video installation

5 short films 8-12 min each
HD video, stereo, color
supported by Cortona Visual Narratives Scholarship / Cortona on the Move + COVID Visual Project

Camera, Direction & Editing by Mo Scarpelli 
Sound Recordings by Mo Scarpelli, Felix Blume
Produced by Andrea Arena
Curated by Liza Faktor 

Produced by Vessel and Rake Films

I SOGNI DI ROMA is an audiovisual installation which explores the resilience of imagination in the unpredictable times of the pandemic.
In five short films, disembodied voices of Romans impart their dreams from during 50 days of strict quarantine.

The COVID-19 virus hit Italy in March 2020. Strict quarantine was enforced. For 50 days and nights, Romans could not leave their homes except to buy groceries or medicines.

In this time, people dreamt. Some dreamt more lucidly than ever. I began to collect dreams so as to touch the pulse of something extraordinary I felt around me, even with our windows closed and our masks tugged tight across our faces. Time and space were conflating, dissipating. Something invisible swirled into the night. What was happening to us, from inside? What did we construct in our minds, out of necessity? What does this say about who we are and what we can withstand?

The Romans’ voices in this series of five short films provide an exercise in survival. The dreamers recorded their voices alone, in their houses, lying in a similar position to when they dreamed, and sometimes right after they dreamed. The intimacy of the voice reveals a secret world of the quarantine which went overlooked in the broader narratives about panic, contagion, and lack of mobility. Here in the dreams we are privy to absurdity, sadness, elation, terror. A vital force projected these experiences to the dreamer in a time when human touch was prohibited; when nature was far away; when physical adventure was impossible; when our realizations of love exploded inside us but couldn't be put into practice of touching or seeing those we love.

The themes of each piece derives from notions in Carl Jung's memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Jung knew that the psyche was distinctly more complicated and inaccessible than the body. But here in quarantine, in silence, perhaps things became more accessible, if we allowed them. What did our dreams from this unprecedented time, where primal fear and desire could scream to us in the silence, tell us then? What do they tell us now? Are we ready to listen? 

An unseeable unknowable virus killed thousands of people in Italy within months. Many of us thought we may die. Yet some of us lived, and lived twice — in our isolated waking life, and in our sleep. This project is a tribute, an attempt at a compass of human notions, a historical record of the psyche, a chance to glimpse the vital participation of the human being in their own imagination, in order to survive.

Using Format