How can you live in the present when you are 3000 years old?
A personal research to the history, traditions and identity of Italy
What is my relation to Italian tradition and culture? How can we speak about Italy without thinking immediately about our past? How do we represent ourselves? Are we living in the present? How can we move forward when our traditions are so deeply rooted?
In Italy everything around us is a constant reminder about a greater past. To make something new, to be creative, it’s a challenge as we always must fight against a feeling of nostalgia.
With this project I aim to explore the identity of Italy today, how our tradition and culture -deeply embedded within the society- are a guide but also a limit.
In 2019 the subject of national identity is a political one: being “Italian” gives you more rights, wealth and opportunities, and the nationalist parties are building legal walls to define and regulate what and who is Italian.
My approach to the themes of traditions, history and identity is both narrative and formal.
On the one hand I will depict Italian traditions and tell some of the stories that are more relevant for me.
On the other hand I will formally use photography, that is my language and my culture. This research is a means for exploring and working with the limit of the photographic medium. I want my photographs to raise questions about their nature: “What Am I looking at? Is that a photograph or something else?”
The work developes into five chapters: Capriccio, (People Named) Italo, Replica, Mamma and Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale.
Capriccio refers to the Capriccio painting style (popular since 16th century) of architectural fantasy that was used to depict Italy through archaeological ruins in fictional landscapes. This chapter collects re-worked scanned old postcards, where I altered architectural and landscape elements of classic monumental Italian views.
2 (People Named) Italo
Italo is a common first name, grandchildren are traditionally named Italo after their grandfathers. This series portrays some Italos that have been imposed this tradition from their birth, along with privileges, wealth and rights. My only request to my sitters is to dress “like Italians” and to pose accordingly.
Gipsotecas are places where molds of classical bronze and marble statues are kept and used to make chalk replicas used after to decorate homes and gardens. These copies of famous statues reproduce also the imperfections and the missing parts of the originals at the moment they were sampled, so all the copies of Venus of Milo will be for instance without arms. This chapter consists in a printing performance to stress the idea that culture evolves through transmission, but replication leads to loss of information.
4 Mamma - IN PROGRESS
Italian Mamma is an important character in our culture, she’s a strong and protective figure. In the founding myth of Roma, the founders of the city are two orphans, Romolo and Remo, that are breastfed milk from a wolf that takes the role of their mother. This chapter introduces you to my mother with her very own person wolf.
5 Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale - IN PROGRESS
PAN is the acrobatic patrol of the Italian army, the largest in the world (!). This narrative is about patriotism.