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Ra di martino
Authentic News of Invisible Things
Vidéo | hdv, mov | couleur et n&b | 5'30'' | Italie | 2014
Authentic News of Invisible Things explores mechanisms of pretence and make-believe by focusing on military camouflage. Camouflage was first used at the end of the nineteenth century to help prevent armies from being detected by enemy forces. Colours and materials are used to conceal uniforms, vehicles and equipment and make them look like something else. Camouflage also extends to the construction of mock military equipment to confuse and deceive the enemy, generating a situation of alert. Examples of this include dummy tanks constructed using wooden structures or panels of chipboard, and then painted or decorated. Used already in the Second World War and to a lesser extent in WWI, these are still widespread: in the 1990s fibreglass models produced by an Italian company were successfully deployed in the Gulf War. Iveco Defence Vehicle (Iveco DV), part of the Fiat Group, headquartered in Bolzano, makes vehicles for military and civil defence purposes. The company receives orders directly from the Ministry of Defence to produce these vehicles and the production process and all related information is therefore covered by the Official Secrets Act. However once these vehicles are decommissioned they are no longer regarded as classified and can be used by the film industry, for marketing, entertainment and by private individuals. Indeed there are numerous collectors and theme parks in possession of working vehicles, also from foreign armies, that can be hired or tried out to get a taste of military life. It is therefore easy for the film industry to get hold of functioning, but unarmed vehicles, for use in battle scenes. The situation is therefore paradoxically subverted: real tanks enter the world of make-believe, while mock-ups are deployed in real-life conflict situations. Authentic News of Invisible Things sits on the dividing line between fact and fiction, with documentary-style scenes and a theatrical re-enactment. With the support of historic photographs and film footage from public and private collections, the video becomes a sort of short journey through the paradoxes of both history and contemporary life. One of the two key scenes of the video, which mingles performance art and cinema, has been shot in the historic city centre of Bolzano. A real-life, working tank drives through the city centre in broad daylight, with no prior warning to stage a paradox. Various cameramen hidden among the public filmed the action and people`s reactions. The other scene is a recreation of an archive photograph of a group of French civilians gathered around a wooden dummy tank made by the Germans and abandoned in Lille, the 20th of October 1918.
Rä di Martino (Rome, 1975) studied in London where she’s graduated with an MFA at the Slade School of Art and after spending a few years in New York she moved back to Italy. Her practice explores the passage of time, as well as the discrepancies that differentiate epic narratives from lived experiences. Her films have been shown at the Venice film Festival, Locarno film festival and Torino International Film Festivals amongst other and in Istitutions and museums such as: Moma-PS1, NY; Tate Modern, London; MCA Chicago; Museion, Bozen; Palazzo Grassi, Venice; Artists Space, New York. In 2014/15 she has participated to the Venice Film festival 2014, winning the SIAE award and Gillo Pontecorvo award, and a Nastro d’argento for best docufilm.