It is not often that one witnesses an exhibition curator pushing a large black projection box balanced precariously on bicycle wheels through the streets of Florence. It is also decidedly rare to see the side of the Duomo being appropriated as a make-shift screen for an independent short film. And one has to find the world’s smallest cinema in order to watch its films—but how often do we think to look for the movie-going experience in a parking lot?
This fall, ‘film on the move’ is taking over Florence—streets, piazzas, palaces, and open spaces of all shapes and sizes. On the evening of Oct. 5, the International Guerilla Film Festival (IGVFest) enjoyed its inaugural presentation. The Florentine show was inspired by the Graffiti Research Lab’s ‘projection bombing’—a project where temporary digital ‘graffiti’ was shot onto New York city structures. The festival’s curator, Jason Waite, ‘bombed’ Florence with the video art of ten Italian and international artists, thanks to a provisional projector crafted out of a laptop, a car battery and jumper cables. The festival began at Fortezza da Basso and moved to the wall of the Santa Maria Novella station and the scaffolding of Santa Maria Novella. Images were then shot onto the white front of a garbage dumpster behind Mercato Centrale, and later took over the façade of the Duomo in an hour-long grand finale. The entire projection system took a mere 60 seconds to set up and pull down at each location. The program had originally allowed for only one film at the Duomo in anticipation of possible protests from the city’s urban guards, but the project was so well-received, that technicians remained in the piazza, shooting until the laptop battery ran down.
Waite has always found the concept of ‘projection bombing’ appealing, but in the Florence show he hoped to redefine prominent Florentine social structures by adding content to form. ‘While the purpose of graffiti is to become famous,’ he noted, ‘this idea is not as interesting as trying to use an exclusive medium meant for expensive settings and taking it out to the public sphere. I want to change the concept of moving images and break them into a place of high gothic beauty.’