Monica Carocci

Guido Carbone

Monica Carocci’s recent show consisted of a series of black and white photographs and the video from which this series was composed. Carocci has been lauded for the subjective expressivity of her photographic work, but her use of video as a medium is new, and, at least in this case, she achieved extremely interesting results. The sequence of video images, which were projected against a wall then blown up into large scale photos, was rather disturbing—due, in part at least, to their careless rendering on a technical level.

This lack of technical refinement also characterized the photographic work, with an analogous effect: it produced a wealth of stimuli on both a formal and an expressive level. In this sequence of images, the artist performed a series of day-to-day activities: she entered the bathroom of her house, turned on the bathtub tap, fingered a sponge, climbed into the full tub, and stretched out until the camera could take in her feet. Because the videotape from which the images were drawn was shot with a hand-held video camera, the objects and body parts made visible to the viewer were identified with Carocci’s gaze. Two ordinary lighting fixtures illuminated this seemingly narrow space; one was powered by batteries placed under water so that the light was never sufficient to render the action fully visible.

This footage was edited by the artist, who slowed down or speeded up the images, stopping the action. The result was a video sequence in which the initial data—that totality of normal gestures—took on an almost visionary quality. The objects and the body became fuzzy images that moved slowly or stopped amid white spots in the dark blue of the TV screen. In other words, the mechanical eye and the technological procedure actually produced a hallucination. As in certain “mediumistic” photographs from the beginning of the century that showed whitish forms of ectoplasm behind the mediums who had called them forth, so in this video the body, objects, the very space seemed immersed in a surreal state that somehow brought everything together. It was precisely this quality that struck the spectator most: the idea that through hallucination, the subject and the body overcame the fragmented and divided experience of reality.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.