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)

Read the stories — more to come, stay tuned!

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.