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Craft in Focus New York

film | Faber Navalis

Maurizio Borriello - Saturday June 3
Factory Floor, 2nd Floor
Saturday June 3

This film will be shown together with Of Men and Iron – you buy one ticket to see both the films


Maurizio Borriello was born in 1974 in Naples, Italy. He is a boat builder, filmmaker and independent researcher in cultural anthropology. His major areas of interest are coastal communities, boatbuilding technology and transmission of knowledge. His research interests focus on maritime cultures of the Indian Ocean from ethnographic and archaeological perspectives. After graduating in Asian and African Languages and Civilizations he moved to Indonesia where he had a teaching assignment at the University of Jakarta. In those years he carried out a research project in maritime ethnography on living boatbuilding traditions in Southeast Asia collecting data on boat types, construction techniques, local response to the introduction of western technology and its social and cultural effects on the maritime communities. The practical aspects of this fieldwork experience made him realise what the limits of his methodology were. All those wooden vessels were built “by eye” guided by an intangible knowledge and he considered his “blindness” as a problem of epistemological relevance. For him it felt as if he couldn’t really understand the development of the technology and investigate the transmission of knowledge without acquiring practical boatbuilding skills. Since then, much of his time has been spent on boatyards working as apprentice boatbuilder in Scandinavia, The Mediterranean and Tsunami-hit countries. In the last four years he has been working as wooden ship restorer at the maritime museum in Norway.


Borriello is also designing an appropriate and versatile technology which attempts to improve traditional boatbuilding, believing in the potential key role of the boats to eliminate poverty and reduce isolation improving rural access and mobility through the development of rural water transport.


At Craft In Focus Festival Borriello will showcase his film Faber Navalis. Faber Navalis is Latin for boatbuilder. At first sight, it might seem as a video about the restoration of a wooden ship, but the actual subject of this documentary-film is the ecstatic state of mind of its shipwright: an Italian researcher in maritime ethnography who decided to learn traditional boatbuilding skills in order to understand the intangible knowledge hidden behind the construction of a wooden ship.
Faber Navalis is an experiment in Sensory Ethnography: a combination of aesthetics and ethnography which attempts to bring out an inner dimension that may only be rendered with propositional prose.


Currently the film is being showcased at a variety of festivals worldwide. Borriello has been awarded for his film. Here’s a list of the awards he won:


This film will be shown together with Of Men and Iron – you buy one ticket to see both the films


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