Eighty years have passed since the monumental exhibition of Elsewhere was inaugurated and then quickly closed again in Naples. A lifetime. The discovery of a family letter launches a journey to find the missing grandfather who disappeared overseas that same year in that same war, setting out from the overgrown ruins and remains of the exhibition complex — archives hidden in plain sight. An exploration of wonder and longing, and of the cultural formation and persistence of western colonial thought.
‘the beauty of the images becomes the terrible colonial sublime that disseminates holes in time’
Iain Chambers – Author of Migrancy, Culture, Identity (Routledge, 2008)
‘a film in which the intimate, familiar, poignant story reverberates in a collective, living, throbbing memory’
Angela Tecce – Curator of War is Over? Art and Conflict between Myth and Contemporaneity
‘a stunning immersion into the mediated and architectural archive of the disavowed colonial past’
Tiziana Terranova – Author of Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age
‘animated tapestries … a meticulous work on the substance of memories’
Ottavia Salvador – Author of Morti senza Sepoltura and Director of Ogni Anima Muore
Everything in the universe is born from vibration, everything and everyone, we’re all made up of them. The inaudible rhythm becomes sound, vision, word, and finally meaning. That which the mind manages to alter or erase from the memory concerns meaning — the individual and cultural construction of sense and significance. But one cannot alter or erase the memory of sound, the physical imprint of a vibration, an experience that pertains to a special level of emotional memory, the memory of the body.
This project and journey began from such memories and sounds when I began following the echoes of the Arab Spring more than eight years ago. I went in search of my missing grandfather who had disappeared in Cyrenaica in 1940, exploring the ‘legacy’ of the colonial past in the Italian subconscious. I started out by myself but was gradually joined by other passionate researchers including my co-director Christopher Thomson. Together we set out from the fanta-exotic ruins of the Exhibition of the Overseas Territories in Naples, looking for pieces and clues that might have the power to open these hidden worlds. We travelled far and wide between times that (maybe) were and times that (might) one day be, towards the roots of our colonial self but often lost in these lands of Elsewhere: over-there, over-here, all’aldila’diqua.
During the last leg of this journey we saw, felt and sensed the inaudible. We watched, collected and produced souvenirs and testimonies, and from these we have made a film.
What is really shown from these collected mirabilia is the epiphanic power of the gaze: the magic of sounds and words. They have the double power — miraculous yet ambivalent — to illuminate and resonate, to open space and time: here-there, there-here. All’aldila’diqua.
Alessandra Cianelli, May 4th 2020
a DORMIRE FONDAZIONE production
part of the artistic research project
“The Land of the Overseas Territories” (2012-2020)
by Alessandra Cianelli
in collaboration with the Centre for Postcolonial Studies, Oriental University Naples
A L L ‘ A L D I L A ‘ D I Q U A
Subtitles Available: English
30 mins / HD / Colour
Screening Formats: DCP – 1:1.85,
Stereo / HD File
Written and Developed: Alessandra Cianelli
Directed and Produced: Alessandra Cianelli and Christopher Thomson
Cinematography, Sound and Edit:
Narrated: Alessandra Cianelli
Studio Recordings: Marco Messina
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
ALESSANDRA CIANELLI is a researcher, artist, and cultural practitioner. Her research develops into works at the intersection of private and collective memory practices, through the production of video, audio, texts, installations, performances and lectures. Her most recent project, Il Paese Delle Terre D’Oltremare (The Land of Overseas Territories), explores colonial archives, focusing on the monumental exhibition complex Mostra D’Oltremare in Naples. A member of the Centre for Postcolonial and Gender Studies at the Oriental University, she founded the Dormire foundation in 2014, an informal residence project for artists, thinkers and researchers.
CHRISTOPHER THOMSON is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. His work concerns notions of home and the significance of place and landscape, often exploring the marginal spaces that give clues to our contemporary condition. The first feature film The New Wild: Life in the Abandoned Lands premiered at various international festivals in 2017 and is now being distributed theatrically throughout Italy by Tucker film.