Caterina e Elena. Vittoria e Albena

Caterina e Elena. Vittoria e Albena
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Caterina and Elena – Vittoria and Albena 

(2005) It’s an audio recording of  the conversations and the daily nursing operations that two domestic carers, Elena and Albena, the first from Romania and the other from Croatia, entertain with and devote to Caterina and Vittoria, the elderly ladies whom they look after, with, in the background, all the sounds of a house in which people are talking and working at the same time. The recording of a whole day’s work in
the kitchen of the home where the two live-in carers live together with the elderly ladies was realized in collaboration with the protagonists, who knew their chatter was being recorded. The artist recorded the conversations, the
attempts at finding common places to talk about food, the weather, work during atypical day and preserved on tape ‘anguish, uprooting, affection, tension, diffidence, passion, prejudice, contract,body, language, meetings, panic, mediation, control, sex, discipline…oneself and the other; a phenomenal linguistic workshop, a babel of signs, gestures and expressions. (Folci 2005). The recording was presented as a minimal sound installation, with microphones discreetly placed in the hall of Genoa’s historic Palazzo Commenda di San Giovanni di Pré so that the voices seemed to sound through the walls. They are dialogues, fragments of conversation between a live-in carer and her charge. There are no image, no objects, there is nothing else to do but to listen. (Folci 2005)

The stratified landscape that the woman/carer and the woman/cared for express in the time they spend together is usually a mystery to us. The sound installation preserves the background noises of body and space, the moments
of quiet expectation when words fail, and illuminates us on that territory of affections, narrations and reciprocal expectations subjected to an employment contract, regulated around determined timetables and salary. The care offered by the carer to the elderly lady whom she looks after tends to merge with chatter, with language whose primary function is, as we have seen, to establish and maintain a relationship. We can imagine that the day to day life of CATERINA E ELENA. VITTORIA E ALBENA consists in the persistent search for a shared language. In the most elementary sense, as philosopher Luisa Muraro says, talking consists in passing through what is in the mind of others to say what is in my mind. (Muraro,1992). Muraro identifies the function of language with the faculty of speakers to create a shared space through language. Connecting in a relation with the other means translating what is mine through what is in the other’s mind, knowing how to see through the other, becoming other, translating and
betraying one’s identity and identification, and welcome each other in a shared space, where mediation takes place.

 

M.Roberti, working whilst talking. Talking whilst working.

Caterina and Elena – Vittoria and Albena, (2005) is an audio recording of the conversations and the daily nursing operations that two domestic carers, Elena and Albena, the first from Romania and the other from Croatia, entertain with and devote to Caterina and Vittoria, the elderly ladies whom they look after, with, in the background, all the sounds of a house in which people are talking and working at the same time. The recording of a whole day’s work in
the kitchen of the home where the two live-in carers live together with the elderly ladies was realized in collaboration with the protagonists, who knew their chatter was being recorded.[…]

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