THE PASOLINI PROJECT [2002 – 2005]

time-based media installations / artist-book & texts

 

The PASOLINI project is an extended critical meditation on the life and work of Italian filmmaker and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini. As a politically engaged artist and openly gay man living in the tumultuous Italy of the 1960s and '70s, Pasolini became synonymous with scandal and 'otherness' despite the fact that he was highly respected as an artist and intellectual. He was assassinated in 1975 leaving behind a rich and varied body of filmic and written work. The PASOLINI project investigates and examines Pasolini’s works, texts and images, from which discrete installation-based artworks are created in an attempt to reclaim his 'otherness'. As a first-generation Italian-Canadian, the artist’s relationship with Pasolini is not that of a biographer, but that of a translator who shares a cultural and linguistic background with the filmmaker. The works that constitute the installation thus implicitly also function as critical commentaries on identity and politics in their negotiation of the complexities of cultural translation and acculturation. 

 

This body of work of the following discrete works:                 

 

                 Theorem - video / photography / mixed media (variable)

                 Vogar Eloquio - video / mixed media (variable)

                 Senza Parole - video / mixed media (variable)

                 Tenebre - Polaroid photographic prints

                 Cenere - video / mixed media (variable)

                 Parallel Lines - published artist project / poster - offset

                 Sottotitoli  - vinyl lettering / mixed media

                 Testi - video / mixed media (variable)

                 November 2, 1975 - unbound artist book - kodalith photographic prints / mixed media

                 Picturing Pasolini - kodalith photographic prints

This installation project is related to the installation BANDIERA NERA [2015]

 

THEOREM

time-based installation - video / photography / mixed media (variable)

 

THEOREM superimposes live subtitles from Pasolini’s politically charged film Teorema [1968], onto a police photograph of Pasolini’s corpse. The utopic and revolutionary ideas set forth by Pasolini in Teorema are mined in the absurdist hope that in his text we might find a reason for his untimely and tragic political assassination.

 

VOLGAR ELOQUIO (vulgar address)

time-based installation - video / mixed media (variable)

 

VOLGAR ELOQUIO is comprised of two video image loops. The first is a large-scale video projection of a typewriter slowly typing a poem by Pasolini which describes the inner torture of solitude he experienced. The second video loop appears on a small video screen embedded in a large standing structure facing the typewriter projection. On this small screen, the last sequences from Pasolini’s last film, Salo’  [1975], are presented in slow-motion. These cinematic scenes depict gruesome physical torture. Employing reverse scale, VOLGAR ELOQUIO juxtaposes both the “internal” and private torture of the writer, and his “external”, cinematic representation of torture.

 

SENZA PAROLE (without words / speechless)

time-based installation - video / mixed media (variable)

 

SENZA PAROLE appropriates a homoerotic image of two men dancing the ‘twist’ together embedded in the title-sequence of Pasolini’s film La Ricotta [1963]. This radical image, excavated from the title-sequence, is now isolated and projected onto a long sheet of paper strung through an Olivetti typewriter, similar to one that Pasolini might have used when he was alive.

 

 

TENEBRE (darkness)

Polaroid photographic prints (42cm x 52cm each - edition of 1)

 

TENEBRE is a series of four large-scale, one-of-a-kind Polaroid photographs. The photographs appropriate paparazzi photographs of Pasolini, and crop them so as to focus only on the gesture in the image. The images are printed with a very shallow contrast range so as to appear as if emerging from a dark and barely discernable field. This re-appropriation of paparazzi images are decontextualized in an attempt to re-direct them away from sensationalism towards the realm of the less overt, transforming the original images into something altogether antithetical to their original intent.

 

CENERE (ashes)

time-based installation - video / mixed media (variable)

 

CENERE is a 70-minute performance-based video installation based on a script complied from fragments of writings by Pasolini. The script is read by the artist, “performing” Pasolini. The video image of the artist reading the script is projected on a large pile of ash heaped into a corner. The pile of ash resembles and evokes a mountainous landscape similar to those found in Italy. This work also makes reference to a book of poems Pasolini wrote entitled The Ashes of Gramsci [1954] in which Pasolini pays homage to Antonio Gramsci and locates their shared lineage in an Italian political and historical “landscape”.

PARALLEL LINES

published artist project / poster - offset (42 cm x 30 cm)

 

PARALLEL LINES is an artist project that presents fives different and differing descriptions of a short film made by Pasolini entitled, The Paper Flower Sequence [1969]. The five parallel yet often divergent texts, suggest that there never exists a singular or definitive reading. This notion of re-reading is one of the key premises of the PASOLINI project.  

 

SOTTOTITOLI (subtitles)

site-specific installation - vinyl lettering / mixed media (variable)

 

SOTTOTITOLI are a series of adhesive vinyl works that are constructed by overlaying all of the English subtitles of Pasolini’s films together. The resulting image is an unreadable compression of the English texts into quasi-abstract forms. Like its companion piece TESTI, the translated film subtitles (themselves an interstitial type of text) now float free of any referent.

 

TESTI (texts)

time-based installation - video / mixed media (variable)

 

TESTI is a collection of all the English subtitles of Pasolini’s films, reconstructed as scrolling and/or crawling texts. Like its companion piece SOTTOTITOLI, the subtitles that are lifted off of the original film, now function as floating texts without a referent.

 

NOVEMBER 2, 1975

unbound artist book - kodalith photographic prints / mixed media (28cm x 12cm ea. – ed. 1)

 

NOVEMBER 2, 1975 is a book project that assembles the entire body of research materials collected by the artist as part of working on the PASOLINI project. These varied materials (images, texts, etc.) are transferred to transparency material and overlaid to construct 106 “fiches” that can be handled and examined individually on a light-table. They act as a type of archive, which can be unpacked through careful examination. The title of the work is taken from the date of Pasolini’s death.

 

PICTURING PASOLINI (version)

kodalith photographic prints (21 cm x 29cm each - edition of 1)

 

PICTURING PASOLINI is a facsimilie of a published essay written by the artist, here transferred to transparency material. The original essay—published in Art Journal— is a critical re-reading of various photographic images of Pasolini (paparazzi images, family photographs, private photographs, etc.) as a means of uncovering the subtexts of these images. The essay is reproduced here as an artwork in order to provide some of the underpinnings of the larger project.