pmc #3 Vacancy

Cerello--Battuello, Milano Italy

Taken yesterday. It was a hot, sunny and windy day. The air was crystal clear a thing that rarely happens in the south of Milan. Goethe called it "The Misty" for good reasons. Given my habit to take casual detours I rely heavily on memory to remember places this time I was so taken by the sensation the hot sun was giving me that I forgot to pay attention to the name of the place. I've bought a gps recorder but most of the times I forget it home. Hope that the next affordable camera could have one incorporated. The picture was taken around noon as the harsh shadows testify.

I'm leaving for a short vacancy of five days. Forgive me to not reply immediately to eventual comments. In Sassello where I will be I don't have an Internet connection.

pmc #2.1 Reading the world

Trezzano sul Naviglio, Milano Italy

As I have told in reply to Kent's comment in the last post pmc (Post Modern Condition) is my way to categorize a set of images I take in between some specific theme I'm working on. They all have as subject the stratification of human expression and identity in landscape. Landscape in historical sense has always been about human/land interaction as the word origin implies: literally a piece of land. The stratification may be read along several lines. For a reference to the main ones see here. I've posted some more references here.
In the 20th century fine art landscape photography has been intended mostly as a source of feelings or remembrances. The informational side has been progressively abandoned. Even in the German School of the Bekers the informational side is somewhat sacrificed in favor to more pictorial values. On the other side one of the main problems of a photographer is to obtain that his pictures are looked at for a somewhat longer time then the usual few seconds. I think that aesthetic values in photography have found most of the time as a byproduct of the more functional uses. Only in somewhat recent times and mostly with the so called fine-art photography the aesthetic function has become dominant. I'm not sure, given the strict connection of the media with the real, that this has any sense at least for me.


Post Modern Condition. pmc #1

Lacchiarella, Milano Italy

"I earlier stressed the spontaneous capacity of even small children to tag facts according to whether they belong to one or another pretend world, or to the real world, and moreover to be able to cross imaginatively between worlds without confusion. This is a fundamental human faculty with, again, crucial survival value: an imaginative species whose members could not distinguish seeing a tiger in the forest from day dreaming about a tiger in the forest would have been at a distinctive competitive disadvantage. But the manifest evolved ability to discriminate between what is true or valid in one world from what is fantasy does not mean that everything in a make-believe fantasy world is a make-believe fantasy fact."
Denis Dutton “The art instinct” 2009

A distinctive tract of several idealistic variants in humanistic disciplines (Philosophy of art included) is the way in which connections with reality (the real tiger in the forest) are established. From that point of view reality is always something to be interpreted and scrutinized as a possible source of forgery. It is not a case that some vulgar deviations end up either denying it either necessitating its repair.

In many cases there is always a perceived contradiction or rupture, supposedly newly formed, as the starting point of a theorization.

It is the case of the outcome of my recent second reading of Lyotard's “Post modern condition”. I've become acquainted with his seminal writing 25 years ago (more or less) as a consequence of my reading of a couple of articles in “Domus Magazine” (an Italian Architecture Magazine) by “Achille Bonito Oliva” founder of the so called “Transavanguardia”. The concept exposed where so crippled that I felt the need to go to the starting point.

At the time the reading impressed me a lot. It was the time of the death of ideologies and my vision of the new world disclosing was that of a sea upon which ideas, concepts, credences from different context, times and even intentions where scattered as floatsams. A gigantic junk yard of clashing symbols conveniently adapted.

But year after year it became clear to me that what Lyotard was perceiving as a characterization of the information society was indeed a description of the way in which life goes on in our culture in general. I wont call it evolution since the term incorporates a somewhat optimistic hope in a progress whatever nature it has.

I've already treated the concept of anachronism, a fundamental force in cultural motions.

To be more clear I'm not interested here in the so called “Postmodern art”. Frankly its flavor is to much on the side of the “Modernism” in its search of the “new”, Lyotard himself is sure to have found a new development. Plus the related artistic movement, at the time, was related to more constructive arts than photography as architecture or painting (mash ups included). To be exact PostModern artists where still searching for something new to be chewed by Art Critics, so more than looking at a state of affairs it come, in artistic terms, to the creation of heavily symbol based new contents.

But photographers have to deal with reality. If we need a picture of a tiger we have to face one or photoshop one from somebody who faced it (down to the chain to your liking considering that for each surviving tiger there could be, at least, ten pictures). As a descriptive art photography is not meant to formulate possible futures unless turned into something else.

So I've come to the theme “Post Modern Condition” (pmc) as a solution in categorizing some landscapes I'm doing and as a manifesto for my purely descriptive approach to reality. Generally my themes go along with some specific location. But a generic container for images sometimes comes in handy. To cite a famous case there is the one from “Mario Giacomelli” who used to keep a generic container for the not easy to classify pictures or the ones taken while developing a specific theme but not related.


quadro #22 4floor: views from my balcony

I was looking for an option to break out from the series scheme I used in the last months. I confess to have a somewhat monotonic ongoing in everything, a thing that I admire in Atget. But serialization is causing me some delay in publishing pictures from other themes that I find worth communicating.


Fondovalle. Upper side.

Here is a view from the northern limit of the area under scrutiny here. I have weakly delimited the area by "Tirano" to the south and "Tiolo" to the north.

The viaduct was built at the end of the eighties. The picture was taken in the spring of the last year. At that time I was focusing, and still I am, on the dominant elements of the landscape as a key to understand the visual history of a place.

NOTE: I have post processed the image several times. Seems that I'm having some difficulties with the reds, partly is due to the newly installed Linux still uncalibrated.


Fondovalle. A short diversion #1

Here is a short detour in a small marsh formed by the Adda river. Adda marshes receive water directly from the river or from its resurgences where the water gets filtered by the subtle granitic sands. The one depicted here receives waters in both ways. Being positioned near an hydroelectric plant is has a regime that somewhat resembles a natural one. Water levels more or less follow the natural ones albeit with some delays disastrous for the waterbird nests.

With this post I'm adopting a new frame. I've found that it better fits my idea of (post)modern postcard.


Fondovalle. Motocross field

Given the restricted available spaces one could argue that motocross must be a quite common activity among locals. It is not. The field has been established in the public property eliminating the remaining vestiges of one of the few marshes in the higher part of the Adda waterway. Local inhabitants however seem not to care that much about the ecological loss (neither to the noise amplified by the sounding board effect of the valley). The general perception of the value of the area was pretty low given its "unproductive" status.