During Cph:Dox I had the great pleasure of interviewing the Italian artist and former Dox:Award winner, Michelangelo Frammartino, about his looping video-installation ‚Alberi‘ (Trees), that was exhibited during the festival at ‚Den Frie Udstillingsbygning‘. Frammartino is an artist (like Charles Fréger) on a quest backwards in time, in search of ancient South Italy’s primitive and ritualistic life, ruled by nature and the seasons. For Frammartino it is the elusive border between man coming from nature, and being opposed to it (or alienated from it), that is of interest. He looks at how pagan rituals can dissolve (hu)man and make him a seemless part of nature. ‚Alberi‘ is also very much a sound installation, where in particular the otherwise delightful sound of singing birds, becomes insisting and almost eerily loud and lingers long after in ones mind. As a viewer, you are born in complete darkness, in the womb of the woods, then led to the small village of Satriarno, where the men mimics nature, celebrating it by dressing up like little trees. Then the camera takes you inside one of them, where it grows dark again and the lifecycle ends. In recent years, the ritual of dressing up like ‚Romiti‘ (ghost-like trees) is no longer practised officially, but has been relegated to an increasingly hidden space in the obscure corners of collective memory. ‚Alberi‘ is a 30 min long, beautiful re-enactment of a ritual with dark roots in a medieval fertility cult, and is a memorable experience.
Here is small recording I did on my phone:
Photos are a mix of mine and found on the internet.