At the Monte Bettolgi quarry in the northern Italian alps, industrial excavators crack massive blocks of marble out of the mountain. The sheer scale of the operation is impressive; even more so considering that one shirtless man orchestrates their movement with super simple hand gestures (minus a few fingertips).
It’s not a quiet pursuit — these chunks are gigantic, and they fall hard — so this unique form of completely silent communication presumably means the on-site workers don’t have to raise their voices above the din. And yet the fact that these visual cues are so, so, so subtle turns the entire operation into something more finely tuned than any Kinect-powered game.
This exclusive short clip from Nowness comes courtesy of filmmaker Yuri Ancanari, who spent almost an entire year capturing the minimal motions of “The Chief” and the resulting big booms of white stone as they separate from the solid face; it’s a beautiful edit of a documentary called Il Capo, which offers a longer look at the process. It’s screening through to October 12 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. For those of us who can’t make it: Hail to the chief! [Nowness]