Nicola Ellis
Peripheral memories – La Rete

Peripheral memories<br/> 2020<br/>Spazio35, Udine, Italy<br/><br/>Peripheral Memories is a journey between past and present in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. It is the story of a process of industrial growth and subsequent demobilization in the areas of the extreme northeastern border: the Julian Alps and the Carso, the Udinese foothills and the Isonzo. These territories have been the target of the growth of wartime and defensive economies aimed at exploiting the territory and the industrious people of the border. These economies have proved to be "transitional" by shifting their range of action elsewhere, as historical conditions change, initiating a process of disinvestment that has profoundly affected nature and man. <br/><br/> Peripheral Memories is also the enhancement of production knowledge that companies still active today have been handing down for decades. These companies have a symbolic value in their sector: linked to the tradition, history and culture of the place, they have been able to open up to innovation also through collaboration with the creative sector. The project is then the rediscovery of traditions and customs of peoples, the Friulian and Julian, inextricably linked to the territory.<br/><br/> 9 international artists have carried out in-depth research on the collective imaginary of the «Made in FVG» industry, involving citizens and businesses, investigating the steel-extractive, textile, nautical-naval and coffee trade sectors. At the end of a period of residence, in presence or remotely, each artist has created a work of art capable of evoking the productive identity and the link with the territory in the forms and materials. On display, the works of Neja Tomsic (Slovenia) with the collaboration of #CantiereAltoAdriatico; Yilin Zhu (China) in collaboration with #Friulinossidabili; Alice Mestriner (Italy) and Ahad Moslemi (Iran) in collaboration with Molino MORAS – from the heart of the grain a love of flour, Nicola Ellis (UK) and Victoria Lucas in collaboration with Fondazione Gruppo Pittini.<br/><br/> The works are returned to the public in the Peripheral Memories exhibition, in which the plurality of creative languages ​​winds along the irregular circularity of the exhibition space, accompanying the users among delicate hanging structures and floor installations, making them experience the warm materiality of the fabric and the coffee, the hardness of the metal, the diversity of video and sound works, photographs and installations.


Installation view of La Rete <br/>Consisting of a two-screen video, 3D model animation, zinc coated 3D printed rendering of the Julian Alps and a re-imagined Pittini product. All objects sit on custom made wire mesh plinths made at the Pittini headquarters, Osoppo, Italy. <br/> <br/> "La Rete" is a dynamic and multifaceted work. It was born from the residence completed in Ferriere Nord Gruppo Pittini and narrates the resilient history of the company together with its deep bond with the territory. The various elements that make up the installation recall the company's production process, but also the suggestions that emerged in the exploration of the Udine foothills and Carnia, such as the 3D reproduction of the Predil quarries sprinkled with zinc dust or the reticular beam in which recreates the seismogram of the 1976 earthquake. The union of these elements symbolically generates a network of stories, people, work and knowledge.


Two channel video and soundtrack made from documentary footage in the pittini archive. Run time:  <br><br> Both videos start by showing the same short clips from the steel making process. Eventually the screens begin to show footage of different processes as the newly produced steel follows different manufacturing lines and becomes different Pittini products. <br><br> In places the two screen play one at a time, emulating a conversation between making processes. Eventually the conversation becomes more heated and the videos begin to play at the same time with competing levels of volume on each of the digitally altered soundtracks, jostling for position. <br><br> With thanks to Dr Manoli Moriaty for creating the soundtracks

Re-make of the Pittini lattice girder. Mild steel and powder coating. 70cm x 20cm tall x 15cm  <br><br>  On the 6th of May 1976, a severe earthquake destroys the Pittini plant and causes many fatalities.  In the wake of this disaster, the steelworkers resilience allows the company the re-build and start running again in a very short time, in order for livelihoods to be saved and the community to begin recovering.  This work remembers and honours the significance of this event in the community and company history.  <br><br>   In 1961 Pittini was the first company in Italy to produce lattice girders for the building sector for the purpose of reinforcing floors, wall and ceiling. This significantly contributed to the industrialisation of modern construction and the production of prefabricated buildings, and therefore . The electrowelded version of this product came to the fore some years later although this product has always been significant in the timeline of the company history. <br><br> This sculpture replaces the regular ‘zig zag’ sides of the lattice girder product with seismic waves recorded during the 1976 earthquake, bringing together notions of foundations, construction, development, rebuilding and reinforcement of communities, business and human resilience.

3D printed model of the mountain home of Cave del Predil - the former Lead and Zinc mining community in Udine, Friuli- Venezia Giulia, Italy. PETG and zinc powder.13cm x 16cm x 3cm <br><br> In the pittini closed material and zero waste policy means the zinc created as a by-product of the steel making process is captured and re-enters the manufacturing process - or the market - reducing the need to exploit natural sources of zinc.  <br><br>  Therefore, on a material level, Zinc is the link between the historical mining industry in Udine and the Pittini factory.  The digitally generated model is also a reference to the digitalization of making processes at Pittini, many of which monitor and reduce environmental impact.  <br><br> With thanks to Craig Oates for facilitating the 3D modelling processLooped video of a digital model of a historical anvil  looped. Displayed on 42x42x42cm screen.  <br><br> A photograph of a historical anvil which survived the 1976 earthquake forms the basis of a 3D model anvil existing in the digital realme. This work simultaneously reflects the digitalisation of the Pittini factory and making processes in recent decades, and the pride and celebration of their more manual history.  <br><br> With thanks to Luca de secco, Project Mechanical Engineer at Pittini headquarters for making the 3D model. <br> <br> View looped video on youtube here: