Paesaggi Migranti - Floating Landscapes
I am standing knee-deep in the Marecchia river, Emilia Romagna, Italy, looking for fragments of bricks. It is early summer, already quite warm, the water is refreshingly cool. We are searching for traces of human presence in a natural landscape in the form of brick debris. I carry a big plastic bag in which I put the fragments of bricks I find while slowly walking through the river. Around me are the other members of our group, also searching for fragments. We find tiny brick-pebbles and we find part of a brick-wall still cemented together buried in the river. We take it all.
The next day we go to a smaller river, doing the same. And the next day, too. Narrow rivers, wide rivers, medieval villages on hills around us, forested mountains on all sides, the landscape is so beautiful it hurts.
We transport all fragments of bricks we collect (it feels like tons) to Parco Begni in Pennabilli, perhaps the most enchanting of the medieval villages in the Marecchia Valley. Our brief is to create one or many installations in the Parc using this brick debris and the concept “Floating Mountains”.
Who are we? Our group : Alessandro Mulazzini, Italian Land Artist and environmental engineer, Mirella Bandini, South African sculptor living in the UK with an Italian passport, Archana Ishwar Patil, architect from New Dehli, India, Silvia Mangosio, Italian Photographer, Francesco Carrao, Italian architect and me.
All together we are a very international group of 20 creatives from four continents whose applications at Paesaggi Migranti , a grouping of European architects, designers and artists that made Pennabilli their focus of research and their operational centre, was successful.
The name Paesaggi Migranti (Migrant Landscapes) stems from the special geomorphology of the Marecchia Valley, where the mountains sit on clay beds which ever so slightly move, causing crags in the walls of houses built on mountain slopes, sometimes to the extend that houses are abandoned, slowly disintegrate, bricks tumbling down into the rivers, smoothed and rounded like stones by the flow of water and for our group becoming the starting point of a reflection between nature and culture, a reflection on the conflict of men and nature.
So, for the installations in Parco Begni we decided to allow the collected brick debris to float or move:
With man-power and a chainsaw we created a winding path and space in a thicket. And, counter to the path we allowed a river of brick debris to flow through the thicket above our heads.
We had left-over brick debris! We brought it back to the Marecchia river and built a kind of tower in the river in which we made fire in the water.
A wonderful ending for an astounding, stunning, awesome, breathtaking, surprising, inspiring, phenomenal, extraordinary, mind-blowing, incredible, amazing 10 days at Pennabilli, doing what I love doing most – land art.
A huge thank you to Roberto Sartor and Irene Valenti from Parco Sasso Simone e Simoncello for organizing!