Riccardo Giacconi

Il nonnulla
[The Trifle]
performance, 2014

At the end of the First World War my great-grandfather, who was fighting on the Karst front (now at the border of southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy) found a manuscript in German in an enemy trench.
After having it translated into Italian, he realized it was the war diary of a officer on duty in the Austrian army. The text bears witness to the progressive descent into madness of the officer, who was probably killed in battle on the Karst front.
When my great-grandfather died, the original German manuscript had already been lost, along with the first page of the translation, typed in Italian.

Il nonnulla is an attempt to produce a new translation of an original text that no longer exists.
During the performance, a person produces a German translation of the Italian version of the manuscript, hand-writing it on sheets of paper.
A second person receives the sheets and re-translates them, aloud, into Italian.

The performance was first presented as part of “Skillbuilding”, 34° performing art festival "Drodesera" at Centrale Fies (Dro, Italy), where it was awarded the Live Works - Performance Act Award (Vol. 2).

Performers: Hannes Egger, Andrea Miserocchi.

Fragment from the Italian translation (produced around 1945) of the German manuscript

Performance at "Live Works. Performance Act Award (Vol. 2)", June 2014.

German written translation produced during the performance, June 2014. Photos: Alessandro Sala

Excerpt, "Live Works. Performance Act Award (Vol. 2)", June 2014.

Documentation drawing by Antonio Marras.