Private Project


Genesis documents a year-long performance during which a large piece of fabric that codifies and contains the genetic information of the film director is woven by his mother on one of the first computers of history, the Jacquard loom. In the tension between the loving gestures of a mother and the automatic movements of a mechanical loom, this art film gives form to a reflection on technical reproducibility, the materiality of data, and on the interplay between biological and computational life.

  • Emilio Vavarella
    Animal Cinema
  • Emilio Vavarella
    Animal Cinema
  • MiBACT
  • Ramdom
  • Marinella Raffo
    Key Cast
  • MUUD Film
    Executive Production
    Et in terra Pacis, Vento di Soave, The Best, La musica delle barberie, I 4 elementi, UBU R1E, Fresia, Refreshin' vlora, Jetoj
  • Corrado Punzi
    General coordination
  • Giorgio Giannoccaro
    Director of Photography
    Il bene mio, Human Capital, Game of Thrones, Dangerous Lies Vol. 1
  • Corrado Punzi
    Camera operator
    La grande opera, Wind of Swabia, Fresia, Il settimo giorno l'abbaglio, Di chi sei figlio
  • Mattia Soranzo
    Il successore, Altamente, The best, Fresia
  • Michele Leuci
    Sound engineer
  • Gabriele Panico (Larssen)
    Madein Albania (RAI); Dub Divo (Sky Arte); Teardrops (BBC)
  • Stefano Nestola
  • Andrea Agagiu
    Camera assistant
  • Nico Saponaro
  • Pierluigi Contestabili
  • Passo Uno
    Technical equipment
  • Ientu Film
    Technical equipment
  • MUUD Film
    Technical equipment
  • Tessitura Giacquinto
    Technical partners
  • Antonluigi Castiglioni S.A.S. Disegni e Padiglioni Jacquard
    Technical partners
  • Arthub Asia
    Project partners
  • Film Study Center - Harvard University
    Project partners
  • MAMbo - Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna
    Project partners
    Project partners
  • ATP Diary
    Project partners
  • Istituto Italiano di Cultura New York
    Project partners
  • Regione Puglia
    Project partners
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Art, technology, labour, women, motherhood, birth, computation
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 36 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 16, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    No Dialogue
  • Shooting Format:
    4K UHD video
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Harvard University
Director Biography - Emilio Vavarella

Emilio Vavarella is an Italian artist working at the intersection of interdisciplinary art practice, theoretical research and media experimentation.

Esteemed venues that have exhibited Vavarella’s work include: MAXXI - Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo; KANAL - Centre Pompidou; MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna; Museum of Contemporary Art - Zagreb; Museu de Ciències Naturals of Barcelona, The Photographer's Gallery of London, Museo de Arte de Caldas; Villa Manin; Museo Nacional Bellas Artes in Santiago; Museu das Comunicações of Lisbon, National Art Center of Tokyo; Eyebeam Art and Technology Center and Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina. His artworks have been exhibited at film festivals such as Toronto's Images Festival; Torino Film Festival, and the St. Louis International Film Festival, and at many international media art festivals, among which: EMAF - European Media Art Festival; JMAF - Japan Media Arts Festival; Stuttgarter Filmwinter – Festival for Expanded Media; BVAM - Media Art Biennale; and NYEAF - New York Electronic Arts Festival.

Vavarella has been awarded numerous art prizes and grants, among which the Exibart Art Prize (2o2o); Italian Council award (2019); Premio Fattori Contemporaneo (2019); SIAE - Nuove Opere (2019); the NYSCA Electronic Media and Film Finishing Funds grant (2016); the Francesco Fabbri Prize for Contemporary Art (2015) and the Movin’Up Grant (2015). He has been invited to present his work at: Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative; Istituto Italiano di Cultura - New York; ISEA - International Symposium on Electronic Arts; Goldsmiths University of London; the University of East London; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and SIGGRAPH. His academic writings have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Leonardo - The Journal of the International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology (MIT Press), Digital Creativity (Routledge), and CITAR Journal – Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts. His writings have also appeared in Behind the Smart World: Saving, Deleting and Resurfacing Data produced by the AMRO Research Lab and in exhibition catalogues like Low Form: Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (MAXXI and CURA Books); That's IT! (MAMbo), and Robot Love (Niet Normaal Foundation). His work is regularly discussed in art magazines, academic books and peer-reviewed journals, and has been covered by all major global media outlets. His most recent artist book, published by Mousse, is entitled rs548049170_1_69869_TT.

Vavarella is currently working toward a PhD in Film and Visual Studies and Critical Media Practice at Harvard University. He holds an M.A. cum laude in Visual Arts from Iuav University of Venice, with study abroad fellowships at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Tel Aviv and Bilgi University of Istanbul and received a B.A. cum laude in Visual, Cultural, and Media Studies from the University of Bologna.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The Other Shapes of Me is the result of my research into the origin and current applications of binary technology: from weaving to programming, algorithms, software, automation processes, up to the complete computerization of a human being. It includes the video installation rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me); the film Genesis (The Other Shapes of Me); the series of medium-size tapestries Sections (The Other Shapes of Me); the series of small-size tapestries Samples (The Other Shapes of Me); and the artist book rs548049170_1_69869_TT, published by Mousse.

The film Genesis is simultaneously a part of the installation rs548049170_1_69869_TT as well as a stand-alone work of art. In trying to best capture and render the flow of emotion and the mechanical energy set in motion by this project I realized that I had to make a film. On a practical level, film was the medium best suited to highlight the care and beauty of my mother’s labour, and to capture both the complexity of the production process and the ephemerality of its atmosphere. In a more abstract way, I wanted this film to underscore the link between weaving and computation, which, at the beginning of the 20th century, shared the same programming techniques. I also pay a symbolic tribute to the contribution of female workers–-and of weavers in particular-–to that history. But the film is most of all a tribute to my mother, as much as her labour is a tribute to our personal connection. In this sense Genesis is a deeply personal work in which the historical and personal dimensions are intertwined. It is a film about the origin of life and of digital technology, it is a portrait of my mother and it is an indirect self-portrait, in which I never appear but where I am constantly present.