Fiamma Montezemolo: Adjacent Fields
Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Walter and McBean Galleries
800 Chestnut St

Join us for a screening of two films by artist and cultural anthropologist Fiamma Montezeomolo. Both films explore the border of Mexico and the US as a site of artistic and anthropological investigation. Following the films, Montezemolo will be in conversation with SFAI Assistant Curator and Exhibitions Manager Katie Hood Morgan.

Fiamma Montezemolo is both an artist (MFA, San Francisco Art Institute) and a cultural anthropologist (Ph.D, Universita’ degli Studi Orientali di Napoli). She is an established scholar in border studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema&Digital Media at the University of California, Davis. She works mainly with installation and video. Her artwork has been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally, and she is represented by the Magazzino Dell’Arte gallery in Rome. She authored and co-authored several articles and books, among them: Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the global Border (Duke U. Press), Here is Tijuana (Black Dog Publishing).

Event program:

Traces, 2012
Video, 20:19 min.

In this video-essay contemplative images, confessions, theoretical reflections, and an enigmatic electronic musical motif merge to form a meditation on border life between the United State & Mexico. Based on both years of ethnographic work in Tijuana and an ascetic shooting schedule of 24hrs, the artist and anthropologist refracts her own experience in the region by attempting to sculpt a textured living portrait of the Wall that separates Tijuana and San Diego. Images of a rusty wall, unruly topography, decaying surveillance structures, furtive moments of undocumented migrant crossings, and dystopian landscapes are interwoven with a mournful voice-over enunciated from a different time and place. The fate of the Wall is sealed: its remains are to be collected like forensic evidence by a visitor, perhaps another anthropologist and artist, perhaps another undocumented migrant, from the future.

Echo, 2014
Video, 38:50 min.

Set in the border between Mexico and USA, Echo is a fieldwork-based research on the after life and “echoes” of 9 art works that have been part of the two-decade old public art event called inSite. The film highlights the procedures of intrusion at work in such a site as the US-Mexico border and meditates on the deployment of the emblematic figure of fieldwork in contemporary art practice. It teaches us that intrusion is a crucial dimension of intervention, at once anthropological, curatorial, and artistic. By revisiting the scenes of these curatorial and artistic interventions, “echo” emerges both as a concept and a practice that assembles the futures of art works beyond its expected ruins and remains. Each work/artist and afterlife/echo of those works raises different and enriching questions about social art, its ethics and methods, on the people involved in these projects, on the city and its urban cycles, and on the future of public sculpture.


This event is part of series of open call events in conjunction with A Living Thing an interactive exhibition platform featuring programming developed in collaboration with members of the SFAI community: students, staff, faculty, and the general public. 

A Living Thing seeks to create space for common ground within our increasingly fractured civil discourse. Throughout its run, A Living Thing will offer a sanctuary for conversations, performances, debate, and acts of solidarity and resistance—through an open mic during all gallery hours, and this open call to students, artists, activists, citizens, residents, visitors, and others that wish to contribute to the life represented by the flag.

 SFAI invites participation in A Living Thing. Please visit to submit your ideas. 

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Traces, 2012, Video, 20:19 min. Image courtesy Magazzino Gallery, Rome.