voglio parlare italiano

I had been studying Italian for two years by attending weekly classes in London. This had not resulted in fluency in the language and had led me to explore an alternative pedagogic practice to interact with an Italian community and their body of knowledge. For an outsider and immigrant to Europe, access to this community promises a possible, utopian reality. For the people I interact with, it can provide a new perspective on their city and the power that lies in their language.

voglio parlare italiano was first presented as part of Mediterranea 16 in Ancona, Italy in June 2013. I selected a route through the heart of the city, which I walked repeatedly back and forth for two days. Along this route I had conversations with people in (broken) Italian. When I learnt a new word in Italian I wrote it down on a sticker and placed it on the pavement where we were speaking. On my multiple return journeys, I would see these stickers, remember the interactions and revise the words while having new conversations.

voglio parlare italiano was presented for a second time in 2015 in Cagliari, Sardinia. In this version I included learning the local language, Sardo, as well as Italian. Given Sardinia’s, proximity to Tunisia, immigration is a particular issue. The piece sought to challenge ideas of national and local identities, while exploring the importance of retaining and using the local language.