The title of the project draws on a passage from the film The Wretched of the Earth (1969) by Valentino Orsini (an homage to Fanon’s homonym oeuvre), in which Fausto – a white, Italian filmmaker – is ridden with ethical and ideological angst as he attempts to complete a film on decolonisation struggles that was left unfinished by his late friend Abramo – a black, African filmmaker. Fausto defines this work as a “a bomb to be loaded so that it might make noise.” This expression acts here as a methodological compass: to think about the potential intrinsic to the activation of this historical material in the present, while considering the ideological commitment that has allowed for both its formation and current preservation. Just as Fausto is faced with the task of paying homage to, and expanding on, Abramo’s revolutionary work, similarly Pirelli took it upon himself to build on Fanon’s legacy. Considering the resonance of the CDFF’s work today can be thought of as a similar process, thus raising many of the same questions that are voiced by Fausto in the film. Furthermore, Orsini’s adoption of Third Cinema aesthetics and ethos provides both a visual and methodological reference to the project. In the exhibition, some of the most critical musings in the film are set in dialogue with Giovanni Pirelli’s self-reflexive writing within the installation A Bomb to be Reloaded (Chapter 1).
Finally, the work is held together by the presence of the actress and singer Kadigia Bove, who recollects her work on both Orsini’s film and the performance A Floresta e’ Jovem e Cheja de Vida (1967) by composer Luigi Nono, in collaboration with Giovanni Pirelli. Based on testimonies of decolonial and anti-imperialist fighters of the time, the complex and multi-layered work was developed through a series of diagrams that worked as an expanded score. A Bomb to be Reloaded (Chapter 2) focuses on this work through Kadigia Bove’s memories that also include her experience as an Italo-Somali woman in post World War II Italy. This implies a reflection on the legacy of Italian colonialism, which has been the core of Alessandra Ferrini’s work as a whole.
Now dismembered, the collection is disseminated through different archives and resistant spaces in Milan: from archives of the Resistance movement against fascism, to social centres, and private collections. Through a collaborative research on the surviving items of the CDFF’s library and their locations – realised during a workshop with a group of students from the Art Academy of Brera (Milan) – A Bomb to be Reloaded (Chapter 0) explores the relevance of this material today and brings attention to the non-institutional spaces/groups of activists who take care of such materials today, as well as to the international networks of solidarity with the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements developed by the CDFF.