During the 1970s the Keita Valley, in Niger was in full crisis, hit by desertification, deforestation, agriculture collapse, population increase and rural exodus. In 1984 a catastrophic drought devastated the whole area and its 100.000 inhabitants. At the beginning of 1983, the Italian Agency for Cooperation together with the Government of Niger, developed a programme for the Rural Development of Keita aimed to relieve the affected area and aid its development. Almost 30 million new trees were replanted and the natural advance of the desert was halted. But the rebirth of Keita is mostly due to the extraordinary activity of its inhabitants.
From June to November of 2007, during several missions César Meneghetti, Enrico Blasi and Sam Cole documented the daily struggle of the local population. They collected people's testimonies, thoughts, emotions and reflections on love, life and death. This was the basis for the creation of “K laboratory”, an artistic multidisciplinary and interactive project. An observatory, a container of ideas, of cultures and concepts. The aim is to express the morphologic harshness of the landscape but also the hard work of the local population. Portraits, details, testimonies, landscapes reveal the deep sense and the representation of “place”. The borders of reality and the technological interface, the document, the narration, the sociological converge, launching a multiple approach on a single object of observation. Reality and imagination ultimately establish an unusual relationship of complicity with the spectator.
The material collected was edited and developed consists in some video installations by César Meneghetti and Sam Cole, photographs by Enrico Blasi and sound by Matthew Mountford.
Untill now K_lab has been presented in
CÉSAR MENEGHETTI artist and filmmaker born in San Paolo, Brazil. His work rotates around the social reflection through an aesthetic and experimental interaction between the North and South hemispheres. He uses the cinematographic media, video, photography, painting and installation. He made several films, documentaries and experimental videos a well as exhibitions over 40 countries around the world having received several recognitions. He is one of the 22 artists selected in the volume Hypercontemporary Art - ulterior protocols on contemporary art.
SAM COLE, Videoreporter, filmmaker, cameraman, working for international news agencies, broadcasters and NGOs. Born in UK, living in Italy since 1989.
ENRICO BLASI, born in Rome, as advertising photographer he has signed campaigns for the best Italian brands. He has spent the last 20 years engaged in social work actively with international institutions.
MATTHEW MOUNTFORD, sound designer and producer born and bred in London has spent the last 15 years working in Italy. In 1993 he created the Surya.lab and has collaborated with Pressure Drop, Cybophonia, Agricantus, Charlie Anderson, Muslimgauze, The Orb, Loop Guru and many others.
More resources:K lab blogspot
scientific info on Keita Valley