De Occulta Imagine


Written and directed by Stefano P. Testa
Music by Luca Severino
Genre: Experimental
Running time: 15’
Country: Italy
Year: 2024
Language: Italian, English
Editing: Stefano P. Testa
Production: Fondazione AAMOD
Made as part of the artist residency “Unarchive. Suoni & Visioni”


De Occulta Imagine, or a short essay on alchemical transmutation of moving images in which the Spagyric Art is exercised with the intention of extracting Mercurial Spirit from the metals of the Audiovisual Archive of the Labor and Democratic Movement.

Director’s notes:
Every image has an original meaning to be found in the context in which it was generated. Each image potentially has infinite meanings, to be attributed by relating it to the different contexts in which it is placed and used. Starting from these assumptions, it was decided to examine some documentary films preserved in the AAMOD archive that deal with the theme of the “southern question”, reportages shot in the sixties that tell the state of subordination of Southern Italy compared to the North. These films talk about poverty, emigration, work in the fields, spirituality contested between Catholicism and superstition. Drawing inspiration from the alchemical tradition, the audiovisuals are decontextualized and relocated in a new symbolic and anti-narrative context, following the same operational phases that the alchemist applied in his Work, in an attempt to obtain the transmutation of matter or a shift of meaning. The images are extracted, decomposed and reassembled following a hermetic logical-syntactic structure, placed in relation to each other according to interpretative schemes derived from the esoteric tradition. The purpose of this Work is the denial of a univocal meaning with the invitation to a semantic and emotional drift.

Screenings and Festivals:
UnArchive – Found Footage Fest (Rome, Italy, 2024) | Out of Competition
Sheffield DocFest (Sheffield, UK, 2024) | Official Selection
Kortfilmfestivalen (Grimstad, Norway, 2024) | Official Selection
Riprendersi (Torino, Italy, 2024) | Official Selection