Cronache di quel tempo

Art, Solo exhibition, Palermo

Maria Iorio / Raphaël Cuomo
Temporary closure


Biography and info

Opening times


Art, Solo exhibition

Maria Iorio / Raphaël Cuomo
Temporary closure

Istituto Svizzero is pleased to present Cronache di quel tempo, the first solo exhibition in Palermo by the artist duo Maria Iorio / Raphaël Cuomo.

The video works and installations by Maria Iorio and Raphaël Cuomo are the result of an intensive, research-based work process. In recent years, the duo have investigated different past and present mobility regimes and manifested the intertwined histories of these movements of life and migrant cultures.

Their latest work, Cronache di quel tempo (‘Chronicles of that time’), presented at the Palermo City Archive, consists of a site-specific installation, including a new one-hour video, which uses unedited video footage filmed in the context of earlier video works—Sudeuropa (2005–07) and The Interpreter (2009)—in combination with more recent material filmed on location.

The work is about the search for a melody—a melody that crosses the Mediterranean Sea. A friend shared that melody with the artists in 2006, when they were travelling together between North Africa and Sicily. As a seasonal worker from Tunisia, who lived in Sicily and then on the island of Lampedusa, he had become the witness to the shift from the past border regime to a new one, to the ‘borderisation’ process taking place in southern Europe. What has happened between the moment when this melody was recorded on now obsolete videotape and the moment when it is taken up again today, continued in the form of new musical and vocal performances? Cronache di quel tempo explores the transformations in the Mediterranean region over the past 15 years and highlights the necropolitical drift of European migration policies when immemorial forms of solidarity and rescue at sea are criminalised, when the deportation of people whose mobility is criminalised has become widespread and camps proliferate on the other shore, when people are left to die at sea, out of sight.
While migration and borders are generally perceived as spatial processes, Cronache di quel tempo focuses instead on the temporal dimension of these phenomena. A series of subjective and historical perspectives emerges to contradict the common notion of a ‘migration emergency’ linked always to the present moment. These alternative temporalities invite us to envisage a chronicle that is singular in its refusal to coincide with the official version of history arranged by treaty dates and the political decisions that have made migration illegal. Cronache di quel tempo reflects in particular on how the current border regime has profoundly reconfigured the sensible by creating new terms for naming this reality, new scenes for imagining it, new partitions between the visible and the invisible. Observing that both the ‘border spectacle’ and the deliberate attempts to conceal border violence result in the same blindness, Cronache di quel tempo shifts attention to unheard or neglected voices and histories—to the aesthetical and political dimensions of listening.

Cronache di quel tempo
 is in many ways related to Sicily, Palermo and the exhibition site. The historical hall of the Palermo City Archive offers an ideal setting for the exhibition of this work constituted by the artists’ own archives. Cronache di quel tempo is also specifically grounded in the region and contributes, in the form of artistic research, to the contemporary history of Sicily and the city of Palermo, which have been decisively shaped and continue to be shaped by the movement of people, migrant cultures and ideas.

With the support of:
Fonds d’art contemporains de la Ville de Genève
Pro Helvetia
République et canton de Genève, fonds cantonal d’art contemporain
Ernst and Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung
Erna and Curt Burgauer Stiftung



Maria Iorio / Raphaël Cuomo are an artist duo based in Geneva and Berlin. Favouring a collaborative praxis and long-term development, the duo’s artistic projects retrace different past and present mobility regimes and manifest the intertwined histories of these movements of life and migrant cultures. Their recent films focus on the conditions under which narratives can emerge and resistant knowledge be transmitted and translated; by questioning the hierarchy between the semantic and the vocal, they shift attention to unheard or neglected voices and to the aesthetical and political dimensions of listening. Their work integrates a curatorial approach and revisits the expanded field of moving image practices and “minor” cinemas—amateur, feminist, decolonial. They have presented their work in film festivals and exhibitions, including 16th Quadrennial (Rome); The Parliament of Bodies (Documenta 14, Athens); Chewing the Scenery (54th Venice Biennale); The Maghreb Connection.

Exhibition opening hours – TEMPORARILY CLOSED

From Monday-Friday: H10:00-H13:30
Wednesday: H10:00-H17:30
By signing-up


Registration required. Please send an email to georgia.stellin@istitutosvizzero.it, stating your name, phone number, and the title of the exhibition as object.