Strada Statale 696 explores trans presence in public hypermasculine spaces, using the Italian piazza (public square) as a point of departure. The artist’s body is inserted into a Google Street View image of a piazza in Celano, a small Italian town where their grandparents grew up. This work seeks to trace a trans oral history ambiguously passed to them by their Nonna: an oral history about (closeted) trans and queer people that she was friends with as an adolescent and young adult in Celano. Fellini explores their distance from this history: temporarily, geographically, and linguistically. This linguistic distance is informed by their lack of fluency in Celanese, a dying Italian dialect geo-specific to Celano, which is often associated with the uneducated and the lower class. Fellini draws from their attempts at learning Italian—to close the distance between themselves and a suffocated trans history. Hyper-location-specific sound, imagery, and language combine to pose questions about the past trans occupants of the space Fellini digitally inhabits: Who were these people? How can we walk backwards against centuries of deliberate censorship and erasure of trans histories?
Translation assistance by Francesco D'Andrea.
Production assistance by Holly Chang and Karina Iskandarsjah.
Technical assistance by Andrew Cromey.
Dallas Fellini is a writer, curator, and artist living and working in Tkaronto/Toronto. Their practice is invested in interdisciplinarity and the dissolution of boundaries between different art forms and arts communities. Dallas has exhibited with or curated exhibitions for Xpace Cultural Centre, Hearth, and Trinity Square Video. They have published written work with Canadian Art, The Journal of Curatorial Studies, Peripheral Review, The Journal of Visual & Critical Studies, and Acta Victoriana. Dallas is a cofounder of Silverfish, an arts publication devoted to interdisciplinary collaboration, skill-sharing, and cultivating ongoing dialogues between emerging artists and writers.