Fabrizio Bilello

2014 - 2019

Archipelago portrays a serpentine journey inside intentional communities set at the cultural and political periphery of the European territory. Isolation, social experimentation and reconnection to nature are some of the themes shaping an imaginary archipelago formed by real micro-societies whose lifestyle contrast the narrative of commodity culture.

The work, developed between 2014 and 2019, started as a research on self-sustainable communities and progressively extended its focus on communities whose emphasis embrace sexuality and spirituality, as well as sustainability.

Archipelago is divided into three main chapters: The Biotopes, The Valley and The Mountain, developed with three different visual languages. Each chapter brings forward a specific focus yet remaining strictly interwoven to the whole work.

The Biotopes explores three eco-communities: Tinker’s Bubble (UK), Yorkley Court Community Farm (UK) and Tamera (PT) who live in a bonding interdependence with their natural surroundings. The visions and histories of these three communities are pretty diverging, yet they embrace a common political desire to create alternative forms of environmentally conscious micro societies. I approached these communities by volunteering and spending two months in each place, adapting to their lifestyles and contributing to the daily activities. The Biotopes was developed with a field camera forcing me to drastically slow down the pace of my photographic practice and matching the pace of my subjects who follow the slow cycles of nature.

The Valley approaches the themes of free love and sexuality within an eco-village laboratory secluded in the Spanish Sierra Nevada named Valle de Sensaciones. The attendants of such valley are people from all walks of life, keen to explore taboo topics that mainly remain confined within the realm of pornography and sex clubs. This second chapter was developed with use of a thermal camera, allowing discretion and secrecy of the persons’ identities while trying to break that connotation between images of sex and pornography, but to rather embrace an abstract and pictorial aesthetic.

The Mountain enters a persecuted spiritual community in the Piedmont region of Italy, Damanhur. Founded by Falco Tarassaco (Oberto Airaudi) in 1975, the community is centred on his spiritual and esoteric knowledges and teachings that he could remember from previous reincarnations, being Falco considered an avatar from 600 years in the future and sent back in human’s history timeline to create a different future. The community has its own constitution, medicines, spiritual technologies and a majestic underground cathedral that is the Temples of Humankind, built inside a mountain reaching 72 metres of depth, which is the spiritual hub of Damanhur. In a genuine difficulty to unapologetically depict the concept of spirituality and to discern what could be for Damanhurians the outcome of imagination or a real fact I tried to blend fiction and documentary. I borrowed a cinematic aesthetics and involved my subjects in constructed scenes that might defy the viewer. Damanhurians in their views agreed with such type of representation, as for them an objective reality cannot exist but just the subjective experience.

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  • Two men cutting fallen trees with a handsaw: Tinker's Bubble community use traditional working tools.

    Tinker's Bubble, UK. 2014.

  • A tree house within the YCCF. Tree houses allowed to keep the beneath land free for agricultural purposes.

    Yorkley Court Community Farm, UK. 2015.

  • On one of the many attempts of community's eviction the members of YCCF painted their faces not to be recognized by police. The unused land at the edge of the forest of Dean was occupied by young anarchists for 4 years, organizing activities and workshops for the local community as well as building a self-sustainable habitat.

    Yorkley Court Community Farm, UK. 2015.

  • Yorkley Court Community Farm, UK. 2015.

  • A group of Israeli and Palestinians shared and confronted their views on the ongoing conflict in Palestine.

    Tamera, Portugal. 2015.

  • Tamera, Portugal. 2015.

  • A polyamorous family, Portugal. 2015.

  • Valle de Sensaciones, Spain, 2018.

  • Valle de Sensaciones, Spain, 2018.

  • Valle de Sensaciones, Spain, 2018.

  • Valle de Sensaciones, Spain, 2018.

  • Valle de Sensaciones, Spain, 2018.

  • Valle de Sensaciones, Spain, 2018.

  • Damanhur, Italy. 2019.

  • A group of persons circling around the oldest tree in the community, an oak 300 years old.

    Damanhur, Italy. 2019.

  • Damanhur, Italy. 2019

  • A man playing music with plants.

    Damanhur, Italy. 2019

  • A pranoself, a healing technology developed by Falco.

    Damanhur, Italy. 2019

  • Shama, a past lives researcher.

    Damanhur, Italy. 2019

  • The three sages at the open temple.

    Damanhur, Italy. 2019