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Novarese, Irina

Irina Novarese (Italy)
Italian videomaker

participant in
VIP – VideoChannel Interview
CologneOFF IV – Here We Are!
4th edittion of Cologne Online Film Festival 2008´- LAB program series

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Video title:
2007/2008, 10:41

The video acquaintances is a part of the artistic project K.G. – abbreviation of Kollektives Gedächtnis (collective memory). This concept describes a controversial scientific debate which, together with the ideas of culture and society, take part in the research about the associative system of the brain, especially in the mnemonic processes and in the construction of identity.
The research I am conducting is a reflection about these issues in relation with the fiction I produce, as an artist and as cultural identity.

In 2000 I found about 500 portraits of unknown people in Italy, probably the work of a professional photograph. During the last years I produced many installations and videos realized with these photos. I describe these works as experiments about the interaction between different identities and memories.
I define this as the “third subject”, meaning the outcome of the interaction between two or more other subjects.

The associative system of the mnemonic structure of an observer, facing an unknown portrait reacts in producing an ascription of information about the possible identity of the person in the picture. This way I constructed identities, giving these fictive attribution (e.g. name, date of birth, job, thoughts, desires, past, etc…).
For the video acquaintances I decided on 14 photos. For each portrait I wrote a fiction, giving him an identity.

These fictional identities, as a product of my own identity, build (according to my thesis about the third subject) a meta-level where my character is more recognizable as the photographed ones. At the same time the new identities are plausible because of the cultural codes and the assumptions of the observer (in the discussion about what is fiction and what gives a fiction its credibility).

For this video-experiment I worked with the associations of many levels of observation:
1. I give an identity to the photographed people, writing a story about them.
2. I try to identify myself with the character created, recreating the moment of the photo shooting in front of the camera, recording it directly on video.
3. Together with the singer Bianca Jannuzzi I experimented with the associative process of someone other: at the same time she read about the fictive identities, she looked at the photographs and at the video. She improvised with her voice on the shown personalities (mine and the other persons’).

What results is a game between many identities on different levels of perception. This video, like the other installations, realized with the photos I found, is based on the idea of a collective production and the open and endless possibility of the association process.