16°52.2’ East, 41°07.6’ North was originally commissioned in May 2001 by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage for the Arte Maggio, an international arts festival in Apulia, Italy. Inspired by a year spent at sea and by my return home after many years over seas, I decided to draw upon the Mediterranean for the project. I began my research with language, first with the dialect of my own region and then with those of the neighboring regions. I collected video interviews and photographs of people whose lives were deeply entrenched in the Mediterranean and were as rich and diverse as the subject matter itself: Balkan refugees, Italian fishermen, old ladies who hand made pasta, war survivors, Albanian child prostitutes and North African immigrants. As their stories unfolded, the ebb and flow of their experiences seemed to take on the current of the Mediterranean. Inspired by this, I transposed the sound of the voices into a soundtrack of the crashing waves of the Mediterranean, meshing the people and the place into one body.
Each of the people interviewed were asked to share a popular expression that they felt best summarized their culture. Of the many responses, four expressions were repeated a number of times. I had these expressions printed on t-shirts, which were then distributed through both a grass-roots approach, which included going to various cultural centers and African bars, for instance, and by collaborating with local radio and television stations. I asked people to wear one of the t-shirts and invited them to the square in front of the gallery. Participants were asked to interact with one another, which provided a joyful experience for everyone. People who normally would not or did not mingle now shared their stories and experiences.
Medium : Public video installation, performance, audio documentary
Material : Audio, Vidoe, Perfance & photograpy
Release Date : 2001
Venue / Client : Piazza Mercantile
Sponsor : Ministry of Cultural Heritage Bari
People Involved : Radio Canale 100 Fine Art highschool Bari Fine Arts Academy Bari Institute & Music and Music Therapy Bari University for Mediterranean studies Renè Cassin no profit cultural association ACLI Publicarb