© Christopher Pelley  2019

 

The Screams of Madama Lucrezia

temporary installation, Rome

Madama Lucrezia was one of the talking statues of Rome. In her heyday during the 16th century, an era of extreme censorship and media control, she was the Facebook of the time. Under cover of night people would post criticisms and irreverent satires of public figures - not even the Pope was immune to the witticisms. In recent times, she and her fellow talking statues have fallen silent, victims of anti-graffiti enforcement and restoration, though Pasquino still has something to say on occasion. (There is a little board propped next to him for postings).

In honor of the tradition, I gathered comments from friends, both online and off, and transcribed them onto black ribbons. A large scale charcoal drawing of her eroded face was glued onto an abandoned store front in the historic center of Rome, the black ribbons coming from her mouth blowing gently in the wind. Many people walked by, and some stopped to engage with her. As the installation degraded over the following days, I found some of her words tied to windows along the street.