Campidoglio, Rome, Italy - September 2011

‘I wanted to express the impossibility of living in a world which is divided, torn apart.’
Andrei Tarkovsky

Taking its name from Michel Foucault’s essay Fearless Speech (2001), ‘Parhessia’ refers to the willingness to speak out publically, even to one’s own detriment. The work itself involves a performative re-enactment of the third-to-last scene of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia (1983). In this scene, the ‘madman’ Domenico lights himself on fire after delivering a harrowing speech in the Campidoglio on Rome’s Capitoline Hill. For this re-enactment, we first translated a single line of Domenico’s speech using Google translate. We then transcribed this line of text onto a sandwich board and wore the sign while walking around the Campidoglio in Rome. The performance lasted approximately two minutes before being stopped by the Italian authorities who informed us of the prohibition against displaying text in public squares in Rome. 

See index below for other works relating to 'Parrhesia' including:

  • Gorchakov's Wish
  • Alba Lunedì’
  • Fall (An Allegory)
  • Kino Haiku
  • To Forget. Of Air.
  • Immolation Triptych

Please see also our Publications page for information on ‘Time, Place and Empathy: The Poetics and Phenomenology of Andrei Tarkovsky's Film Image’ (Visual Studies, Volume 28:1; p. 1-16). Informed by this constellation of works, this essay draws together our research into Tarkovsky’s theory and practice of the film image.