Plague & Locusts 2020: Daniela Lucato

Daniela Lucato is an Italian based in Berlin. Daniela Lucato started playing theatre in Padua while studying at the university. After her degree in Philosophy she moved to Rome, Wellington and finally Berlin where she works as an actress/filmmaker. The Birthday (2014), her first short film written/directed in mandarin/english language, has been officially selected from 25 international festivals In 2015 she founded Connecting Fingers Company. Her last films When I dance (2016),The Wheel (2017) are screening on international film festivals. For the time being (2018) received the award as best international short film at DUAF/ Tribeca Film Center.

Her work My name is Sami that she submitted to ephemereye’s artist call Plague and Locusts 2020 was created during the pandemic and completed April 25th of 2020. The exploration takes the viewer to the artist’s contemplation on domestic violence. In Daniels’s own words: “It is a reflection about domestic violence, human rights and woman condition in all countries. I was inspired by a personal involvement: an old friend I met by chance after a long time told me the abuse she was victim of from her husband. She thought it was painful but she accepted it as a normal condition. I was shocked and I told her she needed to contact the police. Later I couldn’t reach her anymore because she moved to another city. I thought about this short talk we had for a long time. I really think the way she accepted this abuse, thinking it was normal, is a huge issue for many women.

This is something that needs to be changed. This topic is for me really important and the work “My name is Sami”is a studio for a bigger project. I feel a responsibility as a woman artist to make people think about it, to confront themselves with this item. I don’t know if it will help to resolve the problem, but this is a start to fight it.”

Speaking with Ephemereye, Daniela shares her thought on her art, and how he was affected by the conditions of the pandemic.

E. Who are you, how you define yourself, your practice?

DL. I’m an actress, filmmaker, writer. I use to work with theatre and actually this is the place where (mostly) every idea starts for me because Theatre gives me freedom to think, to overcome my limits and express things I have in mind in an unusual way. When I think a concept for the theatre everything is allowed. Maybe it is just my way to avoid to judge myself.

E. How did you get involved with video art?

DL. Video Art is a segment of my practice. I started to work on video art projects because of theatre dance works I was directing. I thought I could use another media to approach the same work from a different perspective. The concept is the same but the new media stretches new possibilities and it is a way to expand the same work (or at least this is the way I perceive it). Maybe it starts also from the feeling that I have not done with the theatre work and there is still something to say.

My name is Samy. Daniela Lucato, 2020.

E. Do you feel things changed in the pandemic, what about the work you make now, what preoccupies you most now, when compared to your previous dominant themes?

DL. With the Pandemic the world has changed, not only the work we do. We are all completely overwhelmed by this condition and influenced in every atom. In my life, I try to control the overwhelming and see how I can talk about issues that worries me, what can I discover of new, which kind of connection I can have with other people. I have sometimes some repulsion for internet, zoom calls, online meeting because I feel I’m losing concreteness. Also the way I perceive Festivals I am part of, it is so strange: I’m happy to be part but at the same time I am wondering if they happen concretely. I think Concreteness is what I miss most. To see people for real, touch them, watch them. I still can go out in Berlin but life is different. I can’t ignore it.

I’m focused on social issues, more than before. I guess because we see more clearly social problems now that we are not social, that we can’t talk in a bar or meet after a theatre show or a film screening. In my case my sense of time is different. I feel I have more space and less time or more time and no space. Probably I try to translate with my artistic work this sense of lack, my need of sense, of a real purpose.

E. Are you finding these conditions very hard? Or is it a welcome break to be able to concentrate solely on work, rather than do other, money-making things?

DL. It is definitely hard because nobody knows when it will be ended. I don’t think that at that point things will come back as before. I’m convinced we have to use this new consciousness, this deep concentration of energy we find out in this time to fight other challenges. In my daily practice I’m more on my work, without a break I have to admit. Even when I relax somehow I am still at work.

E. Has your concentration intensified or fallen away, have you notice a change in the pace since Lockdown

DL. Concentration is going as a wave for me. Sometimes I’m concentrated as ten people together, sometimes as the same ten watching a black wall. For me [making work] therapeutic because I answer to the need of work I have: it is a privilege for me to realize a particular project but it is challenging because the way I would like to work is still harder now than before… finding producers, obtaining grants or convince someone in investing on your project. Hard times, beautiful times, hard times.

E. Do you think being artists makes you more resilient in these times? Meaning that those who have regular jobs, salaries etc. are now stuck at home with very uncertain futures ahead, as you always have.

DL. I don’t know if it makes artists more resilient actually. We are in the flow, we do the best we can do to keep working considering the circumstances. Our instability is part of the work, especially now. These times make artists more flexible, more open, more careful to listen what happens in the world.

E. How do you think the role of the arts may change post-Lockdown?

DL. Artists have more than ever a huge social role. They always needed to make people think, to offer confrontation, to let feel emotions, vibes, hope. After the Lockdown arts need to survive. I mean the role of Arts is really to survive, let people reflect on changes and make more people hungry of them. People will need arts more than before (this is already happening) and this fact will make them more than ever irreplaceable.

E. Do you think this whole event will alter the way we engage with the world afterwards?

DL. Definitely. We are challenged, we see things differently. We have to consider this event as a situation that can happens again with another name and with another form. Whit this in mind, we will be more careful, more sensitive and more conscious about the world and about our passage here. At least this is my hope.

Ephepereye was born in 2017. Ephemereye [ephemerˈaɪ] is a constantly updating video art gallery where artists can showcase their work in the natural frame of computer screen, and connect with others via Ephemereye Social. Where professional and aspiring, critics, venues, and collectors alike can engage in the contemporary discourse, and enjoy video-art-related news from around the globe. 

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