14 May 2014

short movie #1

short movie #1, 2005
Audio-visual, SD 4:3 Stereo, 2’40”

This audio-visual was one of the firsts I released, the second one to be exact.

In 2006 it won the 6th Golem Videofestival of Turin, Italy, then it was screened in few occasions receiving many appraisals from friends, onlookers and experts.

Lately it came again to popularity, having been selected by Food Art Awards 2013, by Play With Food 5 2014 in Turin and in Milan, by F.I.V.E. Feelings International Videoart Experience world tour and screened at the 3rd Biennale of Oran. That is why I'm going to write something about it now, besides that not everyone has fully got its meaning.

The video is minimalist, simply showing a sequence of 79 crackers taken out from a package of a very famous Italian brand of spaghetti and other foods, with just one final graphic addition and some sound effects. Indeed the package contained 80 crackers, but one was broken.

In the official caption I wrote: “The intent is to underline the non-reality represented by a product-image and let to emerge the hypocrisy of the commercial message that is an emblem of the illusion of a genuine world and of a false nature, unmasked thanks to the very matter of the product, or in this case by the 39 holes of the crackers.”

I do not consume mass-marketing foods like these, but I had the chance to catch something weird on this bakery product during a dinner at friends' house, so the very next day I bought one package at the store for a better investigation, which confirmed that my intuition was right.

Putting it simple, when at first I examined one of the crackers, I noticed the irregularity of the small holes: some were round, some were smaller, some were irregular; that would be the evidence of handmade production, just like if someone was coarsely piercing the crackers with a homely tool. Then I noticed that these irregular holes were scattered on the surface of all the crackers exactly in the same way: the holes have an identical array and shape for all the crackers, revealing that the crackers are indeed made by a machine, as you may expect from something coming out of an assembly line.

The attempt to confer a genuine look to this mass product is the very deceptive subliminal message promoted by the famous Italian brand: a genuine world. Imagine the managers of that brand who ask a designer to design the cookie-cutter mask for the industrial machine so it would print crackers as if they were home-made. This is intentional deception.

The video ends up with the very cookie-cutter graphical mask I extrapolated from the scheme of holes.

The ending title is “39 holes”, which is the number of holes on these crackers. 39 is an important number, full of historical and esoteric meanings, being 3 times 13 and also the number of lashes given by rabbis to people deserving 40. The rabbinical laws forbid to give more than 40 lashes as punishment, since 40 are considered sufficient to kill a man; besides, being that 40 is used in Semitic tradition as an indeterminate large number of items, and to show mercy, and finally to avoid miscounts that would violate the law of 40, the maximum number of lashes given to anyone has always been 39, 40 minus 1, just like the number of times people hit slaves in ancient Rome: forty save one; traditionally that is also the number of lashes given to Jesus of Nazareth. Then, 13 is esoterically associated to Jesus Christ or the one who dies, the excess beyond the perfect number 12, as the 12 Apostles or zodiac constellations. Finally, bread is traditionally the Body of Christ.
39 holes in the Body of Christ, that I have symbolically translated into the video as the consumers deserving this punishment of deception.

Surrealistically, I imagined a robotic granny who pierces numberless doughs at lightning speed; that's why I added the subtitle “the genuine scheme of serial granny”.

Here is the video, raise the volume or listen with headphones.

short movie #1, 2005 Audio-visual, SD 4:3 Stereo, 2’40”