a tale of petrochemicals | 14m, video, social practice, 2020

a tale of petrochemicals is a video in which three custom marionettes, three voiceover actors, and a musician, reenact an interview the artist undertook whilst on residence in the Italian town of Ferrara, Italy.

In conversation with the Italian puppeteer Vittorio Zanella, the discussion focusses on his father’s involvement at the local Montedison factory in 1963, the year his colleague Giulio Natta jointly won the Nobel Prize for the development of Polypropylene (the second most used plastic in the world today). Highlighting plastics role in medicinal technologies, workers' health, and cultural life, the conversation begins with basic information regarding its development in the area, moving on to discuss the environmental, pathological, legal, and domestic effects of the material in regions of Northern Italy.

Furthermore, with the third puppet acting as a translator between the artist and the puppeteer, the video raises questions around the formation of histories in their process of translation into another language.

Director: henry bradley
Cinematography: Marlon Rouse Tavares
Voiceover: Saverio Buono, Carlotta Sofia Grassi, and henry bradley
Puppeteers: Raven Kaliana, Tony Sinnett, and Richard Sinnett
Translation/Transcription: Angelica Bollettinari, Giorgia Chiaron, Carlotta Sofia Grassi, Francesco Pavignano, and Tommi Valli
Curatorial Support: Carlotta Clerici and Giulia Perucci
Story: Vittorio Zanella
Marionette design: henry bradley and Tony Sinnett
Marionette build: Tony Sinnett

Special thanks: Ed Berriman, Lizzie Berriman, Ben Bradley, Angelica Bollettinari, Giorgia Chiaron, Carlotta Sofia Grassi, Flavia Franceschini and Vannie Franceschini, Vittorio Zanella and Rita Zanella

Install shots: A Fluid Haze, Galerie Porta degli Angeli, Ferrara, Italy


Supported by: 
Resina, Ferrara, Italy; Salt Project Collective, Turin, Italy; PS2, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK