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Francesca Fini

Year of production: 2011

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MEDITERRANEO (2011) written, directed and animated by Francesca Fini
The video is inspired in part to the so-called tragedy of Portopalo, which occurred in 1996 off the coast of Sicily. A sea cart full of immigrants was swallowed by the waters along with the 283 passengers. During the following days, those bodies ended up in the nets of the fishermen of Portopalo. Little by little they were hauled in like tuna and thrown back into the sea. The fishermen feared an investigation by the police, the seizure of their ships and the closing of the area to fishing. And so the town continued to pull in bodies and throw them back into the water, concealing the horrible secret that was revealed through the inquiries of a few zealous journalists.
In the video the details of that terrible event are only the point of departure of a personal journey in which there are no accusations and there are no theories. For this reason I chose a language very distant from that of a news item – a “performative”, strident language that recalls the epic of children's fables, a story told through images. In this story of mine, the informative items are indicative of the iconography of all voyages of hope, in a Mediterranean by now a cemetery and ossuary of thousands of migrants who died in the sea. Mediterraneo is, in fact, a provocation. It was born of the mental short-circuit between the migrant body market and that of “made in china” merchandise. An innocuous, colored object becomes the symbol of the world as a large, globalized discount house that consumes without distinction people and merchandise. Even my beautiful Chinese lamp, with its pretty false aquarium, is made of bodies, of the blood and sweat of exploitation. The routes of the merchandise and of the bodies are the same – the blood is the same. The ghosts of Portopalo came from India and Pakistan: the fabled Orient expanded by the “Chinoiserie” of which the cheap industrialized little toy is only a pale evocation. The Mediterranean is the theater of a new slave trade. It is a market where bodies and merchandise are cheated, deceived, consumed and thrown back into the sea.

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