Nothing More Permanent Than Temporary

Zolfo Rosso


‘…In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps were no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers’ Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.’

— Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658

Jorge Luis Borges, On Exactitude in Science, 1946

Zolfo Rosso is a multimedia installation around an experimental 16mm film that delves into a fragment of Mediterranean history. Exploring the so-called ‘Arab Norman’ period of Sicily through the lens of Al-Idrisi’s world map, the film is a non-linear narrative that mixes history, dreams, and psychedelia to narrate a poetic tale of re-enchantment. The story follows geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi on his quest to compile the  ̄ ̄Tabula Rogeriana or Kitab nuzhat al-Mushtaq fı ikhtiraq al-afaq. He travels to collect stories and information coming from beyond the horizon. Merchants, pilgrims, and travellers are questioned to record, orientate, and chart the limits of the ‘known world’.