Hem of Memory

2 Channel Video 13.12 mins 2018

The two-channel video installation, Hems of Memory, is one of a series of five film art works drawn from the film Il Contratto – a feature length film directed by Giorgio Mangiamele shot in Melbourne in the early 1950’s. The film was left unfinished, silent, without a soundtrack.

The film art project, After/II Contratto, unravels ghostly echoes, refractions and reconstructed remembrances and presents a re-mapping of cultural, cinematic and personal histories of migration.

Hems of Memory comprises a 2008 video documentary interview with Halina Kisilevski, who played Claudia, the female lead of Il Contratto. After many years Halina is presented with images of herself in the film. Her interview is combined with images and narrative fragments from the archival film with the addition of a literary interpretation from author Hazel Smith, whose poetical text highlights Halina’s thoughts, feelings and memories. As a further narrative layer, the video recording of Halina and Smith’s prose poem are re-situated in another space and time – a tailor’s shop in North Carlton.

There is no correct gaze, no camera that unravels the truth…

Smith’s prose is like a weaving, reflecting the motifs of stitching that appear and reappear in Hems of Memory. Her poetry evokes the sense of the film’s images and Halina’s thoughts and feelings without reference to the unfolding action of the film’s narrative.