Venezia Scalzo Written Statement

Venezia Scalzo is a short Screendance film exploring perception, transformation, and emotion through poetry, movement, and music. Emerging from the sites, sounds, and feelings of Venice, Italy — Venezia Scalzo articulates expansive relations between environment and experience.

A series of eight poems, spoken in Italian with English subtitles, leads the viewer through imaginations and projections of introspective moments. Correlating, the dancer, called by many names, travels through a series of locations and identities in Venice, Italy, suffusing and lulling with water as a linguistic, corporeal, and reflective motif. Intimate and oceanic, Venezia Scalzo winds along Venetian canals through fleeting emotions, provokingly juxtaposed forms, and experiments of truth.

Venezia Scalzo makes manifest universal, atemporal, yet highly individualistic and subjective moments of complexity. Perception is re-birthed in the anticipation, process, and reflection of emotion, taking root in the entanglements of being. Simultaneously mundane and sacred, void and full, mortal and eternal, this film curates glimpses of imperfect, intersubjective knowings and unknowings. Leaning into the inner piers and porticos of each narrative ‘reality,’ Venezia Scalzo dips its toe into infinite possibility of sentience, of becoming. Returning to both human and superhuman narratives, circular, multidisciplinary storytellings bring objective and subjective into flow — sparking empathy and presentness amidst wild imaginative rawness.

The text begins and ends with the oceanic, godlike perspective, imbuing modernist grand narratives into every simple, yet undefinable, narrative within. Likewise, multidisciplinary forms, such as those of language (movement and spoken) and environment (site and sound), are used to reimagine ‘beautiful’ existence, calibrating explorations of positivity, negativity, and neutrality to bring a freshness to (super)human emotional experience. The beauty in Venezia Scalzo is modernist as transitive, contingent, and fleeting, is atemporal yet paradoxically redefined in each moment, implying that the audience’s own lives harbor the complex realities of beauty which co-create with our perception, of ourselves, time, and space.

Multidisciplinary artistic forms are used to generate discursive paradigms, playing with non committal yet encompassing theories. Venezia Scalzo relies on melodramatic elements, including a realist(ic) setting and highly dramatized characters, alongside incessant repetitions with slight variations, in both the poetry and choreography, to uncover the glitches of grandiosity of the everyday. If all verses are components of one character, the film dips into truthisms — having a documentary quality that romanticizes imperfect aspects of life, as in pink neorealism.

If each verse is a different person, as a name often suggests (especially in the natural landscape — for example ‘ocean’ and ‘lagoon’ being linguistically dis-animated and separated) — the film takes on a more melodramatic tone. More specifically, the only untranslated phrase is “mi chiama…” meaning “they call me.” While the linguistic forms wade through imaginations of identity, often using “I am” statements, names are still donned in unarticulated relations.

Adding to this dissonance, a lack of adherence to the gendered grammatical norms of the Italian language renders focus instead on sonic and phenomenological flow, as opposed to heteronormative forms. Subtle, supplemental queer undertones add an element of reclamation and liberation to the composite forms at play. Queer maxims are enmeshed into the film through the personal histories of audience members, altering and questioning perception.

Every component of the film harbors a stark, thrill intensity, intimately intertwined with the energies of primordial death, and by extension life. The dramatic, vulgar, words and movements look backwards, and inwards, into the fundamental maxims of existence, consistent across time and space. The sheer overwhelm of strained, grotesque movement, of religious and cultural symbols often dimensionally skewed, heavy use of body fluids, portray a vital flow of carefree, loving violence reminiscent of the disheveled scapigliatura style.

Overlaying all, a post-modernly intrusive authorship dawdles in uncertain, mundane, ambiguous unknowings, having a hermeneutic (but not inherently suspicious) relationship to the film’s modernist elements.

Venezia Scalzo leans into the paradoxes of postmodern reality and myth, wading in the inescapable circularity of both life and art. The film acknowledges the intricate futilities of its forms in the illogical, unintuitive connections between them. The odd combination of (a)synchreties makes glaringly visible the audience’s hand in deciphering meaning from the combinations. For example, sometimes the sound score can both add to, and overwhelm, the emotional content of the film. Likewise, temporal references are often of the past and/or the future, reimagining our relationship to reality through the film’s many starts and ends, peeking at un-shown worlds.

In all, Venezia Scalzo creatively engages with intersubjective selfhood amidst our present reality, shaped by life and art in past and future. The film leads the viewer through the perceptive, emotional journeys of the protagonist(s), and by extension the audience’s own unique relationship to reality, by articulating filmic glimpses of extreme specificity that are smoothly contextualized by a universal wholeness.

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