Marzia Migliora

Love songs and listening acts

By La Galleria Nazionale

Quis contra nos #05 (2017) by Marzia MiglioraLa Galleria Nazionale

Despite being very different from each other and born in different contexts, the works Quis contra nos (2017–20) and Canto libero # 2 (2020–21) share some elements that are now part of my artistic practice.

Both works are presented as devices that can be activated by the public with a gesture of access: in Quis contra nos the reflection of the viewer’s body enters the mirroring surface of the work, completing it; Canto libero # 2, on the other hand, implies the visitor to be physically “included” in the installation and to act, lifting the handset and listening.

The two works also try to identify the user of the work with the fate of others (in historical, temporal, identity, political and social terms), in order to stimulate the critical spirit and because they manifest themselves through the absence / omission of elements and the attempt to make visible what is not.

Quis contra nos. This sentence is taken from Saint Paul (Letter to the Romans, 8, 31) and it reads in its original form: Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos. (If God is with us, who will be against us?).

Throughout history, Si Deus pro nobis, the first part of the quote, has been used on many occasions to justify criminal acts, wars and mass murder by dictators and men of power. With my speech I emphasized the part of the motto usually omitted: Quis contra nos (who will be against us?).

Canto libero. It is a sound installation inspired by the work of Telefono Rosa Torino, an association that gives voice and legal and psychological support to women who suffer from violence.

By lifting the handset of a submarine telephone, the audience can listen to a sound track composed of two different elements: a sound carpet made up of whale songs and sounds emitted by cetaceans, on which some phrases are mounted (questions and other forms of dialogue spoken exclusively by Telefono Rosa operators).

Through the metaphor of the submarine/submerged and the association with the underwater world, the work intends to draw a parallel with domestic violence: two realities that move in an invisible sphere.

The total absence of the caller’s voice, the incomplete fragments of the dialogue, intertwined with the sounds of the abyss, will lead the viewer to understand the context that the work intends to highlight and to complete, by means of his/her own imagination and feeling, the omitted part of the conversation, putting oneself in the shoes of the caller, of the one who seems absent but is there.

I dedicate these words to all the women artists whose talents are still submerged,
yesterday as today.

Marzia Migliora

Marzia Migliora
(Alessandria, 1972. She lives and works in Turin.)

In her artistic research, Marzia Migliora uses a wide range of media, including photography, video, sound, performance, installation and drawing. Her works investigate universal themes such as identity, contradiction, desire, responsibility but also decidedly political ones, such as the exploitation of natural resources, slavery, the condition of women and the arrogance of the dominant power, touching on past and present history.

Her projects ask questions aimed at actively involving the viewer, who is often invited to participate in the experience. At Galleria Nazionale, the artist presents the interactive work Canto libero, a sound installation intended for individual listening to users via a submarine telephone.

The work was commissioned by Telefono Rosa Torino in relation to the “International Day against Violence on Women” in the belief that art and culture are fundamental tools in the fight against violence and that art can act on multiple levels of reflection and experience, responding in a non-trivial or simplified way to the complexity of one of the most tragic phenomena that afflict today’s society.

The artist then intertwined the complex vocalizations of the cetaceans, their love songs, with the voices of the operators at work recorded at the Telephone Rosa Piemonte headquarters, acknowledging a strong civil value to their listening acts.

In the central hall of the museum, the work Quis contra nos, a large baroque mirror with a gilded frame, is a reference to the coat of arms of the Venetian Rezzonico family which in its original form reads: Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos (If God is with us, who will be against us?). Throughout history, these words have been used on many occasions and exploited to justify criminal acts, wars and mass murders by dictators and men of power.

Paola Ugolini

Credits: Story

Marzia Migliora and Paola Ugolini

Credits: All media
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