OFELIA NON ANNEGA, 2016 (on demand)
This is a performance-based art film, a layered and multifaceted cinematic experience, a work made of collaged hybridizations. The film was made by combining historical archival footage, selected from the film Archive collected by Istituto Luce Cinecittà, and original performance art pieces that I conceived inspired by the repertoire itself. The film moves between provocative body-art and body-manipulation scenes, visually engaging ideas and mesmerizing scenarios and costumes, disturbing living installations, and the celebration of feminine beauty and strength. At the center of the story is an Ophelia who is different from the one-handed down by the literary tradition: not a shy and fragile teenager, but many women of different colors, features, and ages. A modern and bittersweet Ophelia. An Ophelia who in the end does not drown, rejecting her destiny as a romantic heroine to become a "normal person."
Plump, stubborn, unconventional, offbeat, ambitious, unstoppable: the hippopotamus poetess is one of us! Hippopoetess is an experimental animation-based film that tells the story of the American writer Amy Lowell and her desire to succeed in a world dominated by men. A visual symphony that mixes the languages of the documentary, performance, video art, and 3d animation, to give back, with an absolutely experimental and poetic style, sometimes tragic and sometimes comic, the story of this interesting figure. With her fatness, her ambition, her intrusiveness, her resourcefulness, her contempt for conventions, her boisterous and stubborn character, her inability to “remain in her place”, her braveness in dealing with the men of her times and assert her ideas, I immediately fell in love with Amy, a militant feminist without knowing she was one.
LOOKING FOR OZ, 2016
This is a sixty-minute experimental film that I wrote and directed in Jerusalem in May 2016, upon invitation of the New Media Department of Musrara Art School. The film is a performance-based production made of symbolic actions staged around the city, with the participation of local artists and performers, while visually strong imagery and guerrilla-like actions involved the community in a game of provocations on the theme of identity and belonging.
DOPO TANTA NEBBIA, 2021
In the great show of the new health emergency, the acrylic shield has become a new fourth wall, but it is also a screen where our daily dreams and fears are projected. Acrylic screen, light, shadow, red and black paint, and the words of Ungaretti, are the materials of the new performance by Francesca Fini, an absolute preview for Ibrida Festival 2021.
SCONFINAMENTO - full performance, 2020
During the COVID-19 LockDown, the Italian squares, always so full of life and rowdy, were suddenly silent and deserted, while life was hiding inside the houses, inside the silent buildings that harmoniously surround them. Daily life, once feverish, has become a fleeting and ephemeral circumstance: the squares were controlled by police vans, enlivened by the flight of a seagull, by a flag in the wind, by a runner's bicycle, by a couple wearing masks while walking the dog. And so the loners adventuring in the confined city were narrative elements of a dystopian and cinematic story, which I started spying on avidly, through the dense system of tourist and surveillance webcams, accessible via the web, which I have discovered oversee almost every city in Italy. While I was locked in my studio, it gave me relief to look 'outside', to spy those beautiful airy and sunny squares - the places where I would have had an aperitif and a nice dinner, under normal conditions, through this virtual window on my computer screen. I also came to project these images, on the wall of my room, as in a new panopticon urged by the discomfort of the quarantine. At that point, being an artist working with live media and interaction design, I decided to take the next step. Through motion tracking technology, I grabbed the webcam feed and passed it to a software, specially compiled for this project, which records and visually tracks the movement of people, vehicles, and animals, processing all the data flow and turning it into a concert for synth: movements generate sounds, modulations, graphic visualizations, digital effects. Finally, I returned everything back to the network, through a series of live streaming on Facebook, in a creative ring of real-time manipulations and interpretations.
PLANET PINK / PANOPTICON1, 2021
My Panopticon is a landscape where the waste of humanity accumulates, the bundled and forgotten things that contain their destiny. A dump of hopes, passions, and relics of a creative and devouring species. Our memories then become ballast, poison, and detritus. We are a virus, as Agent Smith said in The Matrix, grasshoppers mesmerized by the sound of the herd's blind meal. And so the lines taken from the iconic ballad 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, become an obsessive and alienating chant, punctuating the fall towards the abyss/origin of our civilization. Because we were unable to overcome technological adolescence, and Culture, which was to save us, turned out to be the Trojan horse of our animal Nature.
A Dadaist collage that plays on the concept of identity, elaborated through impossible selfies taken by the protagonists of famous masterpieces in the history of portraiture and self-portrait. These portraits come alive, piercing the boundaries of their temporal and cultural definition. Then suddenly they grab a smartphone, they call and maybe wait, the eternal expectation of those who meet a call center. Contemporary everyday life insinuates itself, alienating and alienated, within the lyrical, utopian, and idealized world of a portrait. What do you hide under your skin, flayed by the toxic radiation of mobile phones? What would Leonardo da Vinci or Andy Warhol have done with this evil device?
FAIR AND LOST, 2012
This is probably my most famous work, ad it’s a video-performance art piece, which means that it’s a performative action made for the camera. During the live performative version in front of an actual audience, I wear therapy electrodes on both arms, set to maximum voltage, and try to put on makeup. Involuntary muscle contractions caused by electric shock are very strong so that I cannot control the hands and the makeup spreads all over, turning my face into a grotesque mask. The hysterical, uncontrollable, movement of the hand represents the disease of social habit, which reveals its fragility when the system appears on the point of collapsing: the deep conflict between conscious behavior and external social conditioning. Even crying is involuntary, caused by the black pencil and mascara entering my eyes since I cannot calibrate the movement of the hand. A mechanical cry that is automatically transmitted to the audience, in a sort of empathic conditioned connection, unconscious and therefore completely useless.
A TIME TRAVEL, 2019
A portrait of Dorian Gray (in reality, the “Portrait of a young man”, by Nicolaes Maes, 1675 - 1685 ) floats in the stellar void, in the primordial soup of a timeless world. The handsome young man has only to push a button to turn on the time machine and begin his journey through the history of humanity that blends with legends, literature, and mythology.
VANITAS VANITATUM, 2020
Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas (from Latin: the vanity of vanities, and all things are vanity), is a famous biblical passage taken from Ecclesiastes, often cited to affirm the emptiness of earthly concerns and the ephemeral character of the joys and glories achieved in the material world. This concept is the basis of the memento mori: the allegorical still-life, where an hourglass glittering in the dark, a skull resting on a book, a flickering candle next to a window, remind us of the transience of beauty and the fragility of the human condition. Starting from this principle, I once again practice my technique of fake found-footage, which consists in the processing of impossible films, created through the surrealist animation of static images that belong to pre-cinematographic cultures. Ancient prints, paintings, miniatures, tapestries, and portraits of the past come to life, inside a digital time machine that collects imaginary artifacts and fragments over the centuries, recomposing them in a contemporary three-dimensional landscape. A landscape that magically comes to life again in the present, but only to decompose before our eyes, devoured by digital insects, or simply falling asleep in front of the animated hourglass in the screen of a Mac Classic running out of memory. In the two screens side by side, we will see the original image and its animated contemporary reworking.
THE PAPERWALL, 2019
A pictorial-performative installation that I developed with daily sessions for two weeks during a residency at the Macro Museum in Rome. The installation begins with the construction of a symbolic wall, made by assembling cardboard modules found by chance in the network, whose sinister shape - which would seem to be the fruit of the manufacturer’s unawareness - fits perfectly into the concept of the work. The Wall, whatever its color, its latitude, and its substance, material or mental, is a diabolic idea: besides keeping out the unwanted, it imprisons people inside. The Wall, therefore, has a double value: separation from the outside and control of the interior. This principle has its plastic manifestation in the second phase of the work, when, within the area circumscribed by the Wall, I marked the territory with the colors, symbols, and shapes of the American flag. In this phase, I was "assisted" by some small robots that interacted with the installation. Those that I place inside the Wall, equipped with black markers, contribute and at the same time always interfere with my design, but also tend to expand their random trajectories, ending up inevitably at the borders, where they attack the cardboard bricks looking for a way out. The performance then develops in my attempt to continue the design, while in the meantime I try to monitor the behavior of the robots, bringing them back within the fixed perimeter when they manage to get out, and restoring the wall failures: a clumsy and labored dance in which is consumed the grotesque nature of control. If one would want to see sense in the mechanical behavior of these unconscious devices, you could say that the Wall is a prison, before being an obstacle, and that paradoxically it’s going to affect those inside primarily. Because no mechanical or biological system, simple or complex, programmed to expand, can be held within a closed and circumscribed area. On the one hand, we have the Wall, on the other an unstoppable and imponderable entropy.
It is the beginning of the 20th century and three children are posing for a family photo. The children are young pioneers in a colony of Christian immigrants in Jerusalem. The subsequent intervention of the photographer has added to their bewildered faces the false colors of the photos of the period; a combination of chromatic shades with the odor of cookies and hot milk, porcelain dolls, long sea journeys, dusty old books, and an artificial “innocence”. This is the point of departure for a digital transformation in which the lower part of my face replaces that of the children, in a reversal of time and meaning crystallized in a non-time and non-meaning, as a different kind of story comes to light which, superimposing itself on the peculiar circumstances in which the photo was taken, looks for its metaphorical significance. In this way, the three children become three human archetypes imprisoned in the eternal pillory of a family photo. It is a forced communion that translates into reciprocal impatience and increasing verbal violence that superimposes itself on the words, preventing any kind of interaction. The sense of incommunicableness is obtained by juxtaposing fragments of phrases found on the Internet, in a mash-up that unravels into a contemporary senseless dialogue that reveals how a word not listened to is, consciously or not, violence in its pure state. And therefore the universe concealed in this photo, the epic of human dreams and illusions, in the family album of the search for a lost innocence by these ancient pioneers, is translated into a form of violence that throughout history has brought extreme consequences. When there is only the word, one’s own, the mouth becomes a weapon. Nonetheless, the invitation to listen is recuperated in the end, in a sort of message of hope that I consign to the world through these three unknowing ancestors.