Eleonora Roaro | “FIAT 633NM”
Single-channel video | 4’10’’ (loop)
1920×1080 HD 16:9
Sound design: Emiliano Bagnato
Unique edition + exhibition copy + AP | 2021

The single-channel video “FIAT 633NM”, based on a corpus of approximately 360 photographs dating from 1937-1938 originally owned by the artist’s great-grandfather, aims to deconstruct the role of fascist-era colonial enterprises in Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, AOI, currently Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia). These enterprises were often either erased from collective memory or nostalgically falsified. The video focuses on 52 images depicting Fiat trucks, mainly the 633NM model, which were obsessively photographed on multiple occasions. As infrastructures and technology were propagandistic tools employed by Mussolini to emphasise modernity and progress, the Fiat truck is an emblem of the fascist rhetoric and colonial dream.  The images of the trucks are in dialogue with panoramic postcards of the Ethiopian desert from the 1930s, alluding to the colonial idea of uncontaminated land to be conquered. They are assembled to create an imaginary landscape, with soundtracks by Emiliano Bagnato that use Washint tape loops (a traditional Ethiopian wooden flute). The audio track in the foreground, on the other hand, is a manipulation of the “Seconda Fantasia Ascari Eritrei” from the 1930s (from the Archivio della Discoteca di Stato – Istituto Centrale per i Beni Sonori ed Audiovisivi, Rome) in which the Eritrean soldiers of East Italian Africa, to a tribal and hypnotic melody, repeat “Viva l’Italia!” [“Long live Italy!”], “Mussolini!” and “Viva il Re!” [“Long live the King!”].