The course of daytime obeying the pace of the sun is an increasing and decreasing identification of things. At noon things coincide with themselves, they reach their complete identity. You can say there’s nothing left to guess for, that everything is as it is because seeming and being are one. Though at night, things gain a reserve of meaning in their shadow. Nighttime on the Italian island of Lampedusa is such a moment of disguise. This handful of rocks situated south of Sicily is the closest European point to the north of the African continent. In origin an island of fishermen, this isolated place has become a holiday resort over the years. Or as the boat rental services on Lampedusa advertise now: ‘La più bella isola del mondo’.
At the same time refugees and migrants started crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Northern Africa and put their lives at risk in an attempt to reach this outpost of ‘Fortress Europe’. At first they would reach the island by themselves, preferably at night, to hide from the authorities. Later on these authorities would manage to intercept them at sea and bring them to land also at night, to hide them from the tourists on the island. Following these events nighttime became the preferred time to deport refugees by plane to camps on the main land and back to Libya or elsewhere in North Africa.
“nocturne” captures the ambiguous and tense atmosphere of nocturnal Lampedusa with the use of an infrared security camera. It overlooks the island and registers several places on and around it. In the dark, abstract and suggestive anti-images human presence has been reduced to some anonymous, unidentifiable luminous dots, or to the suggestive black space in between.