In order to get the raw material for this installation Barba travelled to Naples, where she shot 16mm film images in the villages surrounding the volcano of Vesuvius. The artist relates living in the danger zone surrounding a dormant volcano to the mafia terror in the region. An existential theme: underneath a continuous yet slumbering threat the inhabitants wait until the bitter end (suddenly) pops up. Barba's film loop, curling its way through the space and in between the three projectors, mixes in documentary with fictional images. We get to see, for instance, the abandoned villa of a murdered mafia leader, people shopping in a supermarket at the bottom of the volcano, or a man who - unambiguously symbolic - makes his cat walk along the edges of thestairwell.

Even though the population seems to have forgotten all about the ever present danger of the Vesuvius, images of fireproof hides in the woods suggest that everybody is well-prepared. The artist also capitalizes on, among other things, nostalgic feelings with her pseudo-documentary idiom: her plain, recording camera is a reference to the modernist cinema of Bresson or Straub. The constant threat Split Fields' is aiming for is continued in the growling soundtrack: digital heavily edited field recordings from the volcanic area by Jan St. Werner.
 
Split Fields, 2003


Image 1: Film still © Rosa Barba 
Image 2: Installation view at Argos Brussels, 2004 © Rosa Barba