Lavinia Parlamenti & Manfredi Pantanella

An Atlas of Countries that Don’t Exist


Political charts of the world are very fluid realities. Countries are created and countries die. In today’s world, globalization hasn’t killed the concept of Nation-State, but has certainly tore down its importance. A world once defined by borders and supervised by the static power of national governments, has been replaced by a more dynamic kind of transnational reality, in which the power is no longer connected to a single State, but takes the form of NGOs, banks and societies who rule by collecting global data. In this ever-changing scenario, little attention is paid to the fact that the map of the world is still hiding today a huge number of unrecognized States.



Our “Atlas of Countries that Don’t Exist” is an imaginary journey in real territories that uses documentary photography to show the paradox of those portions of the world that self-declared their independence but – for different reasons – haven’t been recognized by the UN. By documenting and conceptualizing some aspects of the reality of these places,our work in progress aims at stimulating a reflection on the subject of personal and national identity, at a time in which this seems to us more than necessary. The physical place where one is born, where one is guarded after death, the family; these are elements defining our personal identity. On the other hand, the culture of a place (arts, monuments, traditions, food), its history and politics, the fauna and the flora, make up the identity of a “Nation”. That’s why we are dealing with tracing these elements in the 12 territories we have chosen to portray: Transnistria, North Cyprus, Catalunya, Republic of Artsakh, Isle of Man, Iraqi Kurdistan, Greenland, Somaliland, Sahrawi, Lakota, Taiwan and Ryukyu. Having already visited the first 3 territories, the Burn Emerging Fund would allow to carry on our research including the maximum variety of global situations into the Atlas, which we hope will take the form of a book and an interactive exhibition.



Short Bio

Lavinia Parlamenti and Manfredi Pantanella met each other in Tahrir Square at the end of 2011, during the second wave of the so called Egyptian Revolution. Their collective research mainly focuses on geopolitical paradoxes and aims to combine documentary photography with the dimension of surreal and fantastic. Meeting point of their different personalities is, with no doubts, a common ironical approach to life (therefore to photography) and the great value that they give to imagination inside reality. Their first collective project, “Roundabout#Cyprus” (2012), has been transformed into a book and self-published in 2013. In the last years, Lavinia and Manfredi also realized several editorial works in Italy, Europe and the Middle East, collaborating with newspapers and magazines as LaRepubblica, Le Monde, The New York Times, Time, Internazionale, IoDonna, Vanity Fair, Panenka football magazine.

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The Emerging Photographer Fund is supported by generous donors to the Magnum Foundation

Magnum Foundation