2020, video, 3'20''
Émile was created within Kula, a project by ECUMENE Residence*, who has decided to create its own virtual KULA Ceremony**, inspired by the symbolic exchange of gifts between the populations of the Trobriand Islands.
Ecumene's aim to put in conversation the thoughts of different people from different backgrounds, and different corners of the world as well. By doing so, Ecumene aims and hope in the creation of heterogeneity.
In particular way Émile was born as an answer to a painting titled Para sa Edukasyon (For Education) by the artist Shara Francisco from Manila, which reached me during the isolation due the pandemic Covid-19 when I was reading Émile, or On Education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In the meanwhile I've been surrounded by the voices of the children playing in the garden under my balcony. Their voices became the soundtrack of the artwork, then ending with a record of kids singing during the last day of school, placed on a small island in the middle of Rio Paranà in Argentina.
The video work aims to communicate and make the viewer experience a feeling of hope and freedom, lived with a sincere naivety typical of childhood. As children, we should learn to get up despite the constant falls, but without losing our determination with a new force.
"Instead of keeping him mewed up in a stuffy room, take him out into a meadow every day; let him run about, let him struggle and fall again and again, the oftener the better; he will learn all the sooner to pick himself up. The delights of liberty will make up for many bruises. My pupil will hurt himself oftener than yours, but he will always be merry." Jean-Jacques Rousseau
*ECUMENE is a virtual convivium for sensitive souls which was born during spring 2020, as an idea of Eni Derhemi & Giulia Dongilli.
**Travelers sail hundreds of miles by canoe to exchange gifts which consist in necklaces of red shells traded in the northern direction and bracelets of white shells traded in the southern direction. The KULA journey happens in a circle and follows the movement of the clock. Each participant keeps the gift for a short period of time before passing it on to one of his partners from whom he received the opposite gift in exchange. The exchanged objects are filled with magical meanings and possess great power over the sea spirits, according to local mythology and beliefs.
The given objects during the KULA ceremony obtain an unique inner power – a spirit – which is of course transmitted from the person that gives them. They become identifications of the individual and also a strong point of reference to it while the participants enter the process of giving, taking, exchanging and sharing. Giving implies a great dose of freedom.