Dual-channel video installation, 5' 37'', color, sound, 2017
Sound Artist Giuseppe Cordaro
Please note, this is a split screen preview of a 2 channel video installation to be watched with headphones
In Capo Ponente, the westernmost point of Lampedusa, a monumental deposit stands out against the horizon: wooden boats recovered while rescuing migrants at sea are piled on top of each other. In spite of their bulky size, tourists coming here to watch the sunset don’t seem to notice them.
It’s as if they were part of the landscape.
During my stay on the island, I went to Capo Ponente every day at sunset to observe these boats and search for objects and personal belongings that migrants had on them while travelling. Waiting to be disposed of or reclaimed by their owners, these precarious rafts are what’s left of the journeys and broken dreams of the tens of thousands of people who either died at sea or ended up stuck in a European country, waiting for work and for their asylum requests to be processed.
Abbaglio is a diptych of images that presents the deposit as a sculptural group whose silhouette creates backlit geometries that contrast with the sky. During the shooting I used the waning sunlight to create an effect of alternation between shadow and light. This way, the act of seeing becomes a dazzle that replicates the migrants’ experience as they spot the Lampedusa lighthouse from afar. It also mimics the intermittent knowledge that ordinary people have of the migration crisis, due to mainstream media switching on and off the spotlight according to the news agenda.
The soundtrack is based on the field recording of the strong wind that often blows on Capo Ponente, producing a vibrant and dramatic sound against the boats. Prophetic fragments extracted from “The Future of European Civilization”, a conference that Albert Camus’s held in Athens in 1955, are translated in Morse alphabet, the very first digital language.