In this episode of Costellazione, London-based Italian artist, filmmaker, and researcher Alessandra Ferrini discusses her work, My Heritage? (2020), the artist's only site-specific work to date. Situated in the former Casa d'Italia Marseille, built in 1935, on the precipice of Italy's imperial invasions of Ethiopia the following year, as one of many outposts of the Fascist regime intended to serve the Fascist Italian community and to foster the spread of Fascism outside of Italy. Ferrini's work engages histories of Fascist colonialism as well as personal and cultural heritage. The work engages a range of materials: Fascist publications; the Fascist architecture and historical use of the building; images of East Africa, targeted by Italian empire; video, texts and audio recordings of anti-colonial advocates in England, where the artist now lives; and references to her own personal identity as a white Italian woman. The result is a richly mediated questioning of the fraught relationship between personal identity and cultural history, as well as personal and collective memory.
Artwork: Alessandra Ferrini, My Heritage? (2020). Site-specific installation. Former Casa d'Italia, Marseille. Note: Rue d'Alger, the exhibition within Manifesta 13 within which this work was shown, was curated by Alessandro Gallicchio, with Simone Frangi, Marine Schütz and Pierre Sintès. Learn more here: https://manifesta13.org/projects/rue-dalger/.
About the artist: Alessandra Ferrini's practice is rooted in lens-based media, postcolonial and memory studies, historiographical and archival practices. In particular, she is preoccupied with questioning the enduring legacies of Italian colonialism and fascism with a specific interest on the relations between Italy, the Mediterranean region and the African continent. Her work has featured in international exhibition, screenings and conferences, including: Manifesta 13 Parallels du Sud (2020), the 2nd Lagos Biennal (2019), Sharjah Film Platform (2019), Villa Romana (Florence, 2019 and 2018), Istanbul Biennal’s collateral at Depo (2019), Manifesta 12 Film Programme (Palermo 2018), the 6th Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition (2018), Document Film Festival (CCA Glasgow, 2017). She is the recipient of the BFI Experimenta Pitch Award at the 2017 London Film Festival (organized by FLAMIN, LUX and the BFI), the 2018 Mead Residency at the British School at Rome, and of an AHRC/Techne PhD scholarship at the University of the Arts London. Visit the artist's website here: https://www.alessandraferrini.info/.
Image: Alessandra Ferrini, My Heritage? (2020). Installation view. Former Casa d'Italia, Marseille. Photo by Christopher Lett. Courtesy of the artist.
Note: Rue d'Alger, the exhibition within Manifesta 13 within which this work was shown, was curated by Alessandro Gallicchio, with Simone Frangi, Marine Schütz and Pierre Sintès. Learn more here: https://manifesta13.org/projects/rue-dalger/.