Family Affairs | Shenzhen
4 screens videoinstallation


The five years project Family Affairs is displayed on four screens at Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture of Shenzhen 2019, in the section Ascending City curated by Fabio Cavallucci and Meng Jianmin, co-curated by Manuela Lietti.

In Shenzhen Family Affairs was mingled with the four screens installation Homo Urbanus by Bêka & Lemoine and the result was a kaleidoscopic tour of the world through hundreds of domestic interiors by ZimmerFrei and the public spaces of  Tokyo, Seoul, Riad and Moscow filmed by the duo Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine.

The installation presented by the Italian collective ZimmerFrei is a series of family portraits in house interiors realized in more than twenty cities all over the world. Family Affairs is at the same time an anthropological research and an original documentary that photographs the “state of the art” of contemporary urban families. The four channels video installation is a series of 234 video-portraits that are just as many micro-stories that answer important questions of our time: what do we define family, how many types of families do exist? How’s life within a family, what are the new emerging figures and how are roles changing? How is the common space used? How do family members communicate with each other? How do they move in urban spaces and between cities? How do they organize the complicated logistics of everyday life? How do they use technology? Which society are the new generations building? In an attempt to find answers to these questions, ZimmerFrei collective has traversed numerous emerging cities allover Europe (from Portugal to Poland, from Italy to Belgium, from Switzerland to Greece) and crossed the seas, touching North Africa (Cairo and Giza) and mooring in Shenzhen, a newborn metropolis in China.
Each individual, as a member of a small family cell or a large parental constellation, is portrayed for about two minutes with his/her eyes closed in the domestic environment in a state of concentration, listening to the sounds that come from the rest of the house. Each individual is connected to the following by family ties, similarity of experiences or difference in facing the same stages of life. Passing through unforgettable moments and countless daily life episodes an oral history of our times takes shapes throughout a long collection of faces and voices of all sorts. More than a hundred women, men, teenagers, elderly and children – each one in their own language – build up the story of the on-going present time, inventing a domestic epos that nourishes the narration of an imaginary seamless territory, inhabited by extremely varied humans, much more similar to each other than they can expect.

Shenzhen (China) UABB 2019 – Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture
MOCAPE – Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition, Shenzhen
2019.12.21 – 2020.03.15

Interview with Anna de Manincor

concept ZimmerFrei
direction and camera Anna de Manincor
sound Massimo Carozzi
editing Simone Ciani
executive production Serena Gramizzi – Bo Film
assistants Gerardo Brentari, Wu Minyu, Cai Zixi
translations Agnese Cornelio, Ziyi Dan, Kirsten De Graaf, Konstancja Dunin-Wasowicz, Nina Fisher, Monagata, Sarah Rifaat, Mohamed Anis Tayachi, Reda Zine
format HD video 16:9, stereo sound
total duration 280 minutes
subtitles English, Chinese

co-production Open Latitudes network, ERT Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, Sterna Art Project – Nisyros (GR), Studio Emad Eddin Foundation and Orient Productions – Cairo (EG), Teatro delle Moire/Danae – Milan (I), Festival Ipercorpo – Forlì (I), Sardegna Teatro – Cagliari (I), L’Arsenic – Lausanne (CH), Materiais Diversos – Minde (PT), Sin Arts and Culture – Budapest (HU), Vooruit – Ghent (B), Le Phénix – Valenciennes (F), Ciało/Umysł Foundation – Warsaw (PL), Latitudes Contemporaines – Lille (F)
with the support of Creative Europe Program, Regione Emilia-Romagna Film Commission
with the kind support of Etihad Airways