The topographical starting point of the film "The Empirical Effect" is the area around Mount Vesuvius in Southern Italy. The protagonists of the film, which was shot in the summer of 2009, are all survivors of the last active eruption of the volcano in 1944, and live in the so-called “Red Zone” in the immediate danger zone of the volcano. The recordings were made in a disused observatory near to the crater, and also include the staging of a trial evacuation. Fact and fiction in "The Empirical Effect" are blurring, with the volcano Vesuvius as a protagonist and metaphor for the complex relationships between society and politics in Italy: unpredictable, powerful, destructive, and based in the middle of a densely populated area alongside the Mediterranean coast. No one is able to control this immense force of nature and yet it connects the inhabitants and their environments with an invisible tie.
 
The Empirical Effect, 2010

16mm film transferred to digital, color, sound, 22 min


Images 1, 2, 3: Film still © Rosa Barba 
Image 4: Installation view at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2017. Photo: Agostino Osio © Rosa Barba