[ SPRING: AFI DIASPORA #1 – DEIGNAN & MOCELLIN & PELLEGRINI ]

12.01. – 09.02

In collaboration with Tromsø Kunstforening, throughout the spring we will screen a selection of films from the Artists’ Film International network in our kiosk-kino in Havneterminal, Tromsø, around the theme Diaspora.


Looking for Gary

Michelle Deignan, 2018 (IE)

7 mins, (Selected by Crawford Art Gallery, Cork)

Deignan first heard of Islington in London, when sitting in her living room one night in 1980. The British New Romantic band, Spandau Ballet, were introduced on BBC’s Top of the Pops as ‘five young guys from Islington who are causing a real buzz in the music industry’. Ever since, she meshed Islington New Romanticism and Spandau Ballet into one memory. Thirty-eight years later and living nearby, Deignan takes a film crew to Essex Road in Islington, the busy thoroughfare that Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet’s songwriter, grew up on. Together they search for a post-New Romantic Gary to replace the old one. 

Michelle Deignan (b.1970, Dublin) is an artist and filmmaker based in London. She makes moving image, photographic and print works, for exhibition and screening contexts. These works critically examine the production and dissemination of culture now and historically.Recent exhibitions include: True North, Galería Fermay, Palma de Mallorca, ES (2023); BIENALSUR, Montevideo, UY and Córdoba, AR (2022); and is currently exhibiting at Tromsø Kunstforening. Michelle is a contributor to The Crown Letter, a self-organised international women’s art project, publishing weekly responses by artists to the here, then and now.


Alphabet. The space between us and the unknown.

Ottonella Mocellin & Nicola Pellegrini, 2020 (IT)

30 mins (Selected by GaMeC, Bergamo)

Travelling on a small boat, Mocellin and Pellegrini’s family spends an intimate day in the public space, sailing through city traffic in search of an imaginary place in between, where stories and lives of those who were divided by history could ideally meet. Circumnavigating the perimeter of what was once West Berlin, mapping the trace of the Berlin Wall, we navigate its ghost as an act of poetical reparation. In the many entanglements and reverberations between personal, political and historical facts, we conceived the video as a letter to our children’s biological mothers.

The desire to find a shared language takes the form of a double alphabet that appears throughout the film, giving an additional rhythm to the narrative.


Ottonella Mocellin (b.1966, Milan) and Nicola Pellegrini (b.1962, Milan) live in Berlin. Their work has been shown in galleries. Museums and biennials globally.


Artists’ Film International: Diaspora

Artists’ Film International is a partnership of 18 international art centres that celebrates moving-image. Every year, each organisation selects a film from an artist connected to their region, based on a collectively agreed theme.

Branching out from the theme of DIASPORA, the films selected explore the act of dispersal, in relation to people, geographies, information and networks. 


In this first programme, both films engage acts of psychogeography in very different ways, mapping specific sites through the personal, cultural and historical layers built up over time. Including the work of Michelle Deignan, it ties in with her solo exhibition at Tromsø Kunstforening, Alternating Routes, which is open 19.01–10.03.


Artists’ Film International (AFI) is a partnership of 18 international organisations that celebrates moving image: Bag Factory, Johannesburg; Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas, USA; Belgrade Culture Centre, Belgrade; Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan (CCAA); Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius; Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; Fundacion Proa, Buenos Aires; GAMeC, Bergamo; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul; MMAG Foundation, Amman; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; NBK, Berlin; Para Site, Hong Kong; Project 88, Mumbai; Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø; Whitechapel Gallery, London


We are grateful for funding from Tromsø Kommune and Norsk Kulturrådet to build the kiosk-kino and support from Tromsø Havn/Havneterminalen in housing it. This project would not have been possible without the help and support of Tromsø Kunstforening and Polar Film Lab. The AFI programme is funded through Tromsø Kommune, Troms og Finnmark Fylke and Kultur og Likestillings Departementet.