those sweet murky waters

Trailer, Video, 01’59”

4K, Video 2023, 13’16’’ 
produced by Fondazione Merz

“Evolution is in the nature of things”
This sentence was enunciated by the first woman scientist in Albania, Sabiha Kasimati, according to the testimony of her cell mate. She was arrested by the communist regime on 20 February 1951 and a few days later was executed without trial and thrown into a common pit together with 21 other intellectuals.
Her scientific monograph “Fishes of Albania” was the first of its kind in Albania. Shortly before her execution its publication immediately disappeared; after the fall of communism the original diploma was found in the Faculty of Biological Sciences in Turin, where she studied from 1936-41, but the book is still lost.
There are several aspects that can be told about the life of the biologist, but the most important part, in terms of the modernity in which we live, lies in her research on biodiversity and her scientific passion, as an ichthyologist, for the world of fish living in freshwater.
Who are today’s Prometheus? What use has mankind made of the fire bestowed by Prometheus? In ancient mythology fantasy was widely and totally present in the everyday life, while in our modern times flesh and technology have replaced clay and the power of the gods.
The project starts from the history of the biologist through a parallelism with the figure of Prometheus. By using the techniques of clay, papier-mâché and robotics, the history of the biologist Sabiha Kasimati takes shape: a woman who turns into a fish. A friend of fish and
evolution, as a contemporary Prometheus, she steals the electric light from the dam to provide to the fish living under the murky waters. Because of her action she suffers a punishment from the dam, which throws it together with the other fish into the pit surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites..
The project is conceived by artist Driant Zeneli in collaboration with papier-mâché master Deni Bianco, was made by experimenting with a poor but flexible material such as papier- mâché. The fish, created with the abovementioned technique and the robotic mechanism were made and designed in collaboration with a group of students of the artistic high school in Tirana and the School of Electronic Engineering of Tirana and Putignano.
The project is “a journey” which, through art, memory, ecology and technology, decides to focus on the importance of the figure of researcher Sabiha Kasimati, who has chosen to challenge politics, social stereotypes and even death itself, in the name of science and freedom.