2019 - 2020
Maybe it is possible to consider legacy and intergenerational memory as a physical and active group exercise. My Italian grandmother, Mila Zanelli, worked in manufacturing for much of her working life - in assembly lines on factory floors across multiple industries including automotive, fashion and food. Together, we have been drawing upon memories of these spaces and processes, using them to influence various elements of short video works, where we are engaged in symbolic and practical processes of work and exchange, incorporating contraptions made from stuff around her house.
The metaphor of the machine plays a central role in the project. Placed in contrast to our DIY constructed domestic work and training zones, are voiceovers of my grandmother reciting appropriated texts taken from Italian Futurist manifestos. The early 20th century futurists dreamt of (and fought towards) a hyper-mechanised future, where mass industrialisation and technological advancement would mean that the gap between the human and the machine would dissolve, and people could abandon the weight of tradition. For my grandmother and I, these manifestos have functioned to draw new parallels between the home and the factory floor through the absurd metaphors of the futurists, but have also helped us to find conviction in our beliefs in the certains aspects of memory production, transfer, and training that cannot be explained through the metaphor of the machine, and instead require more abstract interpretation.
Themes of labour, family relationships, and the connection of the body and the machine were fundamental from the beginning of Dynamic Drills. However, more recently the work has also increasingly brought up questions surrounding care, ageing, worth/value and support, which have begun to guide the project.
Installation view at ACE Open. Photo by Sam Roberts.
Dynamic Drills, 3 channel video projection with sound, 31 minutes 52 seconds. Please note this video compiles 3 channels into one video and as such the subtitles become very small in this Youtube version. You will need to go full-screen to be able to read captions.