FIAT 633NM

FIAT 633NM
Single-channel video | 4’10’’ (loop)
1920×1080 HD | 16:9
Sound design by Emiliano Bagnato
Unique edition + artist’s proof | 2021

Winner of the Public Call “Cantica21. Italian Contemporary Art Everywhere” – Under 35 Section promoted by MAECI-DGSP and MiC-DGCC
Part of CAMeC Museum’s collection (La Spezia, IT)

The single-channel video “FIAT 633NM”, based on Eleonora Roaro’s family archive that consists of approximately 360 photographs taken in Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1937-8, aims to critically analyse and deconstruct the role of fascist-era colonial enterprises in Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, AOI),currently Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia), often erased from collective memory or nostalgically falsified. It focuses  on the collection of 52 images that represent a Fiat 633NM truck produced by the Fiat Veicoli Industriali factory from 1934 in Turin, in line with fascist autarky. It was obsessively photographed on multiple occasions as if to immortalise its exceptionalism: alone in the desert, and then with other trucks, local ethnic groups, and other settlers. 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 military march “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!”, “Mussolini!”, “Viva il Re!”.