APUA

‘APUA’ is a long-term investigation about the excessive mining of Carrara marble in the Apuan Alps in northern Italy, with the means of video, video performance, photography, and sound.

In times of wars, global warming, or the immense threat to people who ask for freedom and equality, one constantly experiences the feeling of being overwhelmed, frustrated or speechless: I Don't Know How To Respond To That.

The proposed body of work ‘APUA’ is a long-term investigation about the excessive mining of Carrara marble in the Apuan Alps in northern Italy, with the means of video, video performance, photography, and sound.

Confronting themselves with both the sublime and shocking experience of the irresistible charisma of the white marble and the anthropogenic landscape, the artists Celata and Praun encounter their feelings of loss and grief, and explore possibilities of care and resilience. Using the microcosm of scarred mountainsides, they address the global phenomenon of man-made alteration of nature and connection with place, and involve themselves in responding, interacting and performing in a wounded landscape.

The Carrara marble is one of the most popular and valuable types of marble in the world due to its whiteness, the absence of grains and impurities and its fine-grained structure. In the quarries - around 650, two thirds of which have been shut down or hollowed out - 5 million tons of marble are now mined annually for the world market in construction and calcium carbonate industries. With a turnover of billions of euros per year, the marble industry is a massively powerful one: work in the quarries that violate the law is the order of the day, local politics has come to terms - or gets involved. It’s an illegal quiet network selling itself as a business of integrity.

With technologies and machines having been developed over the last decades the mining of white marble became even more effective and one can literally observe the disappearance of the mountains. The mining and the further processing of the rock waste have transformed the region strongly: soil and water pollution, desertification, vulnerable karst ecosystems, massive disturbance of fauna and flora habitat and biodiversity are only a few environmental impacts caused by the excessive and irreversible human action of quarrying activities.

How to emotionally and intellectually react, when confronting oneself with the destruction of such a magnitude? Are there any solutions to the global demand of limited resources, and are we even capable of understanding the full scale and all its consequences?

The proposed work elements of APUA (‘Landscape Archive’ 2 channel video and sound, 22:12 min., and the photo series ‘Luna’s Weapons’) go beyond the topic of the beauty of the white marble quarries; the artists strongly focus on their experience of landscape which led to a performative approach for video performances, photographic series and creation of sounds, in order to explore time and space.

The artists’ responses to this complex and ambivalent matter offer no solutions but seek for possibilities of a close and humble encounter, trying to challenge our perception and understanding of our role in a very imbalanced world.

Proposed work elements, belonging to APUA (2020-2023)

1)

'Landscape Archive'

2 channel video and sound, 22:12 min. © CelataPraun 2023

video, sound and performances: Flaminia Celata & Bärbel Praun, 2020-22

sound composition in collaboration with Luca Baioni, 2023

https://vimeo.com/816008454

2)

'Luna‘s weapons', 2022 (7 photographies, framed)

“Marmor Lunensis” is how the Ancient Romans called the Carrara marble, connected to the Roman colony Luna, dedicated to the Moon Goddess. For this series, found working tools at the abandoned quarries were used.

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