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
The video and the publication Outcross were realized in the framework of A-i-R Wro (Wroclaw, Poland) in the context of Wroclaw European Capital of Culture 2016.
Outcross (Black Mediterranean) was commissioned by Mira Asriningtyas,
Nora Heidorn and Kari Rittenbach for the exhibition COMING SOON
at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, 2018.
> In 2019 Tutta un'altra Storia [A Whole Other Story], an education programme tailored to high school students for the co-production of an essay film based on Radio Ghetto Voci Libere's sound archive was developed.
Radio Ghetto Relay
HD video, 2016, 15'24" 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.
Radio Ghetto Relay is also displayed within a wall-based installation titled OutCross (Black Mediterranean). Providing an overview of the gangmaster system of exploitation within the agricultural supply chain, it highlights the dynamics of racial capitalism.
OutCross is a newspaper that widens the reach of Radio Ghetto Relay by its mean of distribution: 1000 copies were given away to local people in Wroclaw, Poland. It is framed by the idea of “outcrossing”, both in terms of content (tracing the movement and cross-fertilizations between people, languages and food) and methodology (the notion of employing translation as political and artistic method). While attempting to translate the video into paper-form, it also presents the research on the gangmaster system that I conducted in Poland and the result of workshops with young people, part of an artist in residence project at A-i-R Wro.
Shaimaa Abdelkarim and Alessandra Ferrini, “A Hospitable Encounter: A Conversation Between ‘Radio Ghetto Relay’ and Tahrir,” London Journal of Critical Thought 3, no 1 (2019)