Penny SiopisSouth AfricaVisual Arts1998

At Civitella I produced ‘raw’ video footage for two works. The first was my own ‘home-movie’ footage of the castle (people and place) as well as other events in Italy. One such event took place in Città di Castello. It was an award ceremony for Umbrian residents who had resisted German occupation of Italy in the 2nd world war. The celebration struck a chord in me as it encapsulated past and present in a particularly visual way. I filmed part of the event - people watching a documentary film on the resistance. This event connected with how South African history is currently being told through the media by showing the importance of personal stories. The other work – also about memory – took a different form, being animation with drawing and collage. It was a massive experiment. As I had never worked in this medium before, and since I only thought of animation once happily ensconced in my studio, trial and error were my only means. As it turned out trial and error were perfect. Civitella lifestyle offered the endless hours of ‘studio play’ necessary for this approach. (Work commitments at home make this impossible). Even the sound track for the animation emerged from Civitella. The stop-start process of the video animation shots literally made sound bites of the musical strains emanating from the player. This provided the best accompaniment for the fragmented narrative I wove.