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Through Our Language

Project details

Bachelor – Photography
Honours Programme
Visual Culture / Honours Programme

The project ‘Through Our Language’ is a multifaceted exploration of Elio Contangelo’s personal and cultural relationship with Montese, one of the innumerable ‘dialects’ spoken in Italy. It consists of three distinct components: a short documentary film titled ‘Reconciliation’; a VR visual essay called ‘Pruning’ and an app named ‘Zinnannà’.

Through these three projects, the author invites the audience to engage with the cultural heritage of Montescaglioso, learn about linguistic discrimination and preservation, and consider the role of language in shaping personal and collective identity.


The short documentary film ‘Reconciliation’ delves into the artist’s family’s perception of Montese, capturing their personal stories and memories. Through heartfelt interviews, the film touches upon Italy’s past and its connection to ‘language injustice’, leading to a journey of rediscovery and appreciation.

Watch it on YouTube!


The VR visual essay ‘Pruning’ explores the tapestry of Elio’s childhood memories and encounters with Montese. Engage with vivid imagery, evocative soundscapes and immersive storytelling that unravel the intricacies of the artist’s personal journey, celebrating the essence of the language.

Experience it on YouTube!


The app ‘Zinnannà’ aims to preserve and promote the use of Montese as a proper language. Immerse yourself in an interactive journey through the Montescaglioso language, exploring its distinctive alphabet, accessing its dictionary and engaging in the playful Nonna’s Ride quiz. Try out the prototype by clicking on the picture below!

Research Document

If you want to know more about his research and process, you can check out his research document here!

Language intimately connects to our sense of home and belonging.

Artist Statement

I’m Elio Contangelo, an Italian maker who works with video and design. My art is focused on people, culture, and language, and I aim to use it as a bridge to connect individuals across cultural and linguistic barriers. I draw inspiration from diverse cultures and identities, and I hope to inspire viewers to reconsider their roots and recognize the power of cultural exchange. Through my soft visual language, I seek to showcase the richness of the human experience and create a space for exploring new perspectives.

Reach out to Elio via email: