DISPLACEMENT. The Loss Of Cities As Blueprints For Societies
[ EPF 2016 FINALIST ]
I perceived what displacement can mean while strolling down the busted roads of L’Aquila, Italy, with the writer Caterina Serra. The earthquake of the 6th of April 2009 converted the historical town into a building site, in an undistinguished non-lieu of new buildings that resurfaced from the dusty debris under the guise of refurbished hotels, coffee shops and wine bars, as if these were the only suitable places for social life. The population meanwhile has been shifted and exiled into the New Towns, dormitory suburbs with centers that are nothing but the roundabouts of shopping malls, where one can feel a material and spiritual disorientation. A community has lost its public space, and all its places of individual and collective memories. So, what is left of a city that has lost its inhabitants? When its citizens are lost, and displaced to the anonymity of suburbia? What happens to its genius loci? The experience of L’Aquila has paired my vision with Caterina trying to understand how a community acknowledges itself under dire circumstances, how it elaborates what it can achieve or what it can recover. We wanted document how it can witness silently the dissolution of its identity, while coasting for survival. With the help of this Grant We would like to make a book and an exhibition. We would like to tell what happens to a place where politics is oblivious to the history, culture, and texture of its society and its communities. Where decision-makers have no experience, no imagination, no belonging. We want to speak about the physical and emotional geography of displacement.
Giovanni Cocco was born in Sulmona in 1973. Since 2004 he produced reportage of social inquiry. Selected for the ?Mentor? program by the International Agency of Photography “VII” – 2010 to 2012 – his work has been published in several international magazines. Currently he is an independent photographer based between Berlin and Rome.