In September 2019, Alice Pedroletti was selected to participate in HerMap – Cultural Heritage Management Project, an artistic residence on the theme of Living Archives in Iran. The unviability of travelling to the Iranian territories, due to the world pandemic from COVID-19, pushed the artist’s research towards a new mode of expression and collaboration with artist Andrea Familari.
The project takes on a new identitarian significance, creating a virtual community and an apparently non-political geography.
u-form, initially conceived as a reflection on oral tradition and the role of archaeology in society, now examines sounds and objects as vehicles for the visual representation of the Iranian landscape. The artwork proposes the compilation of a living archive of the territory, no longer defined by the direct experience of travel, but only imagined through a different travel experience, presented here in the form of three video-loops.
u-form is an Artwork-Archive generated over time through sound and visual findings that the artists collect from a distance. Sounds of natural landscapes and photographs of objects that unknown people send through email, Whatsapp and Instagram in response to an Open-Call launched through social media: a process that includes mutual knowledge and sharing for everyone involved.
Once collected and selected, the images are finally processed, creating a new narrative of which photography becomes the only silent testimony.
A dialogue without borders, specifically linked to a community, but free from those constraints that would identify it as exclusive of a single and given place. The post-production, the care in the cut-out, the introduction to the digital realm and the choice of the sequence are actions of an archaeology for the future in which digital memorabilia carry and preserve their singularity, like those that are recovered during excavations.
The gesture of the two artists, however, overcomes the historical fidelity of the relic: one enters the field of ambiguity, hypothesis and illusion where sounds are complicit in this narration, because what one hears is also never certain, nor defined.
Through the loss of physicality the object becomes deceptive, its provenience questionable and uncertain. Its origin and function are perhaps recognisable, but at the same time they both remain free and open to more comprehensive interpretations, to indefinable times, to different geographies that the sounds encourage us to imagine. Soundscapes in which nature narrates a journey that cannot happen; a collection of many places, a different landscape because it too has no body.
The fade of political boundaries: absence of coordinates, nomenclature, measure and symbols; of context and place. If the Archive were thought of as an instrument of dissemination and preservation, everything that would make it so is taken away.
What would it become, then?
In this new place, no longer a site where to reconstruct a past or lost identity fragmentation, a new space is born: one of investigation into the present and the future, where sounds and objects that are, in reality, memories, hopes and desires, are projected and recontextualised.
One finds himself in a timeless dimension, an imaginative and infinite archive that holds a possible everywhere-now: the objects embody the human memory that inhabits the landscape and the soundscapes define the crossing of those landscapes.
u-form is a living artwork in which the recordings are translated into organic movements that act on the objects themselves through the distortion of their form and colours. Moving fluidly in a non-existent space, they access and leave a digital dimension attempting to create a truthful representation of what sound tells us, in vain.
It is a failure that has been sought and wanted, relating back to the impossibility of the original journey that Alice continues to undergo and to which Andrea tries to find a solution. In a loop which is process, research and relationship between artistic practices and historical context, the database is intended as a perpetual place for a new and possible geography.
Realized in the context of HerMap – Cultural Heritage Management Project in Iran – Europe.
Project that aims to promote Cultural Heritage in Iran to increase its value and potential for social development and inclusive growth, in collaboration with CSOs, Local Authorities and the Creative Sector.
Funded by the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission.
Project led by the Heritage Management Organization (Greece) in partnership with Goethe-Institut (Germany) and the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels – BOZAR (Belgium).
Sound designer: Diego De Sirianna
Project assistant: Alice Lamperti
Collaborators: Abdollah Hajipour, Ali Pak, Amirali Ghasemi, Anita Karimi Rad, Arya Arabshahi, Atoosa Ghalamfarsaie, Babak Shahroozi, Elham Zarei, Faezeh Khanmohamadi, Far Kiani, Fatemeh Aleagha, Gazelle Bastan, Hadi Zand, Hamidreza Amirimatin, Kasra Kiani Raad, Kavoos Farzadi, Koosha Moossavi, Leila Sajjadi, Mahshad Mohajerpour, Mahta Saghafi, Mahtab Sepeher, Maryam Haji Mohammadi, Maryam Kashmiri, Masoud Momenha, Milad Forouzandeh, Omid Hosseini, Panteha Alizadeh, Parham Daghighi, Ramona Davis, Reza Bayani, Saina Seraj, Samira Toosi, Sara Abesnejad, Sara Karbalaei Ali, Sara Sokouti, Setareh Goudarzi, Shaghayegh Kamyar, Shima Ghadiri, Simin Azarpour, Soodeh Karimi.
u-form.earth © 2021