Wavelength (for SÅM Lessinia)​​​​​​​
Dozens of millions of years ago the ocean was here - shallow, transparent and warm. Professor David Bellwood of James Cook University found that fishes that lived in it developed a complex language and communicated with each other by changing the color or a hue of their skin. In the process of evolution we lost this unique ability.
Other scientists at the JCU are currently studying coral reefs which are losing their typical rainbow colors due to global warming. Bleaching of the reefs is one of many signs telling us that the Earth is dying.

Yesterday's sea is today's mountain, and today's color is tomorrow's black and white.
Light reaching the Earth is absorbed by people and objects. Objects that reflect 100% of it are seen as white, and those that absorb all of the photons as black. Color is an impression caused by an electromagnetic wave of a specific length.
Light pollution in Lessinia is small so you can observe the stars from here. The star observer, however, never sees them in the present state, but looks at the map of the sky from the time when the light began its journey to Earth. Thanks to the Hubble telescope, we can see stars lying several billion light-years away. The astronomer looking at the telescope is able to see the picture from the time when Lessinia was under the warm sea.
Most of the stars observed with the naked eye appear white due to the specific structure of the human eye, which loses the ability to distinguish colors in low light conditions.
Like climate researchers, linguists studying changes in speech and communication also observe many disturbing trends. One of them is the rapid development of the so-called hate speech against what is different, diverse and not uniformed. The rainbows are burning, the colored spectrum turns into hot red and then to pale white. Once again in our history, people are not ashamed of nationalism, homophobia and racism.
Another trend is the massive extinction of languages. In the vanishing Burginian language the word "varbe" means "verb", and more broadly "word". In the dying Cimbrian language, still spoken here, on the hills of Lessinia, "varbe" means color.

Cerato family has been searching for traces from the past inside Bolca rocks for generations. And although the fossils themselves are not colorful, they resemble stars. They may seem discolored but they actually are a colorful souvenir from the times when the rainbow language was spoken on Earth. From the time when the ocean was here - shallow, transparent and warm.
Wavelength is a project I made as part of SÅM Lessinia artist residency in Italy. Its starting point is the long forgotten language of the fish who used to live in the Thetys Ocean and who communicated by changing the colors and hues of their skin. Wavelength tells a story of unification, losing diversity and a rise of racism, nationalism and homophobia in the dark times of global warming and the crisis of humanity.

AXES exhibition / 2019:
Claire Laude / Anto Milotta / Krzysztof Światły / Martina Zanin
Rafał Milach / Ania Nałęcka-Milach
Chiara Bandino / Francesco Biasi / Ana Blagojevic / Fonderia 20.9 / Film Festival della Lessinia

[1] Exploring Bolca fossils under the microscope. The colors are not visible in the fossils but the findings serve as an incredibly important scientific material.
Photograph of a picture from the collections of Fossil Museum of Bolca.

[2] René Descartes' sketch of how primary and secondary rainbows are formed.

[3] The CIE 1931 color space chromaticity diagram. The CIE 1931 color spaces were the first defined quantitative links between distributions of wavelengths in the electromagnetic visible spectrum, and physiologically perceived colors in human color vision.

[4] A histogram is a graph that represents the frequency of occurrence of specific phenomena within a specific range of values arranged in consecutive, fixed intervals.

[5] Mene rhombea is an extinct perciform fish belonging to the family Menidae. About 40-48 millions years ago these fishes lived in the Tethys Ocean. At that time, where Monte Bolca is today, M. rhombea, and its relative, M. oblonga, lived in a tropical lagoon. [This photograph was taken by Didier Descouens and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.]

[6] Visualization of the vicinity of Bolca in the Eocene as seen in the guide published by Centro Turistico Giovanile Animatori Culturali ed Ambientali Lessinia.

[7] Visualization of a beak of Platypterygius - an ichthyosaur of the family Ophthalmosauridae. Ichthyosaurs are large extinct marine reptiles. This photograph was taken in Museo Geopaleontologico di Camposilvano which has in its collection the only fossil of an ichthyosaur in Italy. Part of a beak was found accidentally in Tregnago in 2010.

[8] Photograph of a map from the collections of Fossil Museum of Bolca. Monte Bolca was uplifted from the Tethys Ocean floor during the formation of the Alps, in two stages: one 24 million years ago, and one between 30 and 50 million years ago.

[silver/black image] In 2014, Surrey NanoSystems created Vantablack - the blackest substance in the world absorbing more than 99.965% of radiation in the visible spectrum. It is used, among others, for masking objects, for example, military aircraft.

[lamps] Rainbow shower - Feel free to take a lamp and project the colors on your skin.
Back to Top