Sound Objects of Migrations






Global migration is one of the most pressing matters facing contemporaneity, but also a leitmotif in the work of Massimo Ricciardo. In 2013, together with Thomas Kilpper, the artist began collecting objects abandoned by migrants when they landed in Sicily or donated by Syracuse Public Prosecutor’s Office. These objects are now part of the “Objects of Escape – Inventories of Migration’’ archive.

In the installation first realised in 2017 at the Photothek of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Ricciardo creates a dialogue between photographic objects from the Photothek and objects of migration: things that are functional to the journey, such as passports and nautical charts, but also to identity and memory, such as family photographs, diaries, a sample of earth from the homeland.

Paired respectively with a photographic object or placed as “stumbling stones” among the boxes and shelves of the Photothek, these “talking” objects generate compelling questions: who do they belong to? What are the appropriate artistic and curatorial practices if one decides to collect, archive, exhibit, transform them? The dialogues prompted by Ricciardo’s installation continue in a book as well as on this website, involving a polyphony of voices.

Un archivio sonoro delle migrazioni

Sound Objects of Migrations is an online sound archive, curated by Massimo Ricciardo and Luca Morino, accompanying Ricciardo’s book “Encounters in an Archive: Objects of Migration, Photo-Objects of Art History” and divided into two sections: Stories and Objects.

The Stories section collects the testimonies of encounters, events, soundscapes and travels archived during the development of the project. The Objects section presents excerpts from the recordings produced for the limited edition audio-cassette “Similitude”, which accompanies the book: descriptions of the objects and photographs featured in the installation Encounters in an Archive through the systematic reading of the database entries of the Photothek and from the “Objects of Escape – Inventories of Migration” archival notes.

This duality echoes the theme of the “object pairs” that pervades the project in its entirety and re-presents the semantic connections that the objects and photographs on display have stimulated and still stimulate.

Sound Objects of Migrations is thus an archive of voices, sound and verbal documentation, and an open and ongoing virtual space.

Encounters in an Archive: Objects of Migration, Photo-Objects of Art History

Encounters in an Archive. Objects of Migration / Photo-object of Art History
Massimo Ricciardo

Edited by Costanza Caraffa, Almut Goldhahn
Ed. Viaindustriae publishing
pp. 208, 17×24 cm, ita/eng

Supported by the Direzione Generale Creatività Contemporanea del Ministero della Cultura nell’ambito del programma Italian Council.
Promoted and edited by Kunsthistorisches Institut Florenz, Max-Plank-Institut.

International presentation and promotion events:
• Palermo, Goethe-Institut, March 24, 2023
• Florence, Villa Romana, April 14, 2023
• Düsseldorf, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Kunsthistorisches Institut, April 25, 2023
• Cologne, Rheinisches Bildarchiv, May 20, 2023
• Antwerp, Red Star Line Museum, May 25, 2023


artist book