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Rivedersi diversi

exhibition at the Médiathèque
9 October - 19 December 2015

opening 8 October 2015, 6 pm
introduction by Annamaria Licciardello

with videos by Alberto Grifi
(
in collaboration with Paola Pannicelli and Massimo Sarchielli), Bill Viola

screening of La prima volta che Zavattini provò ad usare un videotape
at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:30 4 pm, 4 pm


this program is presented in collaboration with:
Associazione Culturale Alberto Grifi,
Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazionale














 

This program is about seeing (oneself) again, rethinking and changing the context as it reconsiders one specific, historical aspect of video: feedback, or the possibility of viewing the takes again, immediately after recording them. This possibility, unthinkable with film, gave video a reflective, investigative dimension that was new, revolutionary and highly prized by some of its early experimenters. In Italy especially, where the 1970s were characterized by intense social and political conflicts, this aspect was developed and used to try to establish different relations (and to subvert the power relations) between the filmed and filming subject, and between the time of filming and that of viewing.

Feedback is among the topics addressed by Cesare Zavattini* in the reflections on the then emerging medium of video that Alberto Grifi recorded and included in La prima volta che Zavattini provò ad usare un videotape – the film, previously unscreened outside of Italy, that makes up the main part of this program. Video seemed to have been made for the ideas and projects that the "grand old man" of Neorealism, screenwriter of, inter alia, Vittorio De Sica's Ladri di biciclette and Sciuscià, was attempting in cinema – such as the search for new relations between filmed and filming subject, the rejection of a certain kind of fiction and the close-range shadowing of subjects in their immediacy and in the duration of their most everyday actions. Zavattini welcomed the simultaneous recording of images and sound on a single support, the long takes and the virtual impossibility of editing (cuts may also amount to censorship) with great enthusiasm, but no illusions, in view of the risks of absorption or dissolution of video's revolutionary possibilities.

Included in Alberto Grifi's film from 1993, these sequences from the interview with Zavattini – video notes dating from 1974 – now act as feedback of a historically reflective rather than an immediate kind. This feedback opens a remote dialog between the author and Zavattini and also between Grifi and his own filmic practice in 1974, the year in which, after making the video film Anna (co-directed with Massimo Sarchielli, 1972–75), he abandoned cinema for the use of video to document the different contexts of the struggles and revolts escalating across Italy. Grifi casts his own body in this dynamic between past and present, with irony and derision. Or, even: Grifi is incorporated into his own past, into the archive of his images he has meticulously and systematically preserved – living material to be reactivated in new combinations through repurposing. This is the context in which we should read Grifi's work to restore video tapes from the 1970s, which already by the early 1990s had deteriorated to the point of being unviewable. There is nothing nostalgic about helping bring this material back to life, however. On the contrary, to do so is to facilitate openness to, participation in and a critical understanding of the present.

*So, the fundamental question is: we have video... We're happy, I should say, to have at our disposal an instrument with which... you talk and you see yourself on it immediately. In short, there can't be any more advanced cinema in action than that. But the question is, something... which shifts the problem towards other demands... The problem is: what is it for?


Curated by Annamaria Licciardello, Maria Iorio and Raphaël Cuomo



credits
stills from La prima volta che Zavattini provò ad usare un videotape (Alberto Grifi, 1974-1993)