JOHN DI STEFANO
MURMURATIONS (ROME) 
2017 | 10:50 | Australia | Italian (w/ English subtitles) | Colour | Stereo | Single-channel video
Murmurations (Rome) is a video that comments on history's ghostly spectre in the everyday. The video employs footage shot at two sites in Rome, Italy. The first is the Foro Italico, an extensive sports complex inspired by the Roman forums of the imperial age and lauded as a preeminent example of Italian Fascist architecture. The site is paved with large-scale mosaics celebrating Mussolini’s Fascist regime. The second site is the Fosse Ardeatine, an ancient Roman catacomb where, during World War II, 330 Italian civilians were massacred and mass-buried by German occupation troops as a reprisal for a partisan attack conducted against the SS Police. The historical events that defined these two sites have long since passed. They remain in an odd form of stasis, and only a lingering murmur exists of them in the contemporary world. Murmurations (Rome) documents the act of walking through these historical sites, focusing on the direct and experiential engagement of moving through these spaces as a means of potentially reanimating their political and ideological significance today. Additionally, documentation of the intricately morphing formation of starlings in flight—called murmurations— that descend upon Rome each evening, is presented along with excerpts from a poem by Pier Paolo Pasolini, 'Le Cenere di Gramsci' (1954).
Commissioned by 'CIRCUIT Artist Film & Video Aotearoa New Zealand' with the assistance of 'Creative New Zealand' for the 'Thick Cinema' project curated by Mercedes Vicente