Riccardo Giacconi

Gondwana
video and mixed media installation, 2016

in collaboration with Ibrahim Kane Annour, Haddo Oubana,
Oumalher Kane Annour, Kader Kane Annour, Moussa Beito
and the association "Il Mondo Tuareg".




The Tuareg are a Berber people with a traditionally nomadic lifestyle. They are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan desert.
In Pordenone, an hour away from Venezia, lives the only Tuareg community in Italy.

Near Pordenone are the ‘magredi’, arid landscapes of sediment deposited by the rivers Tagliamento, Meduna and Cellina.
It is there, as well as in the Natural History Museum of Venezia, that the events narrated in the film unfold.







Film stills









For centuries, nomadic Tuareg tribesmen in camel caravans have crossed the Sahara in Niger, passing rocky terrain with protruding bones of a mysterious giant animal, telling their children the bones belong to a mythical monster named "Jobar."

In Western cultures, says University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno, the equivalent to Jobar would be the bogeyman, the evil, unseen spirit lurking in the imaginations of children.

"A Tuareg chieftain saw us poking around looking for bones out there," Sereno said, recalling the 1990 expedition, "and told our interpreter that he knew where a lot of big `camel' bones were laying around."

Jumping into Land Rovers, the expedition team bumped for miles down dry riverbeds as they followed the Tuareg's directions. He took them to Jobar's bone yard.

"Finally, we came to a place where you could see a huge backbone breaching the surface of a layer of very fine-grained green rock, an old flood plain, which is where dinosaur fossils usually are found," Sereno said.

The bones of the giant Sereno found there are a new species of dinosaur that was so perfectly designed for the world it lived in 130 million years ago that it anatomically remained the same for millions of years.
Given the name
Jobaria tiguidensis, the monster is a plant-eating sauropod.

– Chicago Tribune, November 12, 1999




Installation view, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venezia






The installation also features a plastic curtain, a poster, a publication and a series of exhibits linked to the story narrated in the film.









Photos: Sofia Poggiaro




Various versions of the project have been presented at: Visions du Réel, Nyon, Switzerland; Imagine Science Film Festival, New York, USA; IsReal - Festival di Cinema del Reale, Nuoro, Italy; Lago Film Fest, Revine Lago, Italy; (2017); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venezia, Italy; Kasseler Dokfest, Kassel, Germany; Careof, Milano, Italy (2016).