1997-99, 11:10 min, color, sound

This video examines the many paradoxes of natural, cultural and virtual identities. Peter d'Agostino's cross-cultural interests led directly back to the personal histories and cultural memories of his Italian American roots. The video moves back and forth in time by juxtaposing iconic images of his walks on Mount Vesuvius and through Pompeii, near Naples the birthplace of his parents, with places in the Italian American community of The Bronx, New York, where he grew up. Volcanic eruptions such as that of Vesuvius in 79 AD serve as powerful metaphors for the upheavals of human displacement and disembodiment.

In "Unto the Sons," Gay Talese describes those who live in the shadow of Vesuvius, colonized by a long succession of invaders, as "ever aware that they might at any moment be flung into obscurity by a calamitous convolution."

The universality of @Vesu.Vius suggests moving beyond chauvinistic notions of ethnocentrism towards a "creative ethnicity" of diversity and social realities that connect people across daily life and cyberspace. The installation includes a two-channels of video, a projection and plasma screen, as well as a website with live cameras trained on Vesuvius and other volcanoes in the region.

D'Agostino writes: "In researching @Vesu.Vius, I also made a strong cultural connection with Neapolitan intellectual history through the writings of Giordiano Bruno (1548-1600) and Giambattista Vico (1666-1744). Bruno's doctrine of panpsychism, a belief that reality is constituted by the mind, and his hermetic memory systems anticipated Leibniz' computing machine in 1671. Vico theorized that the mind was becoming less grounded in the body and consequently, people were less capable of grasping and defining themselves in humanistic terms. His cyclical view of history served as the structural basis for James Joyce's novel, Finnegans Wake."

@Vesu.Vius premiered in 1999 at the Lehman College Art Gallery in The Bronx as part of a survey exhibition, "Peter d'Agostino: Interactivity & Intervention, 1978-99." The exhibition catalogue, with essays by Robert Atkins, Susan Hoeltzel and Margaret Morse, is distributed by Printed Matter, New York. "The contrast between the clips of Bronx street life and the ruined avenues of Pompeii is a quiet study of transience and the preservation of cultural memory." - Holland Cotter, "Way up in the Bronx, a Resilient Spirit is Blooming," NYTimes review 5-7-99

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2012, 63:53 min, color and b&w, sound