urbanautica interview for CALAMITA/A’. A DIFFERENT VAJONT

8 Aprile 2019

Sulla rivista Urbanautica Steve Bisson ha intervistato gli autori del progetto calamita/à. Qui sotto trovate la parte relativa al mio lavoro. Per vederlo tutto vi lascio il link al progetto intero qui


a. Why a project on Vajont? What were the initial motivations and how did the research develop?
b. Vajont as a historical event weighs on current reality and inevitably on its transcription, description and representation.  How much has this relationship affected the project?
c. Photography can act as a tool of investigation and analysis complementing traditional practices of urban and territorial planning. What is the personal contribution of your project to the interpretation of this territory?
d. Landscape doesn’t exist, but the idea of landscape that each of us have does. This creates a space for dialogue. The photographer can show through his work an interpretation of the landscape highlighting aspects of social and civil nature. Which elements and features of the landscape did you want to trace with your point of view?

a. I accepted the invite of Marina Caneve and Gianpaolo Arena with much enthusiasm and many uncertainties, in front of an unknown and complex territory such as Vajont. With 50 years of investments, speculations, trials and social disasters, why not do a research on the Vajont! Initially I was following other routes, let’s say, mostly forensic. Starting from some documents I wanted to reconstruct photographs, as if to mark the probatory aspect. The intention was to make multiple orders (geological, legal, military, economic, urban and anthropologic) interact and to highlight the conflicts and their showcase. Then during my stay in Longarone I became more interested in the contemporary aspect, leaving in the background the historical part and looking for an urban landscape highly fragmented and ambiguous as the Vajont territories.

b. The historical events of Vajont are very complex, made of mysteries intertwined with politics and the nationalization of electricity, which occurred “coincidently” with the catastrophe. To understand how Italy was during the 50s and 60s and what price it had to pay for progress, as always you have to look to art and intellectuals. So the harsh Italian society of the 50s doesn’t appear in the least out of place, as it was narrated by Italo Calvino with the “industry speculation” of ’57, with the social climbing of the middle class, of which Pierpaolo Pasolini wrote and said much about and then, during the year of Vajont Italian cinema gives birth to one of its most important masterpieces on civil commitment with “Le mani sulla città” by Francesco Rosi. The city is the Naples of Achille Lauro, and the hands are those of a real estate speculator who managed to change the city’s planning.

c. If we decide that photography is a political fact then it is certainly one of the best tools to interpret contemporary society with its desires of appropriation. On my personal behalf, I have no certainty. I only believe that placing doubts is the only narrative form that i wish to achieve.
d. If a landscape to exist needs someone to see it, it is certainly true that we recognize a landscape only if it concerns us and is generated by collective memory. We must then understand how memory itself interprets or enhances the physical space of places. In Vajont’s case collective memory has been almost completely erased and as if the tragedy of ’63 has obscured everything, leaving only the memory of itself, fragmented and ambiguous. The only place where it is strongly alive with traces of the landslide still very evident, is the “old forest” as the inhabitants of Erto-Casso call it. Here we can read time, the geological time and the resilience of nature. Adding and accumulating traumas without removing them, after all, is a completely “natural” talent.

Qui potete leggere le interviste ai curatori di Calamita/à e a tutti gli altri autori coinvolti nel progetto.

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