2017 - 2021
I remember how my grandfather, Giuseppe, used to share stories about his youth and how, when caught by the German troops during the II World War, he managed to escape and walked back home from Germany. I can still feel, through the echo of his words, the strong sense of belonging and the happiness to see again those mountains from far.
In this project, I re-discover parts of my cultural heritage, portraying the different facets of the life of mountain villages in between the Italian and Slovenian borders. What I found was a community of survivors, a community of emigrants that imposed a self-exile after the World Wars and the earthquake that tremendously hit the region twice in 1976, to chase that “progress” promised by the upcoming industrialized cities.
Sclavanie is an examination of the importance of local through common memory, and how modern society neutralizes it in the name of globalization. It is a universal story. It is a story of power, who has it and decides how development should look like, and who do not have it, and never will.
The resilient obstinacy of the mountain people is fearless against all odds but the new economies did not see sources of income from these territories. Thus begun and grew the Ghost Towns phenomena and the image of the mountain as a difficult place, impossible to live in the modern age, unless you are looking for solitude and isolation. This project wants to introduce a body of work about the violent alteration of the landscape and the huge cultural void that is threatening to leave. It wants to open a dialogue between past and present in order to shake the assumptions that memories bring nostalgia not progress.