Opening on 31th October at 19.00, at KORA- Centro del Contemporaneo, Fischia, e io verrò da te the exhibition project of Martina Melilli, the third of the four artists hosted within A Sud Di Marte, a plan of artistic residencies curated by Ramdom, realised in collaboration with Fondazione Elpis, running at the spaces of KORA- Centro del Contemporaneo from April 2022 to February 2023.
Melilli’s project for KORA-Centro del Contemporaneo is the outcome both of an immersive experience of observing certain elements characterising the place – light, shadow, sound, silence – and of reading local authors such as Imperiale, Stefanelli, Bodini and Amodio, as well as of meetings held in the area.
The title of the project, on the other hand, takes its cue from the short story of the same name by the English writer M. R. James in which Parkins, professor of Ontography and the story’s protagonist, decides to move to the small town of Burnstow to celebrate the end of term. Here, attracted by a Templar settlement, he decides to try his hand at an archaeological dig, during which he finds a metal whistle, through which a ghostly presence will make him question all his beliefs about the world.
Starting from this literary cue, and from the experience of research on the territory, which find their synthesis in the concept of controra, Melilli acts on the history, tradition, folklore and language of the territory (Griko), making them dialogue with the present. He does this through games – hide and seek, the four cantons, wolf eating fruit – involving the children of Castrignano de’ Greci.
The controra, <<that period of time between after lunch and five in the afternoon>> (Controra, A. Amodio Lupo Editore, 2006),in the months from June to the end of August, is that moment when urban space is forbidden to children and noise. Precisely in this circumstance, the sun at the zenith changes its ontological characteristics and from an element that emanates life turns into an evil entity; but it is also the time of the dispossessed and the delinquent, of rabid dogs and child-eaters. The time when adults go mad. It is the time of hallucinations, but it is above all the time of ghosts. The ghosts of the past and the present; of Baron Don Costantino condemned to wander forever around the castle (Palazzo de Gualtieriis), but also of the language, the Griko, taught through play and handed down by oral tradition, transforming, constantly, over time.
The controra hides the shadow and the mischievous god Pan, who is angry with those who make noises. The veil that protects us is no more. Who has taken the shadow? Where is it hiding? Is it all true?
Whistle, and I will come to you, in all its complexity, is configured as a gigantic stage, a frame within which reality and fiction dialogue with each other, becoming a great narrative device capable of bringing to the surface those stories that call together a community (as in: The Salvation of Eurydice, Wu Ming 2), that of Castrignano, through a form of language, the game, which becomes an aesthetic and epistemological tool at the same time.
The exhibition collects and reworks all the elements constructed during the workshops held with the village children and used during the games, adding to them a sound track, created in collaboration with sound designer Mauro Diciocia, as a further semantic note.