Materials: Blue Ray single screen projection
Dimensions: Projection ratio 16:9. Duration 16'30'' looped
Catalogued: EU Roma Mapping. Black Dog Press London, UK
Exhibition history: 2009 Biennale de Lyon, Tama Project, France
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
The short film Wandering focuses our attention to a gypsy dancer who is aroused by traditional eastern-European melodies. The dancer makes wide, lavishly colorful skirts with immense flower prints happily whirl around. This is a subjective but culturally rooted act, a romantic ritual, bursting with energy, with a sense of joyous faith. Wandering successfully evokes a shared aesthetic and a collective ritual, the strong attitude of the Roma culture with regards to music and dance. What strikes us are the gestures and concentration of circular, quick or slow, spontaneous or poetical movements, always changing without losing rigor; at times the motion of the dancer, is ironically affected. They express the flowing, the virtually infinite meeting of courses, of acts, of destinies, of stories; narrating; time that passes and survives, the afterwards, beyond ruptures and discontinuity. But also modernity that does not erase tenaciously rooted habits. If the nomadism attributed to the Roma today tends to become a pretext to deprive them of the possibility of settling in one place and establishing bonds, seeing Wandering is like walking down the road, the history of the Roma people, repeating their wanderings by recuperating the most vital and fecund aspects." Extract by Gabi Scardi, Biennale de Lyon, 2009
I visited settlements in Romania where the Roma women still wear the brightly printed traditional floral patterns and the elders hand stitch their dress and patchwork together the long skirts synonymous with a woman's coming of age. The motifs and styles of dress across Eastern Europe to Asia nourished my imagination. We listened to music and they danced, transforming the skirt into a powerful feminine device casting away the traditional prudish sentiments. Lucy Orta
The motifs of the four silk skirts were created by Lucy + Jorge Orta. Original music was arranged for the video by Gundula Gruen: Caj Shukarije (Macedonia); Zsal O Savo (Hungaria); Arestelle (Romania); Kikko (Russia); Ze Dode (Transylvania); Dancer: Simona Jovic; Musicians: London Gypsy Orchestra: Gundula Gruen violin/vocals, Martin Powell accordion/vocals, and Tom Wagner percussion; Camera operator: Ilian Metev; Video Editor: Nse Asuquo; Sound editor: Pinna Studios.
This artwork was realised during a three-year long study of Roma gypsy communities across Europe conducted together with EU Roma. With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union and the London College of Fashion: digital print studio: Robert Burton; project coordination: Camilla Palestra; research: Cristina Valls and Joanne Bertaux.