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'Durchgang' is the German word that indicates a transition between two enclosed spaces such as a door or gate, or between two open spaces, such as an alley. I made the video "Passaggi – Durchgänge" when I was invited to participate in the exhibition series "Texts and Testimonies" organized by the House of Memory and History of Rome. I got permission to shoot in the building of Via Tasso 145, today the seat of the Historical Museum of the Liberation of Rome, which was used by the Nazi occupation forces as a prison and place of interrogation and torture during the occupation of Rome from 10 September 1943 to 4 June 1944.
The video focuses on the physical elements of the rooms of the former prison: the thresholds, doors, floors, walls, openings (the SS had walled up the windows, leaving only small air vents). My intention was to give a glimpse of the perception that prisoners of Via Tasso had of a place where they were constrained by violence, dragged from one room to another for interrogation and torture, locked up in the cells. I filmed the messages written in pencil and carved by prisoners on the walls of the cells (including one that says “vivrà”, ‘will live’); to these I juxtaposed the brutal typography of the Nazi-fascist posters promising and announcing death.
This is the primary content of the video, but for me it also implies the memory of two artistic interventions made in the cells of Via Tasso in 1993 by Fabio Mauri, on 24 March, and Mel Bochner, on 8 April. Both of them, in different ways, sought to emphasize – with the means of art – the need and the importance of remembering what had happened there. Over time, memory can weaken and become distorted. Photography and the moving image are ways to capture and store fragments of time, that become history through our studying and taking responsibility for them.