Cartography N°8

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South of France. From Milan to Rue des Trois Frères Carasso 3, once called Rue Jardin des Plantes, Marseilles. From my house to the address where Antonin Artaud was born, along the coast said to be azure, sleeping in the homes of artists who chose the California of Europe as the base for their work, livelihood and landscape. 531 kilometres, 330 miles, can be covered in a few hours, but the idea was to break our journey into many stages, to proceed in fits and starts, stopping off at Asger Jorn’s hideaway in Albissola, taking a rest at Le Corbusier’s seaside Cabanon, and sleeping in the home/studio of Anna-Eva Bergman and Hans Hartung in Antibes. An itinerary designed by joining the dots between a specific collection of homes…

South of Italy. Every day, my swims were preceded by a descent to the sea, secluded and silent. They say that the gods followed a path not far from here to get up to the Olympus. The same path from Agerola, in the Monti Lattari, to Positano, also seems to have led them straight to the archipelago of Li Galli. The corner of a table laid for lunch, white sheet on flowery sofas, buckets faded by the persistent sun. Never a human being, just footprints and portions of uneasiness hung upon branches of bougainvillea. Beyond the brief pine wood, the ground became as steep and uneven as can be. A zigzag of little steps marked the descent, bordered by juniper, holm-oak and tapestries of spider webs. There it was, the amphitheatre of rock and garrigue, of a brutal and archaic sweetness. And further out, the waves…

East and West. What has happened to the East that we cherished for generations? Is it buried under layers of “Westernism” that have disfigured and spoilt their civilizations? Or does something profoundly different remain between us? What are our true identities? They’re questions we’ve been asking for two thousand years. It’s not positive values on one side and negative ones on the other. A game of overturned mirrors, of manipulated images has been going on between us and them for two millennia. West and East form an idea of each other through contrast, which can sometimes be imaginary. The identity that we give to the Other, due to a quirk of history, at times really does contribute to the image that the Orientals have of themselves. But it’s a game where perhaps the roles are being flipped, and soon it will be the East that’s telling us who we were, and who we are.

In this issue Maria Abdulhamid, Jacques Attali, Stefano Boeri, Leonardo Caffo, Ariel Caine, Rodolphe Christin, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Emanuele Coccia, Davide Coppo, Forensic Architecture, William Kentridge, Anne Imhof, Massimo Morello, Massimo Pica Ciamarra, Valentina Pigmei, Federico Rampini, Gianfranco Rosi, Laura Taccari, Luca Trevisani, Vincenzo Trione.