• The Village (ongoing)

    A city of 30’000 inhabitants, with an average age of thirty-seven, the highest birth rate in France and a mortality rate of a mere 2%. A place inspired by architectural styles from before the Second World War, where advertisement is forbidden and every house is protected by alarms or connected to a video surveillance system. This is Val d’Europe, an urban community 35km from the French capital. Unique in its kind, it consists of six communes gathered around the premiere tourist destination in Europe: Disneyland Paris. The development of Val d’Europe begins to take place thanks to the building of Disneyland Park. In 1987 the French government decides to sell part of its land to the Walt Disney Company, through a public and private partnership between the state, the territorial communities and the world’s largest media and entertainment company. The Disney Company is appointed with the task of developing a new city on land up until then rural: 20’000 hectares of French terrain for which Disney will choose the construction companies, determine the urban structure of the six communes and establish the design of the houses and roads. For the first time in France, a private corporation is directly involved in an urban organisation on such a large scale. Through the Euro Disney SCA, the Walt Disney Company builds residential areas, offices, schools and sport centres on the land surrounding the theme park – the supporting foundation of the newborn community’s economy. Hence, Val D’Europe became the most significant example of New Urbanism in Europe, a movement developed starting from the 1980s in the United States and in Europe with the aim to profoundly renew the dominant models of urban planning, and which today represents one of the most important movements of reformation within architecture. According to the New Urbanism movement, the urban model for traditional villages and cities constitutes the most efficient way for the development of a community. The cardinal points around which the renovation proposals are defined include: population density, the integration of different transport systems and the continuity with the traditions of national architecture. The architectural styles of Val d’Europe are of Neotraditional inspiration, the principal models are those of the typical farms in the Brie region and of Haussmann’s Parisian buildings. According to Valérie Vautier and Véronique Wild, authors of an important ethnological study on Val d’Europe, “The ‘neo’ style favours the image, giving it more importance than the function of an architectural construction, thus creating an urban scene without real content.”

    Twenty-five years from its creation, Val d’Europe is still a place in search of an identity of its own. For some people who have chosen to live there it represents a dream, a synthesis of tranquillity, security and well-being. For others, it has become a nightmare, made of alienation and solitude, where the only place in which real encounters can take place is in the immense shopping centre which bears the same name as the urban community. Walking through Val d’Europe, the question arises: What does the mise-en-scene created by the Disney empire imply in the construction of a real city?

  • 14.644

    Almost 20 years ago, I was flicking through my parent's wedding photographs album. In one of the picture, there was a young man, smiling alone. I've never seen him before, so I asked my father about him. He told me: "This is Umberto, your cousin; a few years after the marriage, he decided to disappear". Nobody knows what he did, and nobody knows where he could be today. We have just our "last Umberto's picture", smiling behind his 70's glasses. In 2010, I started the project 14.644. 14.644 is the number of people who have disappeared in Italy since 1975. Approximately 400 per year, more than one every day. Until now, none of them have been found. The reasons for the disappearance remain undetermined, but all of these cases fits one definition: voluntary estrangement. On any given day, at any given hour, anywhere, men or women decide to cut their ties with the past, with their social and family roles, with their image. Through the places where these people were last seen, my photographs wish recount the surpassing of this limit.
  • Alphabet

    The Forum des Halles symbolized in the '70s a new and ambitious architectural vision in the heart of the historical centre of Paris. In place of the Baltard's Pavilions and the general markets, it was created a new futuristic space that had to contain everything: the trade, the leisure, the work, the education, and the art. A monumental cement complex with subterranean layers brutalized the Beaubourg district. Today, a new vision takes place: a new complex satisfying the contemporary aesthetic requirements will replace the Forum. These 26 pictures where took during the first phase of the demolition of the Forum des Halles, developing an idea of temporality about this place. 26 as the letters of the alphabet through which the Forum, 32 years after the construction and by this time esteemed as old, declare itself at the moment of its falling and its oblivion.
    “That it is not about 'hurried' photography, not really about contemplation, but as Ezio D’Agostino says himself, 'about a photographic process which derives from my archaeology training'. This means confronting time and pacting with it. The archaeologist, such as the photographer, divides the territory so that he can better explore it. The archaeologist digs it, then, with a layered and depth approach, he reveals the layers that will provide elements of interpretation and knowledge. Through his frame (which belongs only to him and which seldom has the scientific knowledge of the archaeologist), the photographer, too, divides, slices and cuts the space we know and we experiment so that we can see it differently, with other perspectives. This lack of spectacular reveals a cut tree trunk surrounded by dying grass, which still resists while a poor plant, leaning on a green fence, tries, whereas dying, to climb out from a metallic gate. A bit further, in-depth, by the pool numbers define a podium, a winner and his runner-ups. Then, soft chalk houses on a blackboard, half erased, a child's drawing, a small bird lost on the red back of a plastic chair, waste behind a transparent and red plastic garbage bag, chromias and signs. A calm reading of a world which is not, sharp angles, material meeting, reflection and, as always, light such as the one that makes drops of water vibrating when they get away from some humble string lights.”

    Christian Caujolle

  • The Disappearance

    "We have understood that the destruction of the environment is another enormous danger. But I truly believe that the lack of adequate imagery is a danger of the same magnitude. It is as serious a defect as being without memory. What have we done to our images? What have we done to our embarrassed landscapes?"

    Werner Herzog

    I enter in Vione's Ethnographic Museum 'L Zuf towering over the valley. Its founder, Maestro Tognali, starts off: "This museum wants to bear witness to the failure of rural civilization in this valley". This words inspired my photographic project. A visual work that avoided showing physically the museum and its material contents, investigating instead and surrounding countryside, searching those aesthetic and visual references to a country life and a bond with the natural environment which, over time, have clearly changed function and meaning. In the attempt to identify the dialectical relationship between the museum and the environment that originated it, I turned my eye to the local contemporary landscape, discovering in it an evocative tendency, a certain sentiment of memory, and perceiving the transformation of the symbolic and material values, of the places and of the objects. At 'L Zuf Museum every object on display is original and handmade and corresponds to a precise idea of usage and necessity. In the surrounding countryside, instead, the objects are allusive, unnatural, not essential: symbols of a contemporary civilization which creates for allusion and illusion.

    From the critical relationship between these two poles emerges finally a question: rural civilization in Valle Camonica has failed, but what kind of future expects its substitute civilization?

  • …and there isn’t any land more

    The city imposes its boundaries, shapes its own growth, and determines movements and spaces of people who live in it. The new frontier in Rome pushes towards the country for economic reasons more than housing needs. The purpose is to increase the value of central spaces and to exploit empty and potentially valuable marginal areas. Citizens, unable to afford a lodge within the center, move in these new housing blocks: this shifting is the reason for the third line of the subway. The line C will be in fact the first one to reach these new metropolitan areas, developed to welcome the future generations of suburban workers. Boundaries and distances within the city will be not only physical but also social. The frontier is the consequence of economic forces rather than a natural form of control of a sprawling city under constant development.