“It is one of the ‘unresolved mysteries’ of the village of Malonno… that one fine day about twenty six years ago, someone realized that the monolith known as the ‘Cornel de la Regina’ disappeared,” reads an article in the Giornale di Brescia dated July 12 2014. Malonno, perched above the Val Camonica valley in the central Italian Alps, is home to the largest collection of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world; according to local lore, one day the Cornel de la Regina — a famed monolith which had long adorned the village’s souvenir postcards — vanished. Despite its heft and weight, no one could come up with a satisfying explanation for how this happened.
Conflicting accounts emerged from different camps in the local population: had electromagnetic waves dissolved the rock? Was it pulverized by a localized earthquake? Or had witches spirited it away? One man claimed to have personally dismantled it with a hammer, chunk by chunk; the local policeman claimed that the village’s more conservative residents had demolished it after it became a favorite spot for rowdy teenage gatherings. These explanations reflected the village’s overlapping histories of idolatry, paganism and Catholicism, but also exposed the fault lines between them, magnified by the town’s small size.
In 2014 Orestis Mavroudis, a visual artist and filmmaker, staged a public event in the village which proposed a provisional anniversary for the monolith’s disappearance as a way of gathering local residents to discuss this event and remember
forgotten details. The event, titled Anniversario Temporaneo, involved readings, a local accordion player, fireworks and a local magician — among other activities. According to Mavroudis, the event caused a stir in the community: memories resurfaced, but so did old tensions. Some residents, angry that he himself did not take an explicit position on the monolith’s disappearance himself, demanded he leave the next day.
In the absence of verifiable facts, Mavroudis’s event constitutes an experiment in conjuring up collective memory. An ephemeral ethnography of place, this fictional anniversary becomes a snapshot of Malonno’s repressed histories and contemporary tensions, unpredictable in its consequences; it is a performance that reflects on its relationship to truth, ultimately acknowledging reality as a kaleidoscopic and contested mess.”
Anastasia Douka, Stella Dimitrakopoulou, Orestis Mavroudis: Redefining a Documentary Practice” essay by Jacob Moe
12.07.2014, Giornale di Brescia
12.07.2014, Giornale di Brescia (detail)
Within the context of: Case Sparse | Tra l’Etere e la Terra residency program, edition 2014 "Il Centro storico - Frazioni" - Malonno, Val Camonica, Lombardia, Italy