The human figures that appear climbing the boarding stairs of an aeroplane in an orderly fashion intend to embark on a flight, yet this is not a flight of pride like the one undertaken by Icarus, but a flight of submission, deception and sorrow. This video by Adrian Paci (Shköder, Albania,1969) begins with a side shot of boarding stairs, an image from which the hypothetical aircraft theylead up to is absent. It continues with a high-angleshot from the top of the stairs that will be methodically climbed by people we recognise as emigrants. We see their feet, their dignified and self-controlled faces, the breeze that slightly ruffles their hair. When the available space on the stairs is full, the shot opens up and a general shot reveals the ensemble as a free-standing sculpture, a huge inhabited though isolated pedestal, an artefact that leads nowhere. The characters are arrested, but all around them traffic proceeds, for aircraft are continuously landing and taking off in the background landscape. Although the work was filmed at San José airport(California, United States), it takes its title fromthe Italian term for the fields fitted out for illegal immigrants, who sometimes spend years waiting for their cases to be solved. The video constitutes a powerful metaphor for uprootedness, transitoriness and the lack of a destination, where travel is a synonym of survival, of an escape from poverty, offering no guarantees of access to well-being. As well as to video, Paci turns to sculpture, painting and installations to portray the dramatic situation of the Balkans and to define the feeling of loss in connection with exile, emigration and displacement. Telling fictitious stories often brings him in touch with the suffering entailed in abandoning certainties. However, silence is the most eloquent factorin works such as Centro di permanenza temporanea (Centre of Temporary Permanence) or Home To Go (2001), a sculpture and a series of photographs in which the artist depicts himself bearing the weight of the two slopes of a roof as if they were two heavy wings that prevent him from taking off.
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