EXHIBITION: Strada Statale 696

 

Strada Statale 696 by Dallas Fellini

Co-presented with MOCK JUNGLE

18 December 2021 – 14 January 2022

Chapel of Santa Maria Dei Carcerati in Palazzo Re Enzo, Bologna, Italy

 

Strada Statale 696 explores trans presence in public hypermasculine spaces, using the Italian piazza as a point of departure. The artist’s body is inserted into a Google Street View image of a piazza in Celano, a small Abruzzese town where their grandparents grew up. This work seeks to trace a trans oral history ambiguously passed to them by their Nonna: an oral history about (closeted) trans and queer people that she was friends with as an adolescent and young adult in Celano. 

Fellini explores their distance from this history as a 3rd generation Canadian: temporally, geographically, and linguistically. This linguistic distance is informed by their lack of fluency in Celanese, a dying Italian dialect geo-specific to Celano, which is often associated with the uneducated and the working class, and is the artist’s Nonna’s first language. Accompanying the image of their trans body—plainly out of place—moving through the cis-hyper-masculinized public sphere is a spoken poem, delivered in both Italian and Celanese. 

Drawing from their attempts at learning Italian—ultimately attempts to close the distance between themselves and a suffocated trans history—this poem gleans its form from the simple sentence structures typical of language-learning apps like Duolingo. Overlapping this spoken poem is an AI-generated soundscape developed from Google Street View images of Celano’s piazza. Hyper-location-specific sound, imagery, and language combine to pose questions about the past trans occupants of the digitally inhabited space: Who were these people? Is it enough to simply know that they occupied spaces that the artist has also come to occupy, almost a century later? How can we walk backwards against centuries of deliberate censorship and erasure of trans histories?

 

Credits:

Translation assistance by Francesco D’Andrea.

Production assistance by Holly Chang and Karina Iskandarsjah.

Technical assistance by Andrew Cromey.

 

ARTIST BIO:

Dallas Fellini is a curator, writer, and artist based in Toronto. Their practice invests in the dissolution of boundaries between different art forms and arts communities, trans and queer histories and futures, and intersections of art and popular culture. They have curated with Gallery 44 and Vtape, and have published work with Canadian Art, C Magazine, The Journal of Curatorial Studies, and more. Dallas is a member of the curatorial group Crocus Collective and is cofounder of Silverfish.

ABOUT MOCK JUNGLE:

Mock Jungle is a project that takes place in a 65″ LED screen, located at Cappella di Santa Maria dei Carcerati in Palazzo Re Enzo (Bologna, Italy) and available from the street, 24/7. Mock Jungle is a display for research, an irrational vehicle unable to follow a single path. A free broadcast, an open cage, a tool that is activated to transmit screening, unusual images, experimental languages available directly from the street by occasional passengers.

Mock Jungle, a project included in the institutional program of ART CITY Bologna 2021 promoted by the Municipality of Bologna in the framework of Bologna Estate.

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