Angelica Mesiti
The Calling

Angelica Mesiti’s piece, The Calling (2013-14) is a poignant exploration of ancient human traditions evolving and adapting to the modern world. The three-channel work focuses on traditional whistling languages and shows the communities of the village of Kuskoy in Northern Turkey, the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and the island of Evia, Greece, where such languages are all still in use. For these communities, whistling languages are in a process of transformation from their traditional use as tools for communication across vast lands into tourist attractions and cultural artifacts and are being taught to local school children.

Edited to evoke the particularities of this mode of communication, and its place in daily life, the work shows each community in close-up detail as well as in long shots that describe the distance over which their whistling must carry. Subtitles in the native languages and in English allow understanding, but the intrusion of other noises is analogous to how the language is now less commonly heard.

The three channels are projected at large scale in a dark space, drawing on the conventions of cinema presentation but expanding this to become a more physical experience, seeking to engage the viewer in an experience beyond the audiovisual.

Splitting her time between Sydney and Paris, Angelica Mesiti is a video, performance, and installation artist of Italian origin. Her work unravels the personal histories and living cultures of particular locales through an anthropological lens versed in cinematic conventions and performance languages. She is especially interested in the way sounds, gestures, non-verbal languages, and rhythmic traditions are preserved, migrate across distances, and cohere diverse communities. Her past video and sound installations have explored the translation of traditional Asian and Muslim music in Parisian and Australian cities, the mediation and projections of dance performances in immigrant communities, and Algerian political ballad renditions of Classic rock music.