The Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved in 1919. At the same time, Italy and Austria chose a natural watershed as their border; a dividing line in the middle of the Alps coinciding with the Gräfferner glacier on the Similaun mountain at 3,606 m altitude. After the years of the fascist regime and the Italianisation of Südtirol, the border was marked again during the 1970s. Some cartographers noticed that the line on the maps no longer coincides with reality. The gradual melting of the Gräfferner glacier shifted the natural watershed. The border between Italy and Austria is literally melting.

My grandfather’s name was Enrico Andreatta. He was born under the Austro-Hungarian Empire and lived in Innsbruck for a few years before returning to Rovereto during Mussolini’s dictatorship. There, he met my grandmother Elsa and began working at the Mercurio typography where in 1927 he collaborated with the futurist Fortunato Depero on his famous Bolted Book. While Depero was giving Benito Mussolini a copy of his Bolted Book, my grandfather was accused of communism and sent to confinement. Since then my family has kept a copy of the Bolted Book, but transformed into a faded family photo album.

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A bilateral agreement between Italy and Austria in 1994, converted into law in 2005, admits the existence of “gradual natural changes in the borderline”. For the first time, a border is recognized as a slowly moving entity. Its gradual retreat contradicts the symbolic firmness of the borders just as the slow but constant correspondence between grandmother Elsa and grandfather Enrico exceeds the isolation to which my grandfather was condemned. Slow and ungrammatical words from which an intensity subjugated by fascist laws transpires; sweet words that exceed the needs with which Grandma Elsa breaks the ice in her first letter:

“Dearest Enrico, I think you have 70 lire for the rent left in your pocket.”

The words of grandfather Enrico and grandmother Elsa echo Alexander Langer’s words, which deny the existence of a hegemonic ‘history’, firm, unique and shared by all. Just as the border binds to the glacier and follows its slow retreat, so history binds to the bodies, emotions and thoughts of every single person. Rompere il Ghiaccio is therefore a performative project that imposes an ecological conversion on the narrative by slowing it down. A slowed down narration exploring the political, landscape and romantic borders of a cross-border area like Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. A slowness similar to the melting of the Gräfferner glacier that put the very idea of the border into crisis, just as love put the isolation of the fascist confinement into crisis.



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theatre / performance


Rompere il ghiaccio

performance by OHT | Office for a Human Theatre

> directing, text and set-design Filippo Andreatta
> with Magdalena Mitterhofer
> sound and music Davide Tomat
> associate set-designer Alberto Favretto
> costume Ettore Lombardi
> assistant director Veronica Franchi
> video Armin Ferrari
> technician Letizia Paternieri
> astrological advice Mona Riegger and Astro*Intelligence
> administration and production Laura Marinelli
> promotion and curating Laura Artoni
> photo Claudia Pajewski

> production OHT
> co-production MAXXI the National Museum of 21st Century Arts
> co-realisation Romaeuropa festival
> artistic residency Centrale Fies art work space
> supported by Fondazione Caritro, Provincia Autonoma di Trento

production history

03-04.X.20 > MAXXI The National Museum of 21st Century Arts / Romaeuropa festival, Rome
02.VII.21 > Centrale Fies, Dro
11.IX.21 > Short Theatre festival, Rome
03-04.XI.21 > festival delle Colline / Fondazione Merz, Turin
25.II.22 > MART museum of modern and contemporary art, Rovereto
10.VI.22 > Kunsthalle, Bratislava [SK]
23.VII.22 > Feltrinelli foundation, Milan

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