Labor was a central theme at the art division of Ipercorpo (http://www.ipercorpo.cittadiebla.com/), a festival organized in Forlì in May 2013 by Città di Ebla and Iagostudio eventi e comunicazione. The three nights of the festival featured a roundtable dedicated to the Forlì collection Verzocchi and more specifically to the topic of collecting organized by curator Davide Ferri. This initiative was combined with the presentation of three artworks that interpreted labor from three different perspectives: video Nui Simu by Marinella Senatore; Il Capo by Yuri Ancarani (see his previous interview for Digicult) and the performance Dove si racconta di profondi sospiri e lunghi pensieri (“place for deep sighs and long thoughts”) by Stefania Galegati Shines.
During Ipercorpo I interviewed Marinella Senatore. Starting from the work presented during the festival, I asked her to tell me about some aspects related to her work with individuals and community and the meanings and relations that these projects are able to generate.
Nui Simu is a 18 minutes video, the title meaning “it is us”. it was produced in 2010 thanks to a collaboration with the Riso museum in Palermo, and it was entirely written by a group of miners, it involved over 300 residents of the city of Enna, and the collaboration of the students of the Catania Academy of Arts. Nui Simu originates from a participative project where people were involved in all the phases of realization of the video, from casting to post-production. In this video, reality and fiction contaminate each other.
Marinella Senatore has always worked with people and has often involved entire communities in the creative process: Rosas (2012) is one of the widest street art participative projects involving three different institutions in three countries, Germany (Berlin), The UK, and Italy. To read Marinella’s biography is like reading the map of a journey that touches different locations; that reaches different projects and the individuals that inhabit them. It is a map of relations, meetings and works generating one from, and in relation to, each other. This map emerges also from this conversation I had with her on May 19, 2013.
Silvia Scaravaggi: Is this participatory art? And why this choice?
Marinella Senatore: I owe this choice to my background, to my studies in art and music. In addition to a diploma in violin at the music conservatory, to the degrees and the doctorate I obtained in Spain (2008-2012 PhD Nuevas tendencias artísticas, University of Castilla-La Mancha), this choice is also very much connected to my study at the Experimental Centre of Cinematography (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia) in Rome. The Orchestra is the best suitable metaphor I use to define my work; in working with the community, the structure that I find the most natural is the one typical of the cinematographic team.
Over the years I understood that relationality is the form of expression with which I find myself the most confortable. All my works share one objective: the idea that people should be able to use my projects to socialize, o to learn a job, or a technique. Since 2006 I have been looking at the processes of public participation. My latest work, Rosas, involves 20,000 people with whom I lived during the year I was realizing my activities. My liveliness is very much depending on the community: I believe that it is necessary to create and maintain a continuous exchange with people in the community. Over the years this connection becomes a substantial part of many of the people involved.
Silvia Scaravaggi: Relations constitute the centre of your research. How do they come to acquire their role in the artwork? How can they contribute to modify it?
Marinella Senatore: My work with individuals is an “emotive time”. I identify groups, communities, cities, realities, some of which I would have never known had I not pursued the research. I try to avoid imposing a specific project. Rather, I study to understand how I may propose a project that fit that community. I propose a format: I started with the language of cinema and now I work with choreography. I have also started the “School of narrative dance”, an itinerant school functioning just like an itinerant company that acquires people as it travels.
Once I have made a proposal, I have suggested the format, and I have figured out the best strategy to involve the most number of people, the project can start. It is important to find the best way to invite people to participate: for instance, in Nui Simu I used a megaphone, which turned out to be the most effective means, while in the UK it was best to call people through social networks. In Cagliari there was a strong need to work practically together, hence part of the project consisted in by workshops through which people could acquire specific skills. This is another element of my idea of teaching, towards a freer method of learning.
Silvia Scaravaggi: I would like to talk a bit about the way you present your works. How do you usually present them? I experienced Nui Simu at Ipercorpo, where it was displayed through a frontal projection as a classic movie or a short. Don’t you think that this type of work asks for somehow different techniques of display and experience?
Marinella Senatore: The question is interesting, because the issue of display is crucial to my work. All of us doing relational work have to face this problem.
I agree that these projects call for something more than a simple channel video, but there are works that I think have an inherent mode of display. For example, I naturally think of Rosas as a series of much more complex video installations. However, I have never felt that Nui Simu required anything beyond traditional projected video.
In Europe and Italy this type of public art is not very frequent, therefore the question that we always pose is: how can we reproduce the experience? There is always a risk that the work will look like a documentary, which is something in which I am not particularly interested. I have 11 exhibitions scheduled in the next few months up to March: it’s going to be eleven problems of display.
Marinella Senatore was selected by Gamec for Artists’ Film International scheduled in Bergamo from June 12 to June 21 2013. Among the next exhibitions and presentations: single Italian presence at Contour Mechelen, the Sixth biennale of moving images in Belgium, abc – art berlin contemporary in Seprember, the Liverpool and Goteborg biennales, a personal exhibition at the Rivoli Castle in Torino. All the upcoming events are linked to the Peres Projects gallery in Berlin.
 Un approfondimento interessante si trova qui: http://www.marinella-senatore.com/work/files/texts/texts/Alfredo%20Cramerotti_emily%20Pethick%20on%20M.Senatore.pdf
Images courtesy Marinella Senatore