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Traces - Fiamma Montezemolo

Fiamma Montezemolo's film 'Traces' is a video-essay which uses thorough research and art to discuss the border life between the USA and Mexico.

Screening Room Programme


04 April - 25 April 2022

Invited by: Katerina Matheson


Fiamma Montezemolo's experimental film, 'Traces', combines fieldwork-based research and art to create a meditation on border life between the United States and Mexico. Based on years of ethnographic work in Tijuana and an ascetic shooting schedule of twenty-four hours, Traces records Montezemolo's experiences in the region in a textured living portrait, a sort of biography, of the wall that separates Tijuana and San Diego. Images of a rusty wall, unruly topography, decaying surveillance structures, furtive moments of undocumented migrant crossings, and dystopian landscapes are interwoven with a mournful voice-over enunciated from a different time and place. The fate of the wall is sealed: its remains are to be collected like forensic evidence by a visitor, perhaps another anthropologist and artist, perhaps another undocumented migrant, from the future

"I have tried to create conceptual and evocative interventions that are less about documenting, translating or representing the Other, and more about moving alongside and contemplating the nature of desire in border zones"


Fiamma Montezemolo is both an artist (MFA, San Francisco Art Institute) and a Cultural Anthropologist (Ph.D, University Orientale of Naples). She is an established scholar in border studies and Professor in the Department of Cinema & Digital Media at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of La Mia Storia Non La Tua: La Dinamica Della Costruzione Dell’identita’ Chicana Tra Etero- e Auto-rappresentazioni (Guerini, 2004) and Senza volto: L’etnicità e il genere nel Movimento Zapatista (Liguori, 1999). She is also a co-author of Here is Tijuana (Blackdog Publishing, 2006) and co-editor of Tijuana Dreaming: Life & Art at the Global border (Duke UP, 2012).

Fiamma was also a presenter in our project, THE OTHER Dialogues hosted by IBERO Tijuana and curated in collaboration with Empathy & Risk in June 2021.


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