Flora in Utopias: On Thinking Through Moving Images
The research project ‘Flora in Utopias: On Thinking Through Moving Images’ addresses approaches in docufictional digital video practices. These practices invite viewers to problematize constructions of meaning within the documentary. Through the overlaying of diverse perspectives, docufictionary practices display ambiguous factual narratives. A critical approach to documentary intentions renders the understanding of images as no longer unequivocal.
A central question in this research project is: how do documentary moving images and fictional narratives involve and evolve each other?
The concept of the imaginary voyage is contextualized as a precursor of both contemporary documentary and docufictionary moving images. On the one hand, in terms of a tool able to manipulate the spectator towards particular views, and on the other hand as a catalyst of critical reflections towards the practices of the societies in which narratives were envisioned.
The relationship between floras in the utopian sub-genre of the imaginary voyage to earthly/heavenly paradises and in actual landscape is chosen as a field of inquiry. The term flora is understood as a particular form of the non-human that functions as the epistemological vessel for socio-political intentions within contemporary physical landscape – such as historical facts or colonial practices in which single utopias originated.
A fictional narrative of digital video recordings of flora is adopted as a method of research to examine the role of imagination in the production of meaning. This follows the belief that such living organisms connoted by time and movement relate to the human urge to 'represent', not only by weaving connections between the factual and the fictional but also by editing and externalizing narratives of displacement for an implicit public.
Further artistic and discursive means alongside digital video and text will support the research process, such as (digital) gardens, dioramas, a lexicon of utopian floras, or the establishing of biotopes working as identifiers of utopian situations.
Artist and researcher Ilaria Biotti (1982, IT) studied fine arts at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florenz, at the HKU, Utrecht, and at the Institut for Art in Context, UdK, Berlin.
In her practice, Biotti explores the actualization of imagination as a primeval agent in the production of urban landscapes through and within digital video. She thereby examines collective and personal abstract thought and meta-narratives related to the non-human. Her inquiries are often driven by microhistorical process-oriented and research-based methodologies.
Biotti has participated in international exhibitions and residences, among which the 5th Athens Biennale OMONOIA, Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Goethe Institut Bogota, Istituto di Cultura Italiano Cape Town, NSK State Pavilion – 57th Venice Biennale, Tate Exchange London, and Transmediale CAPTURE ALL Berlin.
She is part of the steering committee of the artist association Peninsula.