The winner of Lo Schermo dell’arte Film Festival Prize 2010 is the project “Ladies and Gentlemen” by Luca Bolognesi

The jury for the Lo Schermo dell’Arte Film Festival Prize 2010 for the production of a video by a young Italian artist – composed of Francesco Bernardelli, Bruno Di Marino e Silvia Lucchesi – has unanimously decided to award the prize to the project Ladies and Gentlemen by Luca Bolognesi.

The decision was made primarily for the care with which the artist deals with current themes such as ecology, global warming, pollution and sustainable use of atomic energy by studying the work and theories of British scientist James Lovelock, founder of the Global Ecologist Movement.

The artist’s decision to develop these themes in an atypical, ambitious format seems significant: that of a monologue, read by British professional actor Clive Riche, with intent to transform it into an original essay in which video is the instrument for the mis-en-scène of ideas as well as thematic and topical points.

The video will be premiered on Nov. 24, 2011, during the closing night of the 4th edition of Lo Schermo dell’Arte Film Festival

Sir James Ephraim Lovelock is an independent scientist whose major achievement is the Gaia Theory, which proves that planet Earth is a single living super-organism. The problem of global warming is seen as an imminent and inevitable threat to human civilization, whose only chance for survival might be learning its own proper role on the planet, and which are the best resources to use for this end. Ladies and Gentlemen presents itself as a documentary on the main themes treated by Lovelock, interpreted by an actor in a monologue.

[box style=”1″]Luca Bolognesi (Ferrara 1978, lives and works in Milan). In 2007, he partecipated in the 10th Istanbul Biennale and in the 14th Onufri Prize (National Gallery, Tirana). In 2008, he was invited to the 37th Rotterdam Film Festival and the 1st Festival dell’ Arte Contemporanea in Faenza. In 2009, he had his first one-man show (at Galleria CARprojects, Bologna) and partecipated in (Fondazione Merz, Turin); “Feed” (Fragmental Museum, New York); and was chosen for the Corso Superiore di Arti Visive at the Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Como. In 2011, he partecipated in the Fifth Edition of the Prague Biennale.[/box]

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[accordion-item title=”> Interview to Luca Bolognesi”]Winner of the First Edition of the Lo Schermo dell’Arte Film Festival Prize, 2010

  • The Prize jury’s motivation underlined the complexity and currency of the subject and the originality of the proposed format. Can you explain the origin of your interest in the scientist James Lovelock? Which technical and narrative requirements determined your choice of a monologue to narrate his theories?

My orientation towards James Lovelock’s thought began two and a half years ago, when I was documenting a small island whose distinguishing feature is a depression in the ground where seagulls go to die. I spent a year observing and documenting this seagull cemetery in all its transformations and became increasingly aware that it wasn’t simply the place of death it seemed at first, but indeed a small ecosystem, therefore a vital place, capable of constant, autonomous transformation and regeneration. In a certain sense staying on the island and trying to film it forced me to increasingly consider everything that composed and surrounded it as inseparable elements, and therefore to widen my gaze. The island became the observatory of a much larger and more complex system that includes it. It was like being on a mountain peak or on board an airplane, where you can see the curvature of the Earth and therefore the planet’s profile.

From that moment on, while editing the footage, I started researching scientific studies of the planet and soon came to Lovelock’s work, with which I was unfamiliar. I lived in London at the time, and was constantly looking for material until I attended a conference of his at Kings Place, where he discussed mass extinction and biodiversity with Micheal Meacher and Crispin Tickell. The clarity and relative simplicity of his thought struck me, even though it’s known mainly to a specialized audience. From that moment, since I shared the sense of urgency of the theme in question, I had an impulse to create an extract, in order to promote it.

The format I chose follows a detail of Lovelock’s thought, which suggests that human beings are the planet’s nervous system, due to our capacity for transferring our own thought. In this light, I think my role in this work has been simply as the equivalent of a nervous connection, in order that his (Lovelock’s) words initially reach another human being (the actor) and then others (the audience). I tried to create a document that’s as close as possible to the hypothesis of a planet which speaks of itself through one of its own organs. That’s why I thought it should be a monologue.

  • Where was the film shot? Can you tell us something about its development, from the proposal to the final production?

I like to think that, as with the island film, this one was also shot on planet Earth, and that every other geographic detail becomes superfluous and reductive. As far as the development is concerned, it’s a long story: after gathering James Lovelock’s bibliography and reading it, I selected salient moments and built a unified discourse without altering the contents of the original texts. I sent this text to the actor Clive Riche, whom I’d already contacted about the idea. I met with him to discuss his character and the monologue’s tones. Then I got busy researching suitable locations and outlining a shooting script, as well as deciding which period would be best for the outdoor shots. I first did some audio and video tests in the chosen locations, then shot the actual footage and did the final editing.