The viewer’s imagination is essential in this film by Melvin Moti (born 1977, The Netherlands), which presents a dialogue between historical and contemporary phenomena.
The film focuses on wall paintings from the ‘Black Room’ in a villa at Boscotrecase near Pompeii which belonged to Agrippa Postumus (11 BC–7AD), and a fictional interview with the surrealist Robert Desnos about his experiments in writing under self-hypnosis. Both aspects deal with the limits of perception and consciousness – the film being largely dark due to the nature of the documented painting – which makes us all the more aware of the active role of looking and hearing in the creation of meaning. Alongside this are two works in the collection of the Holburne Museum in Bath, Seascape with a rocky coast and lighthouse (1827), and Portrait of a Gentleman in black gown and cap from the 18th century. The paintings were selected for their dark tone, a criteria not usually considered as a quality, showcasing work which might otherwise be overlooked.