First of all welcome to this web corner which tries to bring Alimono to the attention of the public, and now let’s start with the questions.
Let’s start then..
1) The Video “Alimono” is named after your own collections of poetry. In the video we can hear and see five of these compositions. So starting from the collection, from where does it come the need to write the lyrics of Alimono? And why have you got this such strong bond with Greece?
I have to start from the end. Greece has been my second home during the university years. The relationship that has been developed there, regards a kind of exposure to the myth; exposure which has nothing to do with the culture or with the superstructure. Simply, all of what had come through books, studies, researches has shown alive and concrete. There is no “before “or “after” in Greece there is an ongoing “continuity” in the landscape, in the language. If you want to feel the structure of the philosophy, the theater, the mythology, you have to travel between the islands of the Aegean, you have to forget what the tourism denaturalize. You don’t need to throw away everything, because in what it shows, there is also what you are looking for. Regarding Alimono, It has been a while since I started planning a biography which could transcend the biography. I needed a story. So I thought to Maria Nefeli of Elytis, I turned her into a kind of Beatrice on a journey that would represent many trips since every biography is never a single path. I have been inspired also by the reading of “Save Venice” by Weil, to create a bridge with the contemporary when I approached the motif of the dream
2) How was born the idea to transfigure the collection through a theatrical and visual lens?
When I have reached the conclusion of the poem, I realized that somehow that writing responded to the ancient function of the storytelling: entertainment and cultural transmission. Then I have spoken with the actress Iula Marzulli. I know her for a long time and I have been always interested in her studied about the potential of the voice, so I have asked what she thought…, and after having reasoned together, we started the collaboration
3) In the texts of the video there are several recurrent mythological figures like Medea, Helen and Ulysses, who closes the video. Would you talk about them? What is the meaning of the myth and of these myths, here and now, for you?
Beyond the trend of interpretation, I am still persuaded that Levy-Strauss had approached the understanding of myth with the most suitable tools: he created the idea of the system through the linguistics. The Structuralism states that, in the myth, the structure is in charge of telling. It is a kind of writing in the writing, which does not have to resolve the contradictions which it generates and transmits in itself. Mythology touches the key points of being alive it talks a lot about the death too but not in the same way of the religion. Despite of being a story of deity and about the deity, in the relationship between this one and the human dimension the mythology is undoubtedly secular story. This makes us free, to explore any obscure point, without the imposition of any mystery.
As we are born in a different age, we should collect what has been settled of the myth. Medea, Ulysses, Helen, here play the role of levistraussian figures: they are part of a system. The underlying system tells and the contents are images-filter. The Christianity – especially the one conveyed by Elytis poems, as far as it concerns my work – enters into the structure without force. We must not forget that Christianity has crossed us for two thousand years. But learning the continuity of the myth, its exasperating outcomes, makes the myth itself something closer to our feelings. The filter is the Byzantium of the gold, the incense and iconoclasm. The rite of revelation changes and speaks through the gestures of the icon.
4) In addition to the recurring myths you have presented the literary figure of Maria Nefeli. What are you referring to?
Maria Nefeli is the “wonderful literary character” created by Odysseas Elytis. She is the poet himself overthrown, the female who observes the world by opening endless windows on different realities .It is the truth in the mirror. To read that poem (unfortunately there is only a partial translation in Italian) it is like to go through a form of revelation. The bright, in Elytis poem, contains the darkness of the abyss too, the misery is the seed of the bliss. The human being has all this inside while translating it always outside of himself. In the story of the Russian Pilgrim there is a little of the story of Maria Nefeli: there will be the communion with God, when we realize that in our hearts, He is the One who repeats our name. Does exist a mysticism most touching, most direct passage from the ancient mysteries of our Christianity?
5) What kind of experience have you gained, as a writer who sees transfigured into video work her poems?
It has been a very important experience. It’s like learning to read my own work in several languages, I can test dozens of new nuances: this was the secret unveiled….incredible. To hear the sound of the words of the story, through sounds, gestures, places, that are exactly what I have written and in the mean time they seem unknown. How can I say? The presence of all on that in this work was the way to get an essence. For sure it has been an experience that I want to repeat.
6) What is the desire that lies behind the realization of this video work?
At the beginning I wasn’t so sure: I wanted to see what would have happened,… working with Iula and hearing the creaking floor joists, you know … Like when someone enters after a long time in an empty house. Maybe it’s all here: the poem… from what you hear around…, is made of echoes. I wanted someone who could live into my poetry.
7) Do you want to talk about your other writing projects?
The more substantial project is the continuation of a wide work, “Canzoniere di Karoline Knabberchen”, by Claudio Di Scalzo. This work is divided into more than 12 books, more than 30 years of work: it is poetry and visual, which crosses with its history all kinds of poetry. It is a majestic work, it is beautiful and I am proud to be part of it. I’m writing other monologues which I hope to translate on a stage and video. In October… if we manage to finish on time… it will be issued the new edition of the “Discorsi Militari” by Giovanni Boine. It is a book on which I am working for more than two years, made of studies and research, on unpublished material. It has been created in collaboration with the “Museum of the History” of Trento, prof. Claudio Di Scalzo and prof. Andrea Aveto of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Genoa. I am really looking forward for it
Images from the video poetry “Alimono”, translation of Martina Bradaschia.
(You can find the complete collection of Alimono in the web site “La Casa di Carta”: https://lacasadicartapapirnatahisa.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/chiara-catapano-alimono/)