ecco il guaio delle famiglie

 

 

(This was the trouble with families. Like invidious doctors, they knew just where it hurt.)

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Site-specific installation with performance, 2014, produced for the exhibition Questioni di famiglia (Family matters), CCC Strozzina, Firenze

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Based on a reflection on family dynamics, in particular on the issue of the unsaid and guilt complex, this project consists of an installation made of objects, images, sound pieces and a performative intervention.

The installation consists of a decontextualised domestic setting that has been recreated in the exhibition space. Here some everyday use objects, some images of objects drawn on the walls and some objects (drawn or real) that have lost their function, coexist in the same space, creating an ambience that is at the same time welcoming and unsettling, where one can sit down and listen to fragments of stories.

This stratification of signs emphasises the complexity of family relationships and emotional communication, which is never simple or direct. The intention of this project is thus also the one to create a resting area, a place to listen and reflect,  where different elements intertwine to create a complex and multifaceted narration, made of fragmented private tales. In the same space, at random intervals in time, the public can also take part in a performance.

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The stories audible in the installation come from interviews on the theme of family communication, that the artists made with 6 members of the museum’s staff.  These interviews, transcribed and re recorded by the artists, have been edited to create 3 apparent dialogues, but are really 3 pairs of monologues, during which the voices of the artists alternate and interrupt each other, without really interacting, like often happens in domestic confrontations. They are voices that talk without really paying attention to what the other is saying.  The 3 tracks together create a sort of confused murmur, that becomes comprehensible only when one goes near one of the 3 sound sources, the dinner table, the radio or the record player.

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A fourth station consists of an armchair situated next to a functioning telephone,  that will ring at random times during the exhibition’s length.  The public is invited to answer the phone and have a conversation with one of the two artists, who tells them a story of hers/his personal family history or listen to one that the person is willing to tell.  This performance is not recorded, nor documented in any way and the artists don’t know the identity of the person answering the phone. This performative act, that takes place for one person at a time, further complicates the plot of the story by re-enacting the dialogue dynamic through a private conversation that takes place in a public space between two strangers. The telephone conversation, enabling the artists to share a fragment of their personal history,  gives them a chance to get directly involved in the work.

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Almost all the furniture used for this installation comes from the house of the artists, that by bringing a part of their home in the museum, question the boundaries between public and private spaces, art and life, artistic and common use objects.

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