Dispacci/Dispatches is a performance made in various locations in the “African quarter” of Rome and around Centocelle, in the outskirts of Rome, where the Francesco Baracca military airport is located. The airport hosts the headquarters of COI, Comando Operativo Interforze, where meetings among military chiefs of the International coalition against DAESH were met to plan an international operation in Libya.
Italy waged 4 wars in Libya, one in 1911, another in the late 30’s, the Second World War, and 100 years after the first war, also called Italo-Turkish War, in 2011, within the international mission Odyssey Dawn then renamed Unified Protector.
The key elements of connection between past and present are represented by aerial bombings, the first one in history being carried out by Italian pilot Giulio Gavotti in 1911, when he dropped 4 Cipelli hand-grenades on the trenches in the Oasis of Tripoli, then those during fascist occupation, whereas yprite gases were used against civilian population, to the combat operations against British troops in occasion of WWII to the massive air bombing campaign by Italian air forces in the Odyssey Dawn operations that led to the ousting of Ghaddafi and its regime.
Historical documents such as the letter that Gavotti sent to his father after his mission, to dispatches documenting the impact of yprite gas on civilian populations in Libya, to war bulletins in WWII and a list of hi-tech bombs used by Italian bombers in Odyssey Dawn have been read in specific locations in urban topography, named after key sites in Libya.
In a period when the debate on a possible international military intervention in Libya is still in the headlines, and when the infamous European Union-Turkey agreement on migrants would reactivate the Mediterranean route for migrants leaving Libya, Dispacci/Dispatches intends to contribute to bring back the historical responsibilities of a former colonial state, how such past is still embedded in the current cultural and political discourse, the need to de-colonize the “view point” on Mediterranean politics and war.
Dispacci/Dispatches, is an ideal follow-up of A4C first pop-up exhibition “From the shores of Tripoli to the hills of Moctezuma” where we explored utopistic projects to drain the waters of the Mediterranean seas and create an area of economic and colonial control during Nazism, to the implications of free trade agreements on peoples’ rights, the paradox of neoliberal Europe that fosters free circulation of goods and raised physical and immaterial barriers to human mobility. The title originates from the hymn of the US Marine Corps , that were engaged in their first battle in Libya in the 19th century, when US presidents used to issue passports to allow for the free and safe passage of merchant ships along the Barbary Coast, populated by pirates that were waging a Holy War (Jihad) against Western interests. the visual and historical short-circuits that derive from the exhibition are meant to offer a viewpoint on current power relations, intercultural and migrant issues, cultural hegemonies.