1,26-28 (work in progress/OMNELAB residency)

 

In the 1990s, architect Stefano Boeri emphasized how the Italian landscape had been profoundly changed as a result of equally profound transformations in the country’s social fabric and habits. The wealthy and largely unregulated country had fashioned itself a landscape in its own likeness. This cutting analysis brought to mind the verses from Genesis 1:26–28: “Then God said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”

The philosophy of “work always and everywhere” has spread exponentially across the land, especially in the Northeast, and particularly in the Castelfranco Veneto area, which was one of the first in the region to be industrialized. The loss of identity and diffusion of the “I only care about what is profitable” subculture has been similarly exponential. While geographical North is the direction of the northern tip of the axis on which the Earth spins, this initially evolved and subsequently convoluted land represents the more widespread regression of the whole of Italy and the nefarious logic of profit at any cost, in a sort of loop that is impossible to escape, just as the Earth cannot avoid spinning on its own axis.

Few people are portrayed in my work. They are for the most part alien presences, which leave traces or absences connected with faded memories. Memory is a luxury that we cannot afford. In the silence of the factories, few written memories remain of the people who constitute the history of these places: telegraphic descriptions (married, with children, late, fired, promoted, deceased, etc.) that make us forget the sweat, emotions and enthusiasm that filled the aseptic and uninhabitable constructions left to us by the unchecked industrialization of the post-war period. In the resulting “apparent” desert the signs of history stubbornly survive alongside the signs of what we were told was “development”, just as talent and enthusiasm continue to live side-by-side with resignation over what has been lost.

 

Text by Massimo Mastrorillo/door