Radio Ghetto Relay
HD video, 2016, 15 minutes
Founded in 2012, Radio Ghetto, Voci Libere (Radio Ghetto, Free Voices) is a project of ‘participated communication’, a radio that was born to give a voice to the dwellers of the Gran Ghetto in Rignano, near Foggia (Apulia, Italy). The Ghetto is a shantytown that until its closure on the 3rd of March 2017 housed up to 2500 migrants mostly coming from West Africa. It was one of many slums in the Italian countryside as agriculture steadily relies on the exploitation of forced labour. Referred to as 'agromafia' or 'caporalato' (the so-called gangmaster system), this is a widespread form of modern day slavery that has been on the rise within the Global North.
Through the radio broadcasts, the harvesters at the Gran Ghetto are able to share their experiences and talk about their inhumane living conditions, in order to expose their struggles and warn other migrants. Building on their desire not to be photographed or filmed, the video avoids a mimetic visual representation in order to concentrate on the radio recordings. Thus, it combines text and Google Earth and Streetview images and highlight the radio's power to cross borders and connect the centre to the periphery, while also looking for traces of the migrants in the rural landscape of southern Italy.
The project was realized in the framework of A-i-R Wro (Wroclaw, Poland) in the context of Wroclaw European Capital of Culture 2016. Here, this issue was explored and further problematise through workshops with young people and a publication titled Outcross.
Radio Ghetto Relay was developed in close conversation with Marco Stefanelli who kindly and passionately acted as a spokesman and intermediary for Radio Ghetto Voci Libere: www.radioghettovocilibere.wordpress.com