Still from Travels with Isabella. Travel Scrapbooks 1883-2008, 2008
26'30", loop. Edition of 6+2 a.p.
Music Fa Ventilato
Source material: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Archives, Boston.


BM You made the video Travels with Isabella. Travel Scrapbooks 1883-2008 during your residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Inspired by the photo albums of the collector, Isabella Stewart Gardner, which she put together during her travels to China in 1883, you have produced a fascinating animated journey in which images of ancient China become the backdrop for your diary made up of drawings, excerpts of other videos and works from the museum collection. The result is a fantastic narrative between the contemporary imagination of the artist and of historic China, between past and present, between the intertwined lives of two women. (…) What value has time and place in your work? What does the combination of time and geographically distant mean?

LR In Travels with Isabella, different times and places come together in a journey in memory that runs without any chronological order. I think this is the way in which we remember: although we make a note of dates and times, closing one’s eyes, past events come together, mingle, change order. What remains is their taste, indistinct. It almost seems that, once passed, things become a whole. That whole is then the result of our present because we are made of everything that happened before.
(…) Albert Einstein said: "People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction, between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion". I encountered this phrase when I was totally immersed in
The following Day, No One Died and found a dialogue within myself; I was living it, not just theorising it.
It fascinates me to think that through drawing, line by line, I register those little seconds that seem inexistent, but which make up the hours, days, years. I am interested in the connection between things, in searching for these in time, in places, in thoughts, in human actions.

BM The succession of pictures in the video from right to left without a break makes me think of a score or better, a story, without punctuation, like an ancient oriental book. Is there any literary reference? And how did you choose the music?
LR The scrapbook of Isabella Stewart Gardner was also accompanied by a second journal of writings, describing her days. Some of my images were inspired by her remarks: the scrapbook, for example, opens with a reference to the four elements and in the video we find water, fire, earth and wind. But, in general, I have preferred to keep the story more open and abstract, not using the scripts that tended to be too specific about times and places.
In Travels with Isabella I was able to work by merging several art forms. For the soundtrack, Fa Ventilato started from the museum’s archive, to create a track that I could, to simplify, divide into three parts: the beginning and end are respectively a piece of music by Schubert (Gute Nacht) and Beethoven (The Moonlight Serenade) adapted, merged and processed with new electronic music. The central part is a bridge between the two melodies. It begins when the man's eyes in the photograph are closed and the journey becomes more internal. The sounds of Fa Ventilato are minimalist and contemporary, and accompany and stress changing moods, while the journey unfolds. It is a story of life, not told with real and personal events, but through sensations. Until the end.

From the conversation between Beatrice Merz and Luisa Rabbia, published in Luisa Rabbia: Traveling Under the Same Sky, Hopefulmonster, Torino, June 2010, (Italian/English) page135,136.