Giving Victims A Voice
by J. Fatima Martins
A team of professional visual artists and their supporters has birthed a new project that has, in only a few months, raised a loud voice, transforming an old storefront into The Gallery on Main and launching the Empty Spaces Project with a stream of exhibitions. Leading the way is iPhonegrapher/ artist Paul J. Toussaint and his business colleague, Ann Monteiro. Their latest project brings in Giancarlo Beltrame, an interdisciplinary artist, journalist and film scholar from Italy who is the creator of the new-media installation SVAW! — an international grand project involving hundreds of contributing artists from around the world.
The SVAM! 2014 Putnam project expands upon previous installations reflecting the style and structure of Beltrame’s other mobile-technology based film/installations such as “Hell,” “Purgatory” and “Paradise Now,” which include sound, moving visuals, photography and three-dimensional assemblage and sculpture. The final film is displayed via rear projection through a cloth while intensely layered sound and music is played.
SVAW! developed out of an idea by art critic Maria Teresa Ferrari after she experienced Beltrame’s film installation, “Dante’s Comedy on Mobile Art.” Beltrame was invited to create a global Mobile Art project specifically for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. To do this, he created an art advocacy group on social media and image sharing-platforms that gave everyone, particularly victims of abuse, a place to speak out.
Participants shared creatively constructed digital photos depicting the many ways in which violence, not just the physical, but also the less understood emotional and spiritual, is experienced. The images were later pooled together into a video by Beltrame, and further developed into a multi-media projection and viewer- participatory installation by Iaia Zanella in Verona, Italy.