Ivan Dal Cin Ummaremma

Collateral project

Ummaremma is a site-specific art fiction, it is social sculpture as an anthropic map, it is the hybrid representation of an alien place of our time.

 

“24 short stories, testimonies of those who live the Maremma in the present in all its facets, were collected in the area during the pandemic. Each story brings with it an object, an image, or a work of art that makes it visible and physical. Often these are unusual objects, far from an imaginary that would have them simple or traditional, because in reality every place is now hyper-connected with many others, on several levels.

 

Begun as a small ethnographic research, I soon realized the inadequacy of the bare document and the need for the inhabitants to stage themselves as characters in their stories. Widespread auto-fiction, which reveals the hybridization in progress between vernacular culture and the non-linear languages of an accelerated contemporaneity. ” (Ivan Dal Cin)

 

Aknowledgements

Carlo Albertini, Darren Bader, Caterina Barbon, Elisa Caldana, Nico Covre, Alessandro Del Puppo, Ylenia Deriu, Laura Guarnier, Antonio Guiotto, Sara Ippolito, Ilaria Selmi, Daniele Tonon.

Read the stories — more to come, stay tuned!

Hillary Hills

Kenneth, poet — Raccalbegna (GR)

Every time I stay in Italy with my friends from Roccalbegna, in addition to sharing the best with them, I find the right concentration for my work.

 

The idea of ​​printing the Internet came to me during my 2013 residency: at that time I calculated that printing all existing websites would require the equivalent in pages of 300 million copies of Infinite Jest. In 2018, still in the studio overlooking the hills, I conceived the project to print all Hillary Clinton’s emails made public by Wikileaks. There was a lot of discussion about the content of those emails that in fact no one had read, so I printed them in 60,000 pages and guess what … they are so deadly boring! No secrets or compromising details. To the point that I imagined one in which Hillary writes from Roccalbegna:

 

“Today I met Mr. K in Florence, but we couldn’t talk there. They moved us to a safe place in the hills, a small perched village. Mr. K has made the demands of him as expected. This aggression will not stand, man. Sure, it’s a very complicated case, a lot of ins and outs. We are analyzing the files that Mr. K gave me in a USB key hidden in the cork of a wine bottle. Saying smugly: this isn’t a Canaiolo, it’s a Clinton with a raw flavor, full of fruity secrets.”

Electric elytra

Ylenia, jewelry designer — Oasi Lago Burano (GR)

At the end of May I often go to the Oasis of Lake Burano. There, the fauna of beetles is made up of about 250 species, a real boon for researchers and enthusiasts. Not long ago, a new species was also discovered, endemic to the Maremma: the Hoplia Maremmana, in fact. I like to look for it and observe it in its habitat, especially on the flowers of Helichrysum italicum, Rosa sempervirens and Prasium majus.

 

I therefore decided to pay homage to her with a brooch, in continuity with the contemporary jewelery project inspired by the elytra, and by the stories, of the beetles that I started thanks to the collaboration with an entomologist. Thus the brooch dedicated to the Hoplia Maremmana recalls its elytra, whose drop-shaped scales are represented by hundreds of nylon threads, which I work and insert by hand, one by one, on an oxidized brass base.

 

With the brooch I would like to give notoriety to this colorful beetle but also to invite the inhabitants and patrons of the Maremma to a real action of beetlewatching, to observe with a different and more attentive eye the flowers, herbs and meadows that could host this new species, which has so far gone unnoticed but that it could also inhabit other areas of the territory.

Panzerotto

Carlo, game designer — Principina Terra (GR)

I am a video game designer, in recent years I have specialized in the design of weapon systems for first-person shooters, also commonly known as FPS. As a great lover of history and avid collector of relics, I draw constant inspiration from the war production of the great conflicts of the twentieth century for the design of new weapons and equipment.

 

I am looking in the underground bunkers and abandoned farmhouses of the countryside around Grosseto for a unique prototype of a kugelpanzer, an individual spherical mini-tank that had been brought to Italy to be tested in street-to-street fighting in the Tuscan villages and in the small and narrow paths of the Apennines. During the breakthrough operations by General Alexander, the Germans were forced to retreat rapidly towards the Gothic line to the north, and abandoned or hid much of the equipment more difficult to transport.

 

I miraculously came into possession of a photograph taken in the Maremma plain in the autumn of ’42 of the specimen I am looking for, in order to be able to faithfully replicate it in 3D and use it in the new expansion of a well-known videogame that will be released in a few years and will retrace the entire military campaign in Italy. Given its shape, it is understandable why our grandparents called it “Panzerotto”.

Trendy setter

Laura, fashion hacker — Scansano (GR)

I inherited the passion for English setters from my father, who as a child took me hunting in the reserve near Scansano. I breed some of them, particularly lively and nice, which I call “toschini”.

 

After the fashion school I opened a fairly popular blog, in which I weaved a network of connections between fashion, art and technology. In one of the most commented articles I showed how the Second Life marketplace was influencing streetwear through the first virtual sneakers. Years later, I am designing a line of sneakers for a luxury brand that will be marketed only in digital version.

 

Thanks to that article, I was contacted by the artist Jon Rafman for a collaboration. He was producing an animated feature film that seemed to be shot inside Second Life, with an endless series of surreal characters and disturbing situations. I contributed by creating the outfit for the protagonist, Xanax Girl.

 

Among my personal projects there is a line inspired by my setters. I create tailor-made models of their elongated and elegant shapes, which then I adapt to the human body while maintaining its proportions. The line is called Toschino and the two young models are Lola and Tosca, with very different tastes and characters. Tosca is the undisciplined, restless teenager who no longer listens to the advice of us boomers. Lola, on the other hand, does not run.

The Diary of a Country Curator

Alessandro, curator — Montorgiali (GR)

At one point I got tired of monetizing on nothing or bad faith. I spent evenings at inaugurations and events, and nights sprawled in hotel lobbies with a cell phone in one hand and with the other signing questionable appraisals of paintings passed off as De Dominicis.

 

 

The decision was quite sudden. Caterina had found a cottage in Montorgiali. We went there with our cat. I had earned enough, anyway; I would have taken care of the vineyards. I started a blog where a black cat, Johnson, acted as my avatar in the despicable world of contemporary art.

 

 

In my free time I was wandering around the old taverns and the farmhouses, recovering the scattered sheets of a local artist of the early twentieth century that I had discovered by chance. He had been a friend of Soffici, of Maccari, of those of the “Selvaggio”. Like all those Tuscans, he was particularly versed in drawing: less as a colorist. This nude is one of my favorites.

 

 

One day I was resting in the shade of the pergola of a farmhouse with a lampredotto sandwich and a glass of Canaiolo, when I caught a glimpse of a peeling frame inside the dark walls. I had no doubts; it was my painter’s portrait. It had been created by Francis Bacon – among the many English artists passing by – who with uncertain handwriting had signed it with a dedication full of admiration.

Plankton is hilarious

Darren, artist — Saturnia (GR)

I met Scott Mendes in Venice, in Campo Santo Stefano, not far from the Accademia Bridge. As I have explained on several occasions, it was his watercolors that inspired the AR works that I took to the Biennale and then to other contexts. For years I didn’t know anything about him, until a few weeks ago, when I received a letter from Scott.

 

Honestly, I didn’t understand much of what I read. He said he was back in Italy and that he was stuck there because of the pandemic. It seems that in October of last year he visited the famous thermal baths of Saturnia, he told me about a swimming pool dug into the spring with very hot water on whose surface was floating a thermal plankton not very dissimilar from the precious guano of Venetian pigeons.

 

But what seems to have struck him the most I think was the group of snobbish ladies who politely crowded the poolside. He says he fantasized about leaving a sex doll free to float on the surface of the spring so he could enjoy the reaction of the ladies.

 

For my project, instead, I imagined to inject thermal plankton into some forms of pecorino cheese – I love it! I also learned about wild boars, during the period of my residence in Maremma. They remind me a lot of the peccaries, which as a kid I saw during the summer holidays in New Mexico. Here is the unexpected connection I was looking for: Pecari and / with Pecorino.

Einstein’s Cat

Ilaria, physicist — Montiano (GR)

Extraordinary encounters can be made in the countryside of Maremma. The first time I walked the entire length of the interferometer, through the sunny fields, I perceived the delicate and intangible balance of all things. I work on Virgo, one of the three devices in the world for detecting gravitational waves. The heart of the experiment is a mirror suspended in a vacuum, inside a “super attenuator” made up of chains of pendulums.

 

This sophisticated technology brings me back to a cherished object of my childhood: my great aunts’ pendulum clock, in the dining room. I have recently restored it. As a child I stopped attracted by the unstoppable fluctuation of time, but also afraid of that precise and inevitable timing of the hours, as seen in horror films. Later I discovered the paradoxes of relative time, and of course the many oddities of the microcosm. As an incurable cat lady, I have never welcomed “Schrödinger’s cat”, by feeling more than by logic.

 

I prefer “Einstein’s cat” – I’m making it up right now! It could be Cip19, my old cat from when I was studying physics. If then she had climbed on a relativistic rocket for the time of a nap, today she would wake up here on my lap. Or it could be Mr. Higgs, a long dry Carthusian. If I made him climb onto the interferometer arm during the passage of a gravitational wave, he would elongate himself without stretching.

Bliss

Daniele, miner — Sovana (GR)

I always take the usual dirt road when I go to work by bike. No gears, no hand brakes, light coaster brake downhill. It’s so Zen, like the view of those hills that I stop to observe every time. In spring they are green, the volumes well defined, smooth. Despite that row of cypress trees above, they remind me of Bliss, the image of the Californian hills used for years as a background in Windows XP.

 

The mine where I work was set up in an ancient cellar dug into the tuff, near a geothermal spring. The mining rigs are embedded in the rock, using tunnel ventilation and passive cooling. We mine Ethereum with the classic method, using mostly renewable energy. But we’re also testing a scheme that will make this technology less and less resource-hungry.

 

When I say that I am a miner they think I work in Gavorrano, on the red metalliferous hills. In fact, I started to paint my hills with lysergic colors, so different from that green of the Napa Valley that you could see on every pc. I made them using only natural pigments extracted from plants and flowers that I find along the way home. Well, maybe this is just a little bit too Zen… but the landscape cannot be reduced to a simple background.

I dance alone

Antonio, collector — Poderi di Montemerano (GR)

Then I preferred this house as it was when I was a child, but my wife insisted a lot, because the extension of the central body and the renovation of the barn, which was the first studio I remember from my father, were designed by Bjarke Ingels. Do I like the result? Of course I like it, but I preferred it before.

 

In that barn, and perhaps for this very reason my wife wanted to put a hand in it, I lost my virginity. I still remember the smell of the materials, the chirping of crickets and Adele giving up her clothes at every step among the still-to-be-finished sculptures. Fortunately, I never told my wife who was the first girl I made love with, let’s say she’s a bit jealous, but we love each other.

 

At Poderi everyone knows the Del Poggio family, the old people remember my father’s oddities and others still remember and murmur about how much money he lost with his cards, but there was always some patron ready to pay off his debts in exchange for a few pieces.

 

The positive side is that I will finally be able to keep the whole collection of the “canovian” style plaster bustiers of my contemporary heroes and under the techno-barn I will be able to install the low temperature servers of my NFT collection, which actually I started collecting before people called them that.

 

When I started I used huge hard drives that make me laugh when I think about it; the size of a tome for the capacity of 256 Mb and today I can keep 4Tb in my pocket. I dropped the first of these hard drives during a move, they told me that I could no longer recover the data. Not much, only twenty-one thousand icons in png. Today that hard disk is sealed in a concrete block, a tribute from the artist Otto von Kerl, who, if he wasn’t a jerk, could be a champion.

 

Courtesy Antonio Guiotto

Luther

Eva and Franco, artists — Sticciano (GR)

In one of our first projects, in the 90s, we collected dozens of fragments of famous artworks exhibited in American and European museums. We went to the exhibitions with the stealth intent, of physical and not just conceptual appropriation. By evading the surveillance systems, we were able to detach filaments from the edge of a large canvas, or to subtract tiny details from the iconic installations.

 

This photo shows the relic of our last theft in 2009, in New York. At that time, the well-known lawsuit between the prince of thieves Richard Prince and the photographer Cariou was pending. A video was circulating online in which Prince set one of the offending canvases on fire, clearly a fake. During a visit to his studio, Prince showed us the remnants of that burnt canvas, scattered on a table waiting to be incorporated into a new work. One of the fragments accidentally ended up in Eva’s tote bag… it is still possible to distinguish the dreadlocks.

 

We return to Maremma almost every year in the summer, stopping often in Sticciano. We love small medieval churches, and for our contribution to Ummaremma we have thought of them as places for restitution: 24 of our art relics have been hidden inside as many churches scattered throughout the area. The places are not chosen at random: by marking them on a map with a point, and connecting the various points with a line, the inscription LUTHER is composed.

The Garden of the Incompiuto

Andrea and Giacomo, artists — Pescia Fiorentina (GR)

“Public architectures devoid of purpose and utility become monuments open to the imagination”. We wrote it in the manifesto of the Incompiuto, having in mind a different destiny for the great abandoned works. Function collapsed into pure form, the useless and the indefinite burst heavily as paradoxical symptoms of excessive utilitarian calculation. The imagination of power.

 

After mapping the numerous unfinished works in Italy for years, we have finally designed a new one. It will already arise as a ruin, it is inscribed in its constitutively partial, approximate project. It will not possess Scarpa’s studied harmony between concrete and natural elements: nature will be wild, like overbuilding. Like the Staccioli wall at the 1978 Biennale, an obstruction rather than a construction. A monument to an unsustainable contract, or a contract as a monument and triumph over any landscape constraint.

 

We’ll design a Garden of the Incomputo as a public work in progress and never finished, an approach to the future as pure suspension. In the green area adjacent to the Tarot Garden, inspired by Catalan modernism, 24 concrete artifacts of various sizes will be contracted out: open-air micro subdivisions, a pool without a bottom, pillars raised to nothingness, the skeleton of an amphitheater already devoured by vegetation. Visitors will be able to experience the expectation of a permanent change, of a petrified anterior future.

A tree that makes a sound doesn't fall

Elisa, photographer — Caldana (GR)

When I moved to Caldana years ago I began to see trees in a different way. I worked for a long time in architectural photography, before discovering my interest in the landscape. At the beginning they were personal projects, in which I investigated abandoned places that are slowly recaptured by the surrounding nature. Even the cemeteries, with their abundance of light and silence, are borderline architectures in which I recorded the passage of time, chased by cats.

 

The landscape I found in Maremma is a composition for trees and wind. The profile of a hill dotted with cypresses was the first photograph I put up for sale on a stock image platform. Since then, my photos have been among the most purchased in the world under the “tree” and “hill” categories, and this has become my main business. I found on the site of a resort on the twentieth floor of the Burj Khalifa my photo of a chestnut tree, taken along the climb towards the village of Caldana.

 

I am particularly attached to this photo with the cypresses. It belongs to my old project on silence and loneliness, in which I tackled the question of whether a tree falling in the forest makes a sound. The trees in the stock images are as if uprooted, they lose their note in the score of the landscape to find a place in improvisations and visual syncopes. They don’t fall, but they make sound.

 

Courtesy Elisa Caldana

The Sphere

Duccio, breeder — San Donato (GR)

This metal sphere is a complete mystery. On a Sunday afternoon I find it there, in the middle of the field. It weighs three and a half kilograms, it’s not full. Surely it didn’t rain from the sky – at least I don’t think it did. But it’s not something you can lose without realizing. And there’s no tractors passing by here. I keep it in the tool shed, sooner or later someone will show up.

 

The strange thing is that even in the middle of winter, when holding it in my hands, its surface remains warm. My wife thinks it fell off a military airplane, she read it on a forum on the internet where they speak of certain secret experiments that they do with drones to capture and register phone calls from people’s cellphones. I hardly believe it, it looks like a good story for conspiracy theorists, but there must be an explanation. If it were to be made from crystal, I could read the future through it, but it’s made of opaque metal. No, it didn’t arrive here to reveal who knows which story but to let me live with its mystery.

For its eyes only

Domitilla, researcher — Manciano (GR)

My dad was the country photographer, he would be called for weddings and parties also from other towns in the area. Essentially, he was an eyewitness of three generations. In addition to this, from the 1970s onwards he dedicated himself to a social photography project for which he portrayed thousands of inhabitants of the Maremma, in their houses or at work. I inherited his immense archive of images, which I have immediately scanned for my project.

 

I am a researcher in the field of machine learning and in the past two years I have been involved in the creation of images through neural networks. GAN are powered with large databases for them to learn how to create images less and less distinguishable from the ones in the archive.
For my project I am using my father’s collection of photographs, which is small if compared to other databases but very specific: it includes the faces, the gaze of people from Maremma of the past 50 years.

 

This generated image impressed me more than others: it reminds me a lot of my father, his eyes and especially his nose. I understand that there’s no base to speak about “typical” features and expressions of the Maremma but it’s like seeing all those faces that my father photographed. At his nose, which as a child told me a lot of stories.

Somewhere in between

David, artist — Spiaggia La Tagliata, Ansedonia (GR)

I often work on time conventions, space limits, the unknown. This is the reason I am attracted to beaches, the ocean and to time zones. In a project of mine from a few years ago, two videos shot simultaneously show a sunrise and a sunset in two places at the antipodes. I wanted to do something similar here in Maremma, and looking for a sunrise corresponding to sunset on Capalbio, after a while I found Vladivostok.

 

Between April and October 2021 daylight in Capalbio and Vladivostok will almost have the same duration and the hours of sunrise and sunset will match. It’s as if Capalbio was just a few kilometers from Vladivostok but what separates them are 9 time zones. A remarkable connection that I have also wanted to explore physically.

 

In Vladivostok there is a glass beach, like the ones in California, where the tides have slowly reduced and blunt large quantities of vitreous fragments. The photographs that I have seen look like enlargements of grains of sand, from which the idea of my project. I have asked someone to ship from Vladivostok a few grains of glass collected from the beach, which I have then pulverized and dispersed along a beach of Capalbio. I then took some sand in another area of Capalbio’s beach and with the help of a local artisan I realized few hundreds of colored glass grains. These will be sent to Vladivostok and scattered along the glass beach.

Don't panic

Martina, advisor — Montemerano (GR)

I’ve always loved the idea of exploring space and just like a lot of children I wanted to be an astronaut with an early passion for science fiction stories. I work for a communication and global advisoring agency, I am responsible for design fiction so in a way I ended up making stories myself. The agency had developed some prototypes for what has been the most spectacular commercial of a car: the launch in space of the Tesla Roadster in 2018. Guess who suggested to write those words “Don’t panic”!

 

I finally abandoned the idea of being an astronaut when I saw the explosion of the Challenger in 1986 on TV. On board there was also a teacher, in which I had clearly identified myself. The object I chose is linked to that story: it’s one of the O-rings used by the great physicist Richard Feynman, live on television, immersed in ice-cold water, to show the probable cause of the accident. A coup de théâtre which has made him famous to the general public.

 

I read about it in one of his autobiographies and later, searching casually on the internet, I found an ad on eBay of a guy in Florida who had put on sale two original O-rings. They probably are just forgeries however the idea of recovering that memory using a common ring made of rubber, as if it where a madeleine, was worth the purchase. After all I still have the passion for certain stories.

Fugazi

Romano, trader — Magliano in Toscana (GR)

I have been dealing with High Frequency Trading for 15 years, then I set up my own business working remotely from my farmhouse in Maremma. In the time of reading this story, my software completes on average about half a million micro transactions in Milan and Frankfurt.

 

When I try to explain what I do people believe that the process is completely automated, but it is in the choice of models that the creative side of the trader comes into play. And his instinct. It is often said that in finance there no longer is a method and that traders rely on Cabala or other ritual forms. In a way it’s true, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that I’m a discreet collector of tarot cards.

 

This series is a present from my wife, they have been designed by James Boyle and are steeped with the popular culture of Philadelphia, where I did my master’s. They’re obviously ironic and they help me a little to defuse the obsession for chaotic systems and the attempt to interpret them. My favorite card is the one of the Fool, here played by Phillie Phanatic, the baseball’s team mascot. Sometimes I would like to be less crazy, but the haruspex is the profession I have chosen, eheh!

Trinity

Lorena, geologist — Pescia Fiorentina

The company for which I work performs drilling for major works and infrastructure projects around the globe, I’m responsible for assessing the feasibility and environmental constraints. I have always been fascinated by the stratification, from the idea that the earth conserves a memory of surface events transcribing them on progressive layers. When we excavate a tunnel it’s a bit like travelling in time, in an imaginary between Verne and Wells.

 

Not everyone agrees with the definition of Antropocene as geological era but it’s a narrative that helps us consider our impact on the environment. The strangest object in my house is exemplary in this sense: it’s a fragment of trinitrite, it looks like a tongue twister however it’s a manmade mineral.

 

In 1945, during the first nuclear test in Alamogordo’s desert, the sand sucked by the explosion was first dissolved and then condensed into vitreous residue of a greenish color, still today slightly radioactive. I conserve it in a container made of lead and I can keep it between my hands no more than thirty minutes a day. It reminds me of how tangible is the responsibility we have and that our actions are often written in stone.

Les Anecdotiques

Luc, composer — Pomonte (GR)

Twenty years ago, in this specific area, I recorded a few sounds for some pieces I was composing. It was mostly about field recordings mixed with ambient noise and voices. At that time, I had a house in Arezzo, and I remember one summer when I spent a whole day on the highway between Florence and Siena collecting sound impressions. I call it anecdotal music as the result isn’t abstract like in most electronic music but has a more or less explicit narrative potential.

 

Now I live in Maremma, I’m working together with my wife at the composition for 24 voices, collected from the inhabitants of the area, that should give back the vitality of these places in the apparent calm of the landscape.

 

The object I chose was given to me by John Shepherd when I visited his studio while he was broadcasting songs of gamelan music in space. It is a marketed version of the Voyager Golden Record which contains the musical section of the sounds of the earth. The selection of music from all over the world lacks a reference to Italy, so I thought I could send these voices of Maremma into deep space: the noise of life, the stories which are told would perhaps be more understandable to a listening alien ear.

Maremma Maya

Annika, illustrator — Marsiliana (GR)

Immediately after the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence I decided to stay in Italy, moving here in Maremma. I specialized in the illustration of pre-Columbian symbols and mythologies, especially of the Aztecs and Maya. I spend my day in a beautiful vegetable garden that requires a lot of attention and numerous hours in front of a screen. I have an archive of approximately 20.000 files from where I take inspiration to elaborate the illustrations that I am commissioned by the publishing.

 

In the Mayan cosmogony everything is in constant motion, there are no immutable beings. Even the gods are subject to change, therefore imperfect, and need human creativity. We know that idols were worshiped as a representation of the gods, not as a direct manifestation of them. This aspect of sharing between human and divine has always fascinated me: sometimes I feel I can perceive this bond, through the sinuous landscape of the Maremma.

 

The illustration that I have chosen represents a god of the wind who, according to the myth, gifted mankind with the ability to love so that his feeling would be reciprocated by the woman of which he had fallen in love.