In the ear of the tyrant
Sydney born/ Paris based video artist Angelica Mesiti and Italian vocalist Enza Pagilara have re-enacted a traditional ritual of grieving in the three-channel video installation 'In the ear of the tyrant' 2013-14. Presented is the silhouette of Pagilara singing the Greek lament 'Moroloja', which was recited by Prefiche (hired wailers) women at funeral processions in Sicily up until the 1950s. The footage was shot on location in the Ear of Dionysus, an ancient ear shaped cave which had been carved out of solid limestone in Temenites Hill. Legend states that Dionysus used the site as a prison; its excellent acoustics amplifying the escape plans of his political dissidents. Mesiti's real-time camerawork scans the chiselled walls not to mention the emotive hand movements and facial expressions of Pagilara as her refrain intensifies. The recorded performance mourns corporeal as well as cultural death.
three-channel HD video installation, 16:9, PAL, colour, surround sound, 05:00 min
edition of 3 + AP1, AP2
Signature & date
Signed Certificate of Authenticity, black fibre-tipped pen "Angelica Mesiti". Dated Certificate of Authenticity, printed black ink "2014".
Viktoria Marinov Bequest Fund 2014
Not on display
Shown in 1 exhibition
19th Biennale of Sydney: You are what you desire, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Mar 2014–06 Jun 2014
Referenced in 3 publications
Michael Brand, Look, 'From the Gallery director', pg. 13, Sydney, Sep 2014, 13.
Juliana Engberg (Editor), 19th Biennale of Sydney: you imagine what you desire, 'Angelica Mesiti', pg. 206-207, Sydney, 2014, 206 (colour illus., video still), 207, 281.
Jill Sykes, Look, 'What to see in the 19th Biennale of Sydney', pg. 22-25, Sydney, Mar 2014, 24.