Leone Contini

Blu Oltremare, 2014
Video, color, sound, 9’ 22“

I found an old map of Albania under the Italian occupation; it belonged to my grandfather who was in theBalkans during WWII. The map marked several places with dots, evidencing an invasion, an attempt of control and domination. Today each dot is a void, echoing both a personal and collective amnesia: my family lost all information about he map, as Italy have denied its imperialist past. I therefore retraced those warpaths from a different perspective and turned the map from a tool of control into a platform to sew relations. Out of this meticulous net of journeys I created an audio-visual-textual archive and shared it in the form of a blog: hartaethesarit.wordpress.com/. A pivotal element in my fieldwork research relates to homemade aerials built during the communist time, used to reach the Italian TV signal. The aerial was a “relational device” indeed, created to reach the “Other”; at the same time the imagery transmitted through the aerial was nothing but the idealized simulacra of the consumer society. Watching Italian TV and the subsequent mass emigration was a yearning towards a false promise. In 1991 a ferry crowded with twenty thousand people arrived in Bari: this super-iconic image was the archetype of a new collective fear and Italy dived into xenophobia. This is why I chose Bari as the location for my final intervention: in Albania I collected several sketch projects for aerials and, once in Bari and together with Albanian migrants, we built one. Finally, after many failures, we managed to reach the Albanian signal. This action reciprocates a gaze through the Adriatic Sea.