The haunted villa of Spetses (part 1 & 2)

Two-part digital video, 2020

Unfolding through dialogues during a hike and a drive on the island of Spetses, this project focuses on the narratives, rumours, oral histories and misunderstandings surrounding a haunted villa.

Taking as a starting point the story of Eleni Altamoura, a female painter from the 1800’s who disguised herself as a man to study art and later on went mad and destroyed her works, the interlocutors in the video keep getting distracted by the landscape and the stories it carries. They drift from the main narrative, making assumptions, elisions and speculations. The politics and histories of the island are traced on the natural materials, the architectures, infrastructure and even the weather.

A Hike (The haunted villa of Spetses part 1)

video stills

digital video, 11:58

2020

A Drive (The haunted villa of Spetses part 2)

video stills

digital video, 13:49

2020

The problem with history is, it keeps happening, which confuses everyone over time, as one thing becomes another again. And again. Just walk in circles for a while, and you’ll see. There’s a little villa in Greece where a certain woman once lived who disguised herself as a man and took off for Italy to study painting all on her own, as only men could do at that time. Rumor has it, after she returned, she went mad, burnt all her canvases, as well as herself, then hunkered down, haunting the place for the next century and a half. And they say you can’t get blood from a stone! But they would be surprised. Sometimes you’ll find instead when you open one up, you can’t stop the bleeding. Stories don’t float above landscapes like gusts, they’re always down in it, and you can tell, because words as innocent as “till” end up meaning all sorts of unforeseen things (glacial sediment; to cultivate the earth; up to a point; cash register...) over time, as plates shift and crush.

 
— Text about the work by Angie Keefer —