Melanie Bonajo, Night Soil (2014), video
Section: Garden of Flows
Night Soil, on view at Palazzo Butera, is an experimental documentary in three parts showing the huge disconnection most Western people feel with respect to nature.
In a semi-documentary style, Melanie Bonajo explores how people today tackle feelings of fragmentation and alienation head-on.
The central characters in her videos are in search of new rituals, a different relationship with nature and a reassessment of ideas surrounding gender, with the aim of combating a gnawing sense of emptiness. It is far from rare for this to involve an illegal and alternative way of life that exists outside the established system. Bonajo portrays this with passion and elegance, and occasional bursts of absurdity, and she does not shy away from stepping into the frame herself. Beneath a layer of humour and apparent chaos lurks her ambivalent attitude to all kinds of technological and capitalist developments in modern society. Semi-documentary scenes alternate with hallucinatory fragments that spring from Bonajo’s imagination. They are shaped by intensive collaboration with the main characters. These are mainly women, because Bonajo believes their voices are insufficiently heard even today.