I dreamt that you changed into a cat…gatto…ha ha ha, 2013
In this work, Rossella Biscotti focuses on the human condition and circumstances in detention. The idea of ‘total institution’ is of great importance for I dreamt that you changed into a cat…gatto…ha ha ha. In such institutions, persons and their needs are under full bureaucratic control, and undergo forms of self-abasement by social and physical abuse. Biscotti involved herself in such system, namely, the women’s prison on the Italian island Guidecca at the Venetian lagoon. A prison modeled according to a neoliberal society, which is to say not like the traditional prison where detainees are locked and unproductive; in this case, the prisoners spend the majority of their time working outside the prison, working for very low wages at for example the prison’s vegetable garden, an industrial laundromat, sewing workshop or as cleaner. By creating a dream workshop, called ‘oneiric laboratory’, she made a platform to communicate with the prisoners on a different level than the organizational. Through the prisoner’s dreams Biscotti has tried to analyze the institution and the way the prisoned individuals figure in it.
As all prison cells are open, Biscotti was given the opportunity to meet every prisoner. This gave her the idea for a project within this project, that the functioning of the institution symbolizes: a compost heap. Dirt and remnants symbolize the work that has been done in the kitchen, cleaning, the growing of vegetables and consumption. In every prison cel, Biscotti placed an extra dustbin in which the prisoners waste specific bins, which is transformed into compost. This compost is thereafter used for the creating of sculptures.