Difficult Heritage in Italy
From colonialism to fascism and Genua G8
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT
What do the Nazi-fascist massacre of Sant’Anna di Stazzema and the murder of Carlo Giuliani during the G8 summit in Genoa have in common? What about the massacre of the monks of Debra Libanos in Ethiopia by the Italian fascist colonists and the bombing of the Bologna train station? Not to mention the Portella della Ginestra massacre and the victims of the ICMESA Seveso disaster.
The [DI]SCORDARE project actually combines in its name two antitethical discussion topics that our project wants to explore: on the one hand the people who have been opposing, being a discordant voice, not in accordance with the accepted or official Italian chronicles; on the other hand, the prevailing Italian habit of “forgetting”, cancelling or even hiding any collective trauma that have been defining the identity of the country since 1861.
The new-born Italian nation soon started the wars of colonial conquest that, though started in the liberal era, had their peak during the fascist era. As a matter of fact, Italian colonialism has not only brought death and destruction to different continents in the world but it has also contributed to the creation of a collective racist imagination that manifests itself today in a poisonous way throughout Europe. Undoubtedly, today’s racists in Italy are the nephews of the past Italian colonialists.
Since the twenties, Italy has been dominated by fascism, a fierce dictatorship, equal to Nazism, Francoism or Stalinism. The memory of those terrible moments is engraved in the stone of many architectures that still dominate the Italian landscape today. Most of the municipalities, in many regions of Italy, still recall the massacres and atrocities suffered during those painful times. This has formed some clear and visible images, linguistic expressions, sayings, bewildering habits and manifest violent aversion towards any form of “difference”.
In the seventies and then again in the eighties, Italy went through a series of massacres that have literally changed the face of the country. From the Piazza Fontana massacre in Milan to the one at Bologna train station, with many other equally serious and dramatic events in between. The so-called period of the “strategy of tension” has swept the legs of the country, preventing a true democratic development.
These awful massacres and violent struggles have been usually associated with governments, security apparatuses working behind the scenes and political groups sitting in the parliament.
In the midst of such appalling events, many “secondary” traumas like Portella della Ginestra or apparently non-political events like the ICMESA Seveso disaster, have always been covered up by an explicit political decision. So here we come to more recent traumas like the Genua G8 – Diaz massacre and the murder of Carlo Giuliani.
Can all these stories be classified as ” difficult legacies “? They have changed the identity of an entire country, Italy, converting removal , cancellation and forgetting mechanisms into a real public life philosophy. On the other hand, what is that part of population trying to remember and to achieve peace through memory actually doing today? How can a future of the past be envisioned then ?
Many voices are actually answering to these questions in Italy: museums, memorials, school camps, educational centers, but also young graphic journalists, songwriters, artists, performers and grassroots movements.
WHAT IS OUR GOAL
We want to create a website that keeps the debate open on such topics, making the memory of these stories alive, without considering the past, but focusing on today’s Italy, oftentimes racist, indifferent and not aware of its own essence. Our aim is therefore to produce micro-documentaries by stopping over these sites of remembrance , talking to people , and visiting museums , memorials and parks that communities have built and struggled to keep alive over the years.
The documentaries, freely available online, will be realized by Isabella Gaffè: Videomaker and by Viviana Gravano: art historian, curator, difficult heritage and postcolonial studies expert and will occasionally involve artists, researchers, theoreticians and activists.
They will be a day-by-day chronicle of a long journey that will make us see with our own eyes what “discordant” Italy usually does to keep on remembering and producing ideas…
The web portal will also be a way to bring information on initiatives, publications, articles that talk about the topics we will deal with. It will be an open space for artists, theorists and activists who want to contribute by reporting links that will be included in the portal itself.
Keeping the memory alive does not only mean reviewing the past but first and foremost reading the present in all its cracks, falls and dangerous returns.
That is why the portal will not only speak of what has been, but chiefly of what “it is” or what “could be” to a greater extent.
We will ask for help from non-Italian contributors as well, since today’s Italy is under close scrutiny by many artists and scholars from all over the world , therefore, it seems relevant to both mention and reveal any form of reflection or initiative focusing on the issues we are dealing with, through the eyes of non italian citizens .
WHY WE ASK FOR DONATIONS:
[DI] SCORDARE does not want to have any kind of public funding that may in any way condition its freedom of expression from the very start. The project does not intend to relate to any institutional or academic organism since its ambition is to be a territory that crosses all realities without boundaries or distinctions.
As a consequence, we have thought of a grassroots funding so as to pay travel expenses, video production equipment and website building costs.
We’re going to make at least 16 stops in Italy: even though the journey throughout the country, from Bolzano to Palermo, has already begun and self-financed, we will however need your precious help in order to continue and complete the project. We also thought that this site, without being presumptuous, could become a major asset for many people and therefore it would be fair to start a grassroots funding among the citizens who believe that these things are still critical, actually the greatest bet on the future of Italy.
NO PERK BUT THANKS INSTEAD
We’ve thought a lot about the idea of creating ad hoc perks for the project but then we told ourselves that this site talks so much about important things that we didn’t feel like creating some “pop” pages, gadgets or even items to give away. Everyone can contribute and receive our special GRATITUDE; as a matter of fact the site itself will have a fixed page with the names of all the people that helped us building it.
Of course there will be a Facebook page where every contributor will be thanked too.
Above all, if you help us you will be part of a shared project that will be yours too .
HOW WE WILL USE YOUR DONATIONS
For transparency, we indicate below what your donations will be used for:
1. Graphic Designer to realize the logo and the coordinated image of the project
2. Web Designer to create the Website, ie the entire platform
3. Travel around Italy to carry out the project (transport, meals, lodging, museum tickets, etc.)
4. Materials for producing audio and video production of documentaries
5. Social Media manager to talk about the portal on the web and on social media
6. Fee for special projects with artists (visual artist and performers).
FOR ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DONATION PLEASE CONTACT US
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org