Mikhail Karikis, Children of Unquiet, video still, 2013
Initiated in 2012, in the frame of Radio Papesse's residency programme Nuovi Paesaggi, Mikhail Karikis’ Children of Unquiet research took place within the intricate natural, historical and socio-economic context of the geothermal area of the Devil’s Valley in Tuscany, Italy.
Known for its legendry association with Dante’s Inferno, this is the very location where sustainable energy production was invented 100 years ago and where the first geothermal power station in the world was built, in the village of Larderello. Until recently, a community of around five thousand people lived there in a group of iconic modernist industrial villages planned by italian architect Giovanni Michelucci.
Larderello, urban plan by Giovanni Michelucci.
Following the introduction of automated and remote operation technologies by the industry, unemployment increased and prospects for the young became limited resulting in the rapid depopulation or abandonment of entire villages.
At the centre of Karikis’s project is his homonymous film, which he produced in collaboration with children from the region.
Larderello, in gita con Pierdomenico Burgassi, geologo e già direttore del Museo della Geotermia.
The film orchestrates a children’s take-over of a deserted workers’ village and its adjacent industrial and natural locations. Accompanying the film, a photographic series and a Super 8 film capture the children’s visions of the future of their homes in the deserted villages as they depict them in a series of futurological drawings and urban plans generated in workshops with the artist. In addition, the project features a sound work entitled 102 Years Out of Synch, which traces the site’s legendary, literary and cinematic connections with Dante's Inferno and the sonic imaginary of Hell, as well as a new board game designed by the artist to activate decision-making processes, dilemmas and conflicts that echo the conflicting narratives of the social-economic preoccupations at the site.
Mikhail Karikis, Larderello: the boardgame, installation view at Villa Romana, Florence, 2014.
In Children of Unquiet a desolate post-industrial site exudes new potential unleashed out of the ruins by a community of children. By challenging narratives of a failed human project and obligatory migration that dominate them, they evoke different possible, desired or imagined futures.
We express our gratitude to our supporters and partners - the Arts Council England, Art Sheffield 2013, Villa Romana and the Toscana Region with Toscanaincontemporanea 2013, the Council of Pomarance, the Silvio Pellico Primary School, the Guido Monaco Childrens’ Choir.
Mikhail Karikis a London-based artist whose practice emerges from his ongoing exploration of the role of sound and the human voice in creating a sense of collectivity that shapes people’s lives and professional identities, and challenges dominant political and cultural conventions. Karikis’s work is exhibited at 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014). Recent shows include Assembly, Tate Britain (2014); Aichi Triennale, Japan (2013); Manifesta 9, Belgium (2012); Danish Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale (2011).