Rolling life
Francesca Garofoli | 22-04-2008 | ENG
(Translated by Anamaría Crowe Serrano)
Morph writings: an interview with Davide Cardea, art director, web designer and film producer. Narrative overlaps between writing, cinema, photography and the web.

I want to leave a sign, a memory, an emotion. Davide Cardea, art director, web designer and film maker, doesn’t mince his words. He goes straight to the heart of things, as he does in his latest short, Rolling life, shortlisted at the Babelgum Online Film Festival.

Davide Cardea I’ve always liked the stain that house wine leaves on a white table cloth in restaurants. Even though it’s random, there’s a certain precision in the way the colour and the shape spread which fascinates me, like coffee or mould on a wall, or like the fax I’ve just received.

This is how Davide Cardea, web artist and web designer, introduces himself: with a stain. In other words, with the extreme consequence of an incomplete image, expressed as potential. The “morphing morph” in fact is his home ground, like water is to a fish. So much so that at the Scrittura Mutante (tr. Morph Writing) Competition (2003) – at the Turin Book Fair – he took first prize with his Outoftarget .

I like to experiment, which is why my choice of media is never static: I use whatever best suits my needs from among the many media I’m familiar with. Morph writing, to me, is more a becoming than a being. Any form of narrative outside of written/printed paper, which can lend itself to a series of modifications, can work. The hard part is taking it outside the screen and really grabbing the viewers, slapping their emotions around. But the content is the main focus. Conceptually it mustn’t be too banal, even if it’s an exclusively biographical piece. I bring the outside inside myself and then back outside again. It’s highly articulated and cerebral and must always play on several levels, where everyone has to find their own level without asking me for it.

And it is exactly on these multiple levels, on the inside/outside, on the diffracted spacio-temporal dimension that Outoftarget (2002) plays out, with its numerous awards, coming finalist in the “Art” category at the San Francisco Flash Film Festival and winning the London FlashOneAward.

The aim of “Outoftarget” is to denounce the poor rapport that exists, particularly in Italy, between consumer and artist/producer. Browsing through it – in flash – you experience a simulated visit to an abandoned hospital, where the souls of the creative, murdered by the rules of the marketplace, slowly bleed dry.
I needed some media that would be broad-reaching and give me freedom. That’s why I chose the web.
I needed something that would stir emotions, so I chose a narrative that is as closely linked to real life as possible, because the message it imparts is very real (albeit presented metaphorically) and I wanted everyone to be able to identify with it.
I needed something scathing so I decided to describe my idea by speaking of death and survivors, making it as dirty as possible, keeping the lighting low. I like dirt, things that are stained, lived in, signs of time wearing us down. I like signs of time passing. I like crazy people and craziness because they live parallel to my reality. I like the figure of the clown.
I needed a message that would leave some room for hope so I entrusted it to Eddie. Eddie is the main character, a child guide, a symbol of pure creativity. I admit that the choice of child/doll (a common cliché of the horror genre) challenges the user’s sense of empathy.
“Outoftarget” is as close to a film as I could make back then (I love the kind of dream-like cinema that David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick or Floria Sigismondi do), but with the interactive advantages that only the web could provide, because on the web the very concept of the journey can become a character.

Davide Cardea Through slow progress and long detours Davide Cardea has always held cinema within his sights. Or, rather, the utmost expressive, communicative and artistic potential of the image. But prior to that, in 2000, he debuted in Rome as part of a collective, with 12 digital pictures titled “Le stagioni dentro” (tr. The seasons within).

Each of those pictures described one month of the year as Galen might have seen it. The seasons bore no relationship to the weather but to people’s humour: winter/apathy, spring/love, summer/passion, autumn/depression. What I wanted to express was simply the biographical dimension of time.
After that, I took on the “Portraits” project which were actually portraits from within. I wanted to paint people as if I had been inside their body. Their external appearance was of no interest to me whereas their character was.

From digital pictures to the web, from the web to photography (digital, of course), in 2006, his documentary on China, “Mandorle sull’Occidente” (tr. Almonds on the West), won the Interfacce/Fotoesordio competition.

There are people in China who don’t know that some people have round eyes, big noses. Some of them have never seen a camera, others have only heard of “the rest of the world”. I tried to capture the look in those eyes brimming with images, colours, expressions, their way of looking, through me, at what was different from their own reality. Those eyes were hungry for the West.

Davide Cardea But in the end Davide Cardea has made cinema his main focus with the short film Rolling life, currently in for the Spike Lee’s Babelgum Online Film Festival competition.

I wrote the idea for “Rolling life” for a competition on “the relationship between man, nature and environment”, but I pitched it at a metaphorical expressive level where the image governs emotion. Rather than communicate, I want to explore, reveal visions and sensations: the feeling of defeat or of an important victory, nightmares or déjà vu, the sweetness or the bitterness of everyday life.
But overriding everything else there are the “motionless motor” and Chronos – the phone call running through the video, i.e. the time-nature element that dominates our life. Apart from the things each of us thinks we can do – play, get married, create something… – when time and nature decide to intervene, they intervene and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I wrote the idea and the script in a couple of days. In two days I took the outside shots (around Rome) and the inside ones in half a day. The phone is my own. The olive tree isn’t. The music is by Ras Noiz. Gerardo Greco looked after sound live.
I did the mixing, montage, titles, subtitles in another 24 hours.
Let’s put it this way, it was all a bit too easy.

Davide Cardea’s short film at the Babelgum Online Film Festival can be voted by following the instructions on the Rolling life page.
It’s not exactly easy though not impossible for the truly committed fans.

The photos in the text are by Davide Cardea and are part of the “Mandorle sull’Occidente” documentary.

Davide Cardea was born in Civitavecchia. He’s a Gemini with Scorpio ascendant. An art director, web designer and film maker for the past ten years, he is keen to remain an “independent professional” even if he does collaborate and do consulting for various advertising and multimedia agencies (among which Saatchi&Saatchi, Xister, Fatal Error).
In 2002 he began teaching image rendering at the Istituto Superiore di Fotografia in Rome.
Since 2007 he has been involved with the independent recording label Megasound, which produces new sounds in world music, such as Unnaddarè, Neilos and Tribraco.

Link to Anthology