video installation

5 short films 8-12 min each
HD video, stereo, color
supported by Cortona Visual Narratives Scholarship / Cortona on the Move + COVID Visual Project

Camera, Direction & Editing by Mo Scarpelli 
Sound Recordings by Mo Scarpelli, Felix Blume
Produced by Andrea Arena
Curated by Liza Faktor 

Produced by Vessel and Rake Film

I SOGNI DI ROMA is an audiovisual installation which explores the resilience of imagination in the unpredictable times of the pandemic.
In five short films, disembodied voices of Romans impart their dreams from during 50 days of strict quarantine.

The COVID-19 virus hit Italy in March 2020. Strict quarantine was enforced. For 50 days and nights, Romans could not leave their homes except to buy groceries or medicines.

In this time, people dreamt. Some dreamt stronger and more lucidly than ever. I began to collect dreams so as to touch the pulse of something extraordinary I felt around me, even with our windows closed and our masks tugged tight across our faces. Time and space were conflating, dissipating. Something invisible swirled into the night. What was happening to us, from inside? What did we construct in our minds, out of necessity? What does this say about who we are and what we can withstand?

The Romans’ voices in this series of five short films provide an exercise in survival. The dreamers recorded their voices alone, shut into their houses, lying prone, in a similar position to when they dreamed, and sometimes right after a dream. They transmit the facts — images, sounds and sensations — of their strongest dreams during the lockdown. I then constructed an additional layer to these transmissions: sounds and images which act as tonal poems, dichotomies, or modes of absorptions to the dreams.  The intimacy of the voice reveals to us a secret world of the quarantine few dreamers were able to grasp or share with the rest of the world as they experienced it. We are privy to absurdity, sadness, elation, terror. A vital force projected these experiences to the dreamer in a time when human touch was prohibited; when nature was far away; when physical adventure was impossible; when love was often felt strongly inside, appreciated maybe more fully than usual, but externally put on hold.

The themes of each of the film pieces derive from notions in Carl Jung's memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Jung knew that the psyche was distinctly more complicated and inaccessible than the body. But here in quarantine, in silence, perhaps things became more accessible, if we allowed them. What did our dreams from this unprecedented time, where primal fear and desire could scream to us in the silence, tell us then? What do they tell us now? Are we ready to listen? 

An unseeable unknowable virus killed tens of thousands of people in Italy within months. Many of us thought we may die. Yet some of us lived, and lived twice — in our isolated waking life, and in our sleep. This project is a tribute, a compass of human notions, a historical record of the psyche, a chance to glimpse the vital participation of the human being in their own imagination, in order to survive.

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