Organised in three, interconnected chapters, A Bomb to be Reloaded investigates the influence of Frantz Fanon’s thought on a generation of militant intellectuals in Italy, and, in particular, on Giovanni Pirelli. Following his involvement in the resistance against fascism in the Second World War, he refused his predestined role at the head of the Pirelli dynasty to dedicate his life to cultural and political activism. His friendship with Fanon, whose work he had translated and published in Italy, led him to the founding of the Centro di Documentazione Frantz Fanon (CDFF), a research centre for the study and support of decolonial and anti-imperialist struggles that was active in Milan between 1963 and 1967. The centre hosted conferences, translated and published updates and analysis on the various revolutionary movements of the time, while also hosting an impressive library of books and periodicals on these causes.
Now dismembered, the collection is disseminated through different archives and ‘resistant spaces’ in Milan: from archives of the Resistance movement against fascism, to squatted social centres. Through a collaborative research with a group of students from the Art Academy of Brera (Milan), Chapter 0 (Resistant Spaces) maps the surviving items of the CDFF’s library and their locations. The materials selected wish to highlight the militant international network that the CDFF was part of, as well as the stories behind these spaces now preserving its memory.
"This cabinet is the result of a workshop held in May 2018 by the curatorial group of Amnistia with the artist Alessandra Ferrini, as part of A Bomb to be Reloaded, her research on the dismembered and forgotten archive of the Frantz Fanon Documentation Center [...]"
Workshop developed for the postgraduate course Coloniality and Visual Culture in Italy at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, led by Barbara Casavecchia, Lucrezia Cippitelli and Simone Frangi. Participants: Matteo Binci, Miriam Canzi, Mariavittoria Casali, Alessandra Fredianelli, Federica Girelli, Gloria Nossa, Noemi Stucchi, Sara Tortolato, Massimo Vaschetto, Claudia Volonterio, Guglielmo Zalukar, Milena Zanetti.
Commissioned by Villa Romana, Florence.
A Bomb to be Reloaded
(prints on dibond and foamboard)
environmental installation, 2019
(metal structures, prints on polyester and acrylic, Hanatrex monitor, video, books)
Part of this work was developed with the students from Brera Art Academy in Milan.
Chapter 1 explores Fanon’s direct influence on Pirelli, who translated and curated his work, and on the director Valentino Orsini. The title of the project - A Bomb to be Reloaded - draws on a passage from the film I Dannati della Terra (The Wretched of the Earth, 1969) by Valentino Orsini, an homage to Frantz Fanon's homonym oeuvre. The plot revolves around Fausto - a white, Italian filmmaker and professor - who is ridden with ethical and ideological angst as he attempts to complete a film on decolonisation struggles that was left unfinished by his late friend Abramo - a black, African filmmaker. Fausto defines this work as a "a bomb to be loaded so that it might make noise." This expression acts here as a methodological compass: to think about the potential intrinsic to the activation of this historical material in the present, while considering the ideological commitment that has allowed for both its formation and current preservation.
Furthermore, Orsini's adoption of Third Cinema aesthetics and ethos, provides both a visual and methodological reference to the project. In the exhibition, some of the most critical musings in the film are put in dialogue with Giovanni Pirelli's self-reflexive writing. The installation includes an interview with Kadigia Bove, a Somali-Italian actress and singer who appeared in Orsini's film. Her presence also attempts to make up for women’s lack of visibility in narration of the historic context of what is referred to as “Third-Worldism”. The installation specifically reveals the importance of self-analysis and self-criticism in the authors’ writing and in the exhibition.
video installation, 2019
(HD video with sound - duration 20', prints on blueback paper, and acrylic, photographic supports)