Ifor Duncan

Il Naufragio inizia da qui

Through underwater footage, hydrophone and field recordings Il naufragio inizia da qui enters Italy’s system of reception for asylum seekers during the COVID pandemic and the controversial embarkation of people onto quarantine boats.

Through the conceptual lens of a shipwreck society the film starts from protests in the seaside town of Amantea, Calabria, where a group of people locked down in a “reception centre” contracted covid. The protest took place with the intention of interning the group onto quarantine vessels — repurposed cruise ships. During a period in which solidarity at sea and on land is under assault, the film explores how a nationalist imaginary of detention aspires to return those who arrive to seek refuge by boat, under precarious conditions, back to the sea and to the risk of shipwreck once more. Under the auspices of a system of “accoglienza” — a word that translates to both reception and hospitality — the sea becomes a space of floating detention and incarceration.

Adapting the phrase “Il mare inizia da qui” (the sea starts here), the two-channel film uses disjunctures of sound and image to produce an immersion in the sea whilst on land and on the land from the position of the sea. With these disjunctures I will reflect on how different actors – asylum seekers and activists challenging detention practices – perceive their relationship with the sea. It asks whether it is also possible to say that from the land ‘il Naufragio inizia da qui’? or does the shipwreck start here?

Film by: Ifor Duncan; Editing: Henry Bradley; Underwater camera: Matteo Collina; Sound and camera: Ifor Duncan; Translations: Riccardo Badano & Emiliano Guaraldo Rodriguez. With the words of: Precious, Henry; and Mereyem & Emilia (LasciateCIEntrare).

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Ifor Duncan is a writer, artist and inter-disciplinary researcher who focuses on political violence and watery ecosystems. He is postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Humanities at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. Ifor holds a PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture (CRA), Goldsmiths, entitled Hydrology of the Powerless and is developing a book project Necro-Hydrology, which addresses the ways hydrologic properties are instrumentalised through border regimes, as technologies of obfuscation, and weaponised against marginalised communities. His field-work and storytelling practices involve writing and submerged sound and image. Ifor is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art and has previously taught at the CRA.

Instagram: @iforduncan