What is the connection between forgettfulness and gentrification? How does the cities of Milano and Oslo relate to this? Watch the movie and find out.
Camilla Topuntoli, artist, photographer and film-maker
“Damnatio Memoriae, architecture of forgetfulness and gentrification, Milano-Oslo”
Two years ago I started to explore the concept of documentary with a critical and personal point of view, ending by producing the movie: “Damnatio Memoriae, architecture of forgetfulness and gentrification, Milano-Oslo” looking at the development of culture and business in order to reveal features of gentrification.
Memory builds the autobiography of individual and of collective memory, we are what we remember. That is attributable to the alienation of contemporary architecture and the fact that it is without memory. The architecture that erases the memory of the environment seems to use the same ancient divine punishment (damnatio memoriae), a practice that seems to occur mainly during the processes of gentrification as a tool for economic and social regeneration of urban areas. The physical or material space and the social space in a city are tightly knit together.
The gentrification process is highly visible in the area of the city where it is taking place: there is a structural change of the landscape; the architecture and exterior of the landscape changes. As the landscape changes the segregation accelerates, we start talking about “us and them”, the hint of danger is important in maintaining the authenticity of the area, but only up to the point where there is no actual contact between the “revitalizers” and the “revitalized :The piazza, the gallery and the fancy menu become the weapons that the cafe latte drinkers use in their overtaking of the city. The values and the interests, which are articulated in this new urban landscape is above all the values and the interests of the middle-class: Today’s upscale architecture are full of invisible signs warning off the underclass the “Others.”
My entirely process has the intent of analysing the urgency of environmental issues. Such issues have been debated, misunderstood and often manipulated by an empty productivism which has lost any purpose except that of mere profit and political power; the environment now seems to be the first among the concerns of our time.
The so-called relationship between man and nature can no longer be conceived as a hierarchical dependency; furthermore the anthropocentric attitude has long shown its weaknesses. The displacement of urban green space, which we witness daily by living in the city, is a direct result of economical speculation within the building market and has long been subjected to gentrification and to capitalist-placement policies that directly undermine the social character of this neighbourhood (increasingly deprived of diverse and shared areas, like parks and gardens), and threaten the very foundations of the basic right of 'urban living. The need to customize these themes to the specific urban environment, leads me to reflect upon the relationship between environment, territory and society.
Born in (1989) Milano, Italy, she now works and studies in Göteborg. She received her honours degree in Visual Arts and curatorial studies from NABA (New Academy of fine Arts Milano) and currently attending a second master, in film-making process at Valand Academy, Göteborg.
She recently, as a member of Isola Art center, partecipates and co-curates the exhibition "Utopian city at bolševička", Riga, during the 6th survival kit and the exhibition "utopian pulse, flares in the darkroom", at Vienna secession.