The Silent Ray

2019, single-channel video, 18’38”
The Silent Ray is loosely based on a photograph taken in the northern region of Ethiopia in 1936. The photograph depicted three black shirt militia soldiers, among which was the artist’s grandfather, in the midst of a rocky landscape, while they’re engaged in extracting water from the bottom of a dry stream. The title is a reference to the rumored death ray of Guglielmo Marconi, which was said to be a secret weapon developed under Fascism’s auspices capable of destroying all signs of life from great distances.

The short film focuses on the figure of the artist’s grandfather as he recalls the events from the colonial war that Mussolini’s Italy waged against Ethiopia shortly before his death in the early 1970s. The setting is a reconstructed model of the room that for many years served as his study. Oscillating between memory and hallucination, the work is a fictional rendition of the delirious musings of a terminally ill man in his failed attempt to rationalize an unfulfilled thirst for transcendence. The recollections however could be those of any of the soldiers who took part in the colonial war, or those of an entire generation.

Rossella NISIO

Italy / 1980 born in Rieti, Italy, now living and working in Rotterdam
Rossella Nisio’s work has a strong focus on the notions of memory, imagination and space. She studied in film theory, performing arts, photography and design. Her works were collected and shown in many art/cinema institutions or museums.
Back to top