“If one is imagining a mountain one is also free to imagine its height and extent” From The Best Authorities: The Mountains of Kong in the Cartography of West Africa. Thomas J. Bassett and Philip W. Porter
3 channels UHD video installation in real-time, in collaboration with Alex Cayuela, Marco Ginex and Paolo Romano
I do believe, 2019, is the last chapter of this research. It draws attention to the power of words as something that supports a visual creation and makes it believable and trustworthy.
I do believe is based on the data taken from the Google browser that concern to the words that compose Kong Mountains. Google Trends is the tool that allows the user to look up what people all around the world ask to Google: through the research of a keyword it is possible to find out how many times it has been looked for, with what frequency and what other words are related to it.
I do believe creates a visual image in real time, which modifies itself over and over again as people look up the Kong Mountains. A software processes the data and generates a huge chain of mountains that transform all the time.
8 color instant films and black and white inkjet prints
The Kong Mountains survived for nearly a century thanks to the words and the detailed stories of the explorers. Scientific descriptions alternated with moments of pure poetry, in an incredible zeal which tells us about mountains rich of gold, so high to seem impossible to overcome, deserted but crossed by rivers, covered by snow and colored of an incredible blue. The instant films becomes the witnesses of a completely reconstruct reality. They prove, ask for faith, just because of the immediacy which is the nature of this medium.
6 gelatin silver prints, 30×24 cm 2017, c-print, 125×156 cm
The first steps of the project consist on a series of 6 black and white gelatin silver prints and a c-print. The images are the results of a graphic processing of Kong Mountains, in the 47 variations that appeared in maps between 1798 and 1888. What are Kong Mountains? Which could be the contemporary answer to the nothingness that cartographers tried to face? I take the silhouettes of the Kong Mountains, drawn by nineteen’s century cartographers, and put them back in Google Maps, matching their original position. As a result I create contemporary Mountains of Kong, composed using satellite pictures, empowered by today’s cartographical authority which has disproved and replaced the traditional one.
From The Best Authorities tries to explore the mysterious Kong Mountains, existed between 1798 and 1888. They were a huge chain, a parallel line going along the equator, splitting the African continent from Guinea to Niger. What is intriguing about Kong Mountains is that they never existed except in the imaginations of explorers, mapmakers and merchants. The power of being visual images gives maps a unique role in defining knowledge. Satellites today, just like cartographers in the past, are invested with such an authority that makes every interpretation accepted and validated. The work is about the men who created the Mountains of Kong, the words they used and tries to imagine what they would look like today.
Shaping Kong, 2017 – 6 gelatin silver prints, 30×24 cm || c-print, 125×156 cm
Chiudende (from Latin “which has to be closed”), 2016, arises from a Sardinian folk song written in 1820 against a decree that proclaimed the private ownership. The idea of imposing territorial limits deeply changed the way the inhabitants used to feel the space around them. As a consequence they began to build random borders, made of dry stone walls. The song talks about the excitement that came from the closing of the fields, insofar as “if the sky had been on earth they would have closed it too”. The orthophotographs, taken a hundred years after that decree, are the very first attempt to photographically map Sardinia, to close the earth from the sky. I re-photograph and print in the darkroom these sections of the island, which appear irregular and fragmentary: they take us to the contemporary obsession of satellite mapping, which has its roots in early nineteenth-century need of control.
Maurice Marleau-Ponty called the surface that our eyes are capable of reaching the map of “I can’’. Everything we see is a potential path, it challenges us to walk, it invites us to move. (Elena D’Angelo, from Carta Bianca – Giulia Spreafico, catalogue of the exhibition)
Retraced, is a project divided into two series, dedicated to the great Antarctic trips of the past ten years: the first goes towards the southern Pole of Inaccessibility, reached by the N2i Team in 2007; the other is the one faced by Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere in 2014, following the track towards the geographic South Pole that was first walked by R. F. Scott in 1912. Retraced is the attempt of crossing a white space, inaccessible and unresolved, retracing the steps of contemporary men who decided to walk and not to use advanced vehicles. The act of sewing is to take part in these trips of the mind, crossing the satellite image of the spots crossed by the explorers with threads. When taking a picture of the images produced by the satellites I find their limits, the mistakes and the incapacity of reaching the places where this men’s bodies have been in a satisfying manner.
Retraced (P.O.I), 2016 – 7 gelatin silver prints, 30×24 cm
Retraced (South Pole), 2017 – 6 gelatin silver prints, 30×24 cm
What does it mean to inhabit an impossible and invisible space? A faraway place, only reachable through the satellites, like the very centre of Antarctica, becomes closer and material through the colour transparent. To inhabit such a place means to create a connection, to leave behind the sign of your touch. It means to sew the simplest image of a house, in the dark, before being able to see.
In temporary darkness, 2015 – color trasparency 4×5’’, lightbox