Freetime: Notes on Italian Cinema Venues.
Exhibition space: www.skaneskonst.se
The work is part of part of a wider and ongoing research project on cinema venues. The roles they played, the relation with the general public and space are discussed using: notes, interviews, archival materials and photographs. The series of images I created was realised by mapping and documenting public spaces that hosted open-air cinemas in the city of Rome and by creating temporary installations in situ to reconnect the selected public space with the roles that played as open-air cinema, as screen and mirror, as a fenced area to keep you either out safely in.
The role that cinema played in Italy is just formidable, it was used to literally shape and define the idea of nation state and present it to the general public from as early as 34 years after the unification of the country (1971). La Presa di Roma was the first Italian film to be publicly projected. The screening of the movie was held at Porta Pia in 1905 on the exact spot where 34 years earlier the famous ‘Breccia’ (Break through the city walls) led to the birth of Italy as a unified modern nation-state. The film was a reconstruction of the events that took place in the 1870s and was framed as a celebration of national unity. Almost like a thin membrane, the screen used in 1905 simultaneously divided and unified: the public in front of it, the events happening in the film itself and the space where it was projected. Reality and fiction were starting a journey, which continued throughout the 20th Century from the propaganda of the newsreels to Neorealist cinema (where again the city and its inhabitants were both on the stage and in front of it). The closing sequence of the film La Presa di Roma is the opening image for this small compendium of visual notes.
I am fascinated by this relationship: a contamination between the spectacle and the spectator, which is still characterising the way contemporary mass media works. I like to imagine it as a series of circular paths (after Borges famous short story),crossing each other, where the figures projected on the screen and the audience continue to exchange places, values, ideas and ways of behaving, almost becoming simulacra themselves.
The work was created by intertwining materials from different sources and in dialogue with an international research team called Italian Cinema Audiences from 1960s, with the aim of offering a bridge between artistic and academic research. The texts are drawn from three different interviews with M.Osetta: a partisan, R. Benedetti: an assiduous cinema-goer, and G. Bortolotti: a projectionist and manager of cinema venues in Venice. These interviews and most of the black and white photographs were all part of the materials produced for the research thesis I Cinema di Venezia: Spazi, Trasformazioni, Rapporti con la Città (The Cinema Theatres of Venice: Space, Transformation, Relationship with the City), IUAV, Venice, 2008, my first attempt to construct a photographic project. The other images: film stills and colour photographs are instead part of the process and outcome of the work I realised during the artist in residence at the British School at Rome in the winter of 2014.
Daniele Sambo holds a BSc in Urban and Landscape at the Architecture IUAV University of Venice and studied Photography at the Glasgow School of Art. Now based in Glasgow, Sambo continues his research as an artist and photographer and has been visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art from 2013. Daniele is constantly looking for a direct exchange of knowledge and dialogue, where the processes are very often concerned with how the work interjects and discusses communities. Daniele is interested in the interjections between monumental and functional proprieties of objects in the public sphere with a specific focus on the different ways nature brings people together. His most recent awards and exhibitions include Copenhagen Photofestival 2016, Rittergade AIR 2016, Viborg, Creative Photography Fellowship 2014 at the British School at Rome; New Scottish Landscapes, Stills Gallery, Edinburgh; You are the company in which we keep with the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland.