Camera | Editor | Producer
Dr Solsternus. In development 2021-22

Written and directed by Jo Melvin.

Christ giving a Benediction, signed by one Solsternus (1207) is a Byzantine mosaic on the facade of Spoleto Cathedral. The inscription reads Doctor Solsternus, hac summus in arte modernus (Doctor Solsternus, supremely modern in his art). Nothing else is known about the enigmatic Doctor Solsternus but he was certainly ahead of his contemporaries, because it would take half a century before the mosaics in Roman churches would surpass his style.

The film Dr Solsternus draws from the mosaic and Richard Nonas’ 1976 publication Lost in Spoleto, to map the artists who have passed through Spoleto from the 13th century to today - from Giotto, to Michelangelo through to Sol le Witt, Gustave Mahler and contemporary artists participating in the Festival di Spoleto. Like the protagonist in Nonas’ publication, the viewer will be led through shifts in space and time, signalled by historical soundmarks as well as visual landmarks.

Lost in Spoleto
Richard Nonas’s book of this title indicates some of our thinking around the notions of being lost and then being found, as well as drawing on the processes of finding, literally or metaphorically – what we encounter and discover – here in this terrain. Sol LeWitt’s book ‘From Montelucco to Spoleto’ connects the Eremo Di Santa Maria Maddalena to the Torre Bonomo. Stratospheres are constantly being opened up and placed before us.

Compendious intersections, topographical strata of the land, the rhythm of walking, as a tradition and to inhabit now, in and around the land by foot. A space for contemplation and not knowing what might ensue but creating a possibility, a platform for production. Shapes, (of buildings, bricks, roof tiles, pavement tiles, steps, fences, trees, rocks, leaves; the fold of hills, and the folds of monks’ habits, all these materials, with theirs lines and colours, are the tip of intersections, between artists. These connections lie deep, buried - excavations of recent past – a week, a year ago, conversations with walking, with the specificity of the place jumble recent inhabitations with older and further into the past. Flashes compressed illuminate Spoleto the town and its peoples existence as a point of intersection in different material and immaterial forms.