The Sicilian Island of Stromboli hosts the sixth edition of Volcano Extravaganza, the yearly festival of contemporary art presented by Fiorucci Art Trust, which this year features Camille Henrot as artistic leader.
Rather than outwardly engaging with the epic nature of Stromboli's volcanic elements I Will Go Where I Don't Belong will create an intimate landscape, acknowledging that just as with desire, feeling inadequate is part of a fluid life condition. A constellation of themes will support a weeklong and spineless narrative marked by performative events, presentations and film screenings, exploring the ways that people can feel a sense of not belonging to their environments; as immigrants, exiles and anomalies along with enacting the methods that we use to build safe spaces in our homes.
From the naufrage of the shipwreck to the final act of abandonment; from the fear of trespassing in to the unknown - crossing the threshold of safety - to the pain of attempting to escape our own identity; from exploring both the eroticism and the danger in distances, to examining exile as an existential condition, I Will Go Where I Don't Belong takes the alien character of Ingrid Bergman’s Karin (Stromboli, Roberto Rossellini, 1950) as cue for the narrative, contrasting the arrival of the ‘stranger’ with a capacity to adapt or fail.
The festival begins on 15th July with a group exhibition curated by Camille Henrot and hosted in one of the venues of the Fiorucci Art Trust. Contemplating the trauma and psychological environment of this domestic setting, Mike Nelson’s Diyagram (Amnesiac beach fire) – an assemblage of washed up cultural detritus - will be shown. In a hidden room will be Isola e Norzi’s Prayer, an imprisoning sculpture of melting wax bars and Elsewhere, featuring a telescope that looks back to the world outside. A video work by Rachel Rose of an apocalyptic hailstorm and footage of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, layered over a recording of Pink Floyd’s Echoes playing to an empty amphitheatre in Pompeii, investigates our anxieties, mortality, notions of catastrophe and the impact of our actions on the natural world. Walter Sutin’s politically charged paintings depict shipwrecks of a different kind, such as the destruction of the ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla’ in the Mediterranean Sea, whilst works loaned from the Henrot Family’s own collection, including gouache paintings, prints and books recalling domestic visuals from Camille Henrot’s childhood, will be shown with projections of Jean Epstein’s Le Tempestaire (1947) and Finis Terrae (1928).
Sven Sachsalber’s chequered black and white desk and chairs will provide the setting for a battle between good and evil, as twins Alberto and Francesco Zenere – who never to be seen together will oversee the smooth running of the festival, the day by day and the film programme from the booking office – adopt roles of duality, choreographed by Camille Henrot. With all of the participant artists having been washed up on the island at the beginning of the week (some to find darkness, others light) the stage for further contributions in keeping with the festival’s emphasis on spontaneous improvisations will be initiated from the first moments. The final act of the opening night will be a dinner, at which the assembled guests will eat from plates depicting scenes from Homer’s The Odyssey illustrated by Camille Henrot.
Remaining open for the duration, the group exhibition will provide a backdrop from which the rest of the programme will unfold, including a rich selection of film screenings hosted, for the first time, inside the private homes of local Strombolians. The island is a place that has experienced large exoduses in the post-war era but also the continuous arrival of new, and often female, migrants to its shores - many of whom have stayed: Tiziana, Stefania, Gabriella, Eva, Elvira, Beatrice and Barbara along with David, Pasquale, Domenico, Andrea, Gioacchino and Ciro will kindly invite us inside their homes for screenings including; Robinson Crusoe (1954), The Black Stallion (1974), Boom! (1968), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Saute ma ville (1968), J’ai le telephone (1970), Grey Gardens (1975), How Tasty Was my Little Frenchman (1971), The Ship of Condemned Women (1973), Black Narcissus (1947), Ah Liberty! (2008) and Ticket of No Return (1979).
Stromboli, being easily circumnavigated in an hour, will see her perimeter defined by the musical voyage of Ragnar Kjartansson who, following themes of isolation, will seek to examine the ways in which we can feel cast adrift by our own actions. With no fixed format, Anna Boghiguian’s experience of exile – her migration from place to place, of belonging and not belonging - will inhabit a monologue investigating feelings of inadequacy, authorship, failure and time, and influenced by her conversations with the other participants present. Yona Friedman will present a collection of posters made from souvenir style postcards of the island and photographs taken by Camille Henrot. Enlarged and overlaid with designs for architectural possibilities, they propose ways in which we can build shelters in a new environment as suggested within the principle of ‘Maison Absolue’. The presence of Sven Sachsalber will reappear as he is pushed to his physical limits staging an intervention to distance himself from his own childhood traumas. Martin Murphy will screen a work relating to the themes of the festival and exploring his temporarily surreal setting, conflating highly theatrical scenes with visceral moments of abstraction from footage filmed on the island within an unconventional narrative structure. Joana Escoval will design a promenade within the shadow of the volcano, displaying small sculptures along its path. The work will be built with the cooperation of both the participants and the environment that surrounds them, creating an element of communion and disturbance between all, and accompanied by readings of Clarice Lispector’s Agua Viva, which translated as “The Stream of Life” also means jellyfish. David Horvitz’s message in a bottle may or may not appear, or he might invite the Aeolian winds to sew spores on to fresh earth, creating a garden of possibilities where seeds can set new roots. Permeated within the exile of sleep, the artists’ dreams - only broken by the distant volcano’s eruptions – might create a shared consciousness, which like the underground roots of mycelium will only break the surface through their improvisations. Announcements that will build piece by piece, day by day, concluding that Nobody could explain this: That’s the way it was will be the contribution of Maria Loboda, whose sedan chair will also appear as a mysterious offering in various locations. Revealed only in the final act, as the clues that have been left reveal their owner, her sculpture will accompany the exiled participants and audience as they are brought back through the night to the mainland.
Following last year's successful collaboration, The Vinyl Factory will return to Stromboli with a specially produced musical programme that will include a DJ Set by artist and poet Juliana Huxtable, whose invitation might explore a sense of identity in a new environment. A performative concert by Tempers, who are writing lyrics inspired by the island to create a surreal and absurd piece of poetic fiction, exposing the volcano's failed romance with the ocean, will take place. Copies of the lyrics will be presented as a document as well as a performance of a new musical piece. Invoking themes of being an outsider, of transition and eruption, from the writhing tentacles of the octopus to the elemental force of the island, the musical programme will accompany the participants and guests throughout the week. The Vinyl Factory are set to release Daniele Baldelli's Volcano Extravaganza EP later this month. The Limited edition EP features three new cosmic tracks that Baldelli was inspired to create after playing at last year’s Stromboli festival.
For the first time on the island Casalinghe di Tokyo will open the ‘private’ space of a traditional Aeolian house: Casa Marsili - a domestic space where artists, islanders and Volcano Extravaganza guests are invited to share convivial moments, enjoy authentic food prepared by locals and listen to Radio CDT, a unique 24/7 programme inspired by sounds and atmospheres of Stromboli. This occasion will also facilitate the launch of Marsili #1, the latest Casalinghe di Tokyo project inspired by the undersea volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea: three different conical shaped glass and pottery modules will challenge the traditional horizontal way of food-consumption to encourage those eating to actively engage with the artifact.
Giovanna Silva will once again be photographer-in-residence, documenting the festival through her work.
With: Amira Ghazalla, Anna Boghiguian, Ben Rivers, Camille Henrot, David Horvitz, Gabriel Abrantes & Benjamin Crotty, Isola e Norzi, Jacob Bromberg, Joana Escoval, Maria Loboda, Martin Murphy, Mike Nelson, Orfeo Tagiuri, Rachel Rose, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sven Sachsalber, Walter Sutin, Yona Friedman, Alberto & Francesco Zenere