HER WORD AGAINST HIS: Mondolfi fights Trump’s rhetoric with creative wordplay

By Melanie Oliva

For many of us, putting 2017 into anything other than four-letter words is difficult. Each day has delivered a new punch in the gut from the current administration, rendering the average person speechless. Lucky for us, words have not failed multi-disciplinary artist Alessandra Mondolfi. As an act of creative resistance, she features some “choice words” in her project “45 VIDEOS”. One might even say they’re “the best words”…

The series was born when Mondolfi was feeling so frustrated by the news she could burst. Having explored the concept of “NO HATE” in numerous ways since Trump’s inauguration, she had become painfully aware that hate is at the core of this nation’s problems. With a hunch that actions speak louder with words, she placed the word “HATE” on a water balloon and cathartically popped it. This became a starting point for a series-worth of words that she could destroy in varying fashions; with the potential to inspire and bring hope to others.

Each carefully-chosen word not only highlights a political issue, but also has significant meaning to Mondolfi. She describes the videos as “reactionary and instinctual”, as they tend to parallel what’s happening locally, nationally and personally.

“I initially named the series ‘NO TITLE’ because like many of the other phrases, it applies to my personal life”, says Mondolfi. “While I’ve worn many hats throughout my career, I don’t feel that any of those individual roles define me as a whole. Society has this way of making us label ourselves with a singular title, when in reality we are each complex and multi-faceted.”

But don’t simply take her word for it. Mondolfi encourages the viewer to examine their own consciousness using the words in “45 VIDEOS” as a starting point:

“I hope the viewer considers the meaning of each word and their relationship to it – ranging from their personal understanding and perspective to their complicity and stance. Self-reflection through these words has been profoundly revealing for me.”

What has also become apparent to Mondolfi are the infinite possibilities of shareable content. These videos allow her to combat Trump’s hateful rhetoric by instantaneously reaching a large audience – in an effort to “shed light on the many issues of concern that are affecting this country and the world at large.” Resistance work she found inspiring while producing this series include the projections of Robin Bell and the illuminations of the Overpass Light Brigade.

So far, Mondolfi has produced over 40 videos and plans to keep going until she “reaches 45”, which is up for interpretation at the moment. She would eventually like to display them in a digital gallery installation and many are also “virtual sketches or departure points for large-scale outdoor activations”.

Other projects Mondolfi has in the queue are “Walks of Protest”, where she disrupts public spaces carrying giant inflatable props, as well as a series of large-scale shadow projections that highlight the need for renewable energy – particularly relevant after hurricanes Irma and Maria. In addition, she continues to make “Props for Protest” for marches and rallies (like the nationwide Artist March she founded) as well as “Protest Jewelry” for every day resistance wear.

To absorb more of Alessandra Mondolfi’s words of wisdom, please follow her on Instagram.


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