Adrianne Finelli



Adrianne Finelli


Creative Work Statement


Family history is shifting and dynamic, told through stories and memories, but never fully revealed.  Many perspectives entangle and even contradict each other, creating new questions, further blurring the truth.  Difficult chapters in a family’s story become concealed secrets that gradually are buried and erased with each passing generation. These stains and blemishes are washed out, and stored in the basement of family memory, if kept at all.  What becomes of these tarnished histories and stowed memories?


I work with people to reveal their own stories and memories, probing personal histories that are not usually told, that tend to get swallowed up.  I am interested in repressed and undocumented history, and how experimental documentary practice can portray these stories in an open and emotional way.  With a social work lens, I act as a mediator and the project functions as a type of intervention.


Transplants, chronic illness, dementia, foster care, abortion, motherhood, suicide and trauma.  Cases of complicated grief and ambiguous loss have become the focus of my artistic work:  situations that get overlooked, losses that cannot be clarified.  I often work with individuals in the context of a larger group, and my current work concentrates on family systems.  I am extremely aware of my relationship with participants, and out of this a devotion to make documentary work more meaningful and reciprocal to these families has blossomed.


Using experimental documentary methods, I create single-channel videos, audio collages and multimedia installations through extensive interviews and visual research.  By exploring profound personal loss and the unrecognized grief of everyday life through the framework of families, I hope to spark a meaningful dialog among those involved in the project and those beyond.  Holding a strong belief in the power of open communication among these layered histories, I structure collective conversations with participants as part of my process.


Unveiling the concealed is often a thorny journey that may have no final resting place.  However, throughout my work I have discovered that the desire to open and share the burden of problems, across generations, is alive and vital.  It beats inside of me—the need to share the load of heartache, to feel support, to be heard and give voice to what often remains unsaid.