Children of Unquiet (2013-2014) is a project by Mikhail Karikis that takes place within the intricate natural, historical and socio-economic context of the geothermal area of the Devil’s Valley in Tuscany, Italy. Known for its legendary association with Dante’s Inferno, this is the very location where sustainable energy production was invented 100 years ago and where the first geothermal power station in the world was built in the village of Larderello. Until recently, a community of around five thousand people lived there in a group of iconic modernist industrial villages planned by Italian architect Giovanni Michelucci. Following the introduction of automated and remote operation technologies by the industry, unemployment increased and prospects for the young became limited resulting in the rapid depopulation or abandonment of entire villages.
Karikis’ project takes the history of the power plant and surrounding villages as a central point of reference, showing different aspects of its history, demise and possible future. The video Children of Unquiet (2013-2014), the central part of an installation with several components, shows how children take over a deserted workers’ village and its adjacent industrial and natural locations. Karikis created the entire project in close collaboration with children from the region over a period of eighteen months.
Apart from the film of the same name, the installation also includes Visions (2014), a photographic series and a Super8 film that capture the children’s visions of the future of their homes in the deserted villages
as they depict them in a series of futurological drawings and urban plans generated through workshops with the artist.Visions consists of five photographs, showing the children lying on the ground, sleeping on
the steam pipes, listening to the earth, accompanied by a 3-minute Super-8 film, shown on a viewer, which provides animation to the children’s drawings. The installation also includes a multi-coloured text work: Love Is the Institution of Revolution (2014), presenting
an unequivocal statement of the power of love to create long-term relationships and to instigate change.
Finally, the work is completed by a board game, Larderello, for 2 players or teams. This re-enacts the history of the power plant. It engages the players in the process of decision-making, affecting economic and social change. Children of Unquiet unfolds as a multi-layered adventure story, showing how the dreams of youth and the creative imagination may
eventually overcome a dystopian present.