in his silent work space, he begins to cast sly glances at the camera filming him …
J’attends une femme (Aspetto una donna), 2010, 20′
Mireille draws a nude woman and a dog for Olivia. Anna puts on her make-up. Priscillie and Virginie get undressed. Milo finds out about girls’ legs. Annie is at ease with the tools of her craft. Françoise reads the cards. Christian is jealous. And I film this little theatre while waiting for you to come …
L'Existence Selon Gabriel (L'esistenza secondo Gabriel), 2015, 20’
“When I was a child I knew everything. I woke up as an adult and I don’t know anything anymore …”. A philosophical tale in which the artist reflects on her childhood now in the past.
CATERINA ERICA SHANTA
Born in Landstuhl, Germany in 1986, Caterina Erica Shanta often makes use of the documentary as a means of exploring individual and collective memory. Following a first autobiographic film in 2012 entitled It’s too close to focus (E’ troppo vicino per mettere a fuoco), she has directed her research to the battle of images, as in Intersezioni: per un film senza immagini (2015), on the community and Moslem women’s network in Milan; or in Sogni, a documentary on presence and absence in fascist cinema of the Salò Republic in Venice between 1943-45. Currently, Shanta is working on the film Cielo Stellato she will be shooting in Matera in the next few months.
It’s too close to focus (È troppo vicino per mettere a fuoco, 2012 (with Valeria Marchesini), 13’
This autobiographical documentary tells the story of Caterina’s life through the photographs taken by her father and godfather, both in the army. The film is a micro-story in sense given the term by Carlo Ginzburg, her family’s story linking in with the wider historical scenario, from the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 to the Second Gulf War. All the photographs in the film come from Caterina Erica Shanta’s private family collection.
Vedere senza toccare, toccare senza Vedere, 2014, 16’
“I learn the manual gestures of factory workers to be able to film those hands in the closest detail. Filming the manual dexterity of the craft worker, whose expertise is revealed right down to the finger tips. The image enlarges, becoming a granular mesh of pixels that in turn becomes the very skin of the image. My gestures too are photographed by someone else on the scene while I was shooting…”
Intersezioni: per un film senza immagini, 2016, 17’
The visible hidden by stereotype. Fragments of interviews of women in Milan’s Moslem community read by a single voice. Different points of view, often contradictory, edited to tell the story of a little girl’s development as she becomes a woman and perhaps a mother. The choice not to produce anything visible, but still calling it a film is intended as a criticism of the state of the media image and an attempt to probe the human story in a different way.
Born in Bitonto (Bari, Italy) in 1973, Cosimo Terlizzi studied Art in Bologna, developing his work in diverse media: from photography and performance to video art. His subjects start with the individual to then reach out into the social sphere. His major instrument of investigation is the portrait. Terlizzi has exhibited in museums and galleries such as Bologna’s Galleria d'Arte Moderna, the Fondazione Merz of Turin, the Contemporary Art Gallery of Trent, Rome’s MACRO, the National Museum di Breslavia, and Switzerland’s Musée des Beaux-Arts de La Chaux-de-Fonds. He has presented at film festivals like the Rome International Film Festival, the London International Documentary Festival, Marseille’s International Festival of Mediterranean Documentary and Reportage in Marseille, and France Doc in Paris.
L’uomo doppio, 2012, 67’
«Destroy your ego» are the words written on the wall of the apartment of a friend who dies in tragic circumstances. These words lead Cosimo to reflect and give himself up to a process of self-knowledge. This audiovisual diary of a couple mingles voyeurism, travel to different geographical locations and multi-media betrayals. The cues he collects take him beyond any point he expected, bringing to light the dark side both of himself and his companion. This is an investigation into man’s nature, ever poised between instinct and moral conscience.
La benedizione degli animali, 2013, 7’
A cow looks at itself in a mirror, a giant pig wallows in a muddy puddle; a rabbit’s foot hangs as a good-luck charm; a pheasant squawks to warn of an approaching stranger. The threat of death hangs heavy in this animal farm. But instead, what happens is a ritual blessing celebrating the drama and beauty of life.
Born in Catania in 1997, Danilo Torre started work as an editor with what were then innovative digital systems. In 2003, he received his diploma in editing at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, where is now teaches Editing Techniques. Found footage and Mash-up are the main avenues of his artistic work. In 2011, Torre won the Milano Talenti Creativi award with the project Geniuslocifilm, first at the Paolo Grassi School, then at the Ex Manifattura Tabacchi, and finally at the Officine Creative Ansaldo. In 2012, he was part of the exhibition on art films “Lo Sguardo Espanso” where, his work Oblò appeared alongside that of Paolo Gioli and futurist cinema. Torre is part of the Analogue Resistance Front.
Febbre, 2000, 5’
This lysergic video mixing unedited found-footage and mash-up is an aggressive attack on the image of women, seen as figures, symbols, bodies as well as metaphors for creativity and inspiration. A work of iconoclastic creativity that burns and deforms, generating explosions of lights and colours …
Magic fantasy light MFL, 2003, 7’
A sham memory grafted into a non-organic creature reviews the life of a hypothetical woman, probing private memories of seaside scenes and artisan film combustion.
In Focus Memories 2005, 5’
The video takes its cue from the personal memories of unknown people in an attempt to focus on and crystalize the moment when everything burns and memory disappears. Every combustion is an unrepeatable act since the frame in question burns, and however like another frame it may be, it is and was only and exclusively itself …
Inaudible Fragment 2011, 3’, 25’’
Mash-up, found footage and situational détournement. The film includes Brechtian themes like revolution, work, flesh and communism. The narrative structure begins with revolution, images of Lenin and Berlin during the Weimar Republic, meshed with second-rate cowboy movies and in the background, music by Auber…
Bank Robbers, 2014, 5’
Trans-medial installation comprising cathode monitors reproducing bank robbery scenes, interspersed with ‘supercuts’ from film classics and CCTV pictures of hold-ups. Robbers are called ‘authors’ as if the creators of a book, film or any other intellectual achievement. Re-appropriation is the underlying theme of the work.
Corpo Sensibile - Programme, MAMbo
Thursday, 26 January
5 p.m. - Caterina Erica Shanta
6.30 p.m. - Milo Adami
5 p.m. - Danilo Torre
6.30 p.m. - Virginia Eleuteri Serpieri
5 p.m. - Chiara Malta
6.30 p.m. - Cosimo Terlizzi
5 p.m. - Riccardo Giacconi
6.30 p.m. - Luca Ferri