Oh patria mia, mai più ti rivedrò! Mai più! Mai più ti rivedrò! O cieli azzurri o dolci aure native Dove sereno il mio mattin brillò O verdi colli o profumate rive O patria mia, mai più ti rivedrò!
(Oh my homeland, I will never see you again! No more! Never see you again! Oh blue skies and gentle breezes of my village Where the calm morning shone O green hills and perfumed shores O my homeland, I will never see you again!)
Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida premiered at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo on December 24, 1871. A century and a half later, David Krippendorff sets his film Nothing Escapes My Eyes, which won the Berlin Short Film Festival in 2016, in a parking garage on Meidan el-Opera, or Opera Square, erected after the opera house was destroyed by fire. Verdi’s aria Padre, a costoro schiava non sono provides the soundtrack for a work that embodies nostalgia and absence in a precision of ambiguity that does not seek to reenact the opera, but present it as a metaphor within a metaphor, one uniquely suited to express the drama of identity with all the intensity it possesses in an individual’s life. Read more »
David Krippendorff is a US/German interdisciplinary artist and experimental filmmaker. Based in Berlin, he grew up in Rome, Italy, and studied art at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin, Germany, where he graduated with an MFA. His paintings, drawings, prints, films, and videos have been shown internationally, including at the New Museum (New York), ICA (London), Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg), and the Museum on the Seam (Jerusalem). He has participated in three biennials (Prague, Poznan, Tel Aviv).
Krippendorff’s short film Nothing Escapes My Eyes is currently part of the group exhibition “The Women Behind” at the Museum on the Seam; it was also shown at the Belgrade City Museum for the 56th October Salon in 2016 and has been screened at numerous international film festivals, winning twice as Best Short Film. Kali, a short film based on Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, also features Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass; it premiered at the Braunschweig International Film Festival in 2017.
Andrea Scrima: David, I’d like to begin with a question about your previous work. For decades now, you’ve been incorporating imagery from popular culture; earlier works, particularly There’s No Place Like Home,Sleeping Beauty, and The Beautiful Island, drew on the hidden subtexts in well-known American movies, such as The Wizard of Oz and Gilda. What was the motivating force behind this line of inquiry?
David Krippendorff: I grew up on classic American movies. The Wizard of Oz was an intrinsic part of my childhood, so it felt very natural to work with these films, because I had a personal relationship to them. My interest was in uncovering the ideologies and desires present in these films, but hidden beneath a polished layer of glamour and storytelling. I’m also fascinated by how thin the boundaries have become between the personal and the mediated experience, and films—with their almost mythological function—are the perfect material for this inquiry. Read more »