2014 American Association for Italian Studies Annual Conference, Zurich

American Association for Italian Studies Annual Conference, Zurich, May 23-25, 2014
The IAS hosted three two-part sessions at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Association of Italian Studies.

Maestri ticinesi, magistri grigioni: Swiss-Italian Architects and Craftsmen in Early Modern Europe I: Architects
Friday, May 23, 2014, 3:30-4:45 PM, KO2-F-173
Organizer & Chair: Susan Klaiber, Independent Scholar, Winterthur

[expand title=”Domenico Fontana’s Trasportatione dell´obelisco vaticano – the prototype of a new genre of architectural literature
Nadja Horsch, Universität Leipzig” trigclass=”arrowright”]

My paper will take a closer look at Domenico Fontana’s Della Trasportatione dell’Obelisco Vaticano et delle Fabriche di Nostro Signore Papa Sisto V (Rome, 1590), focusing on the book’s typology and representational functions. The Trasportatione is a book on architecture, but not on architectural theory; it is not a “vita” (although large parts of it were incorporated by Bellori in his “Vite”), and it is not only the (albeit fascinating) account of moving the obelisk. It is a monumental and prestigious monograph – written and probably also designed by the architect himself. As such, it was the prototype a new and successful genre of architectural literature to which belong publications as Borromini’s Opera and Opus architectonicum, Schinkel’s Sammlung architektonischer Entwürfe or Wright’s Wasmuth Portfolio.

As suggested by the title, Fontana’s book takes part in the complex propaganda machinery ideated by the Peretti pope and his circle to celebrate the papal architectural and urbanistic enterprises as “opere buone” and the creation of a new, truly Christian “Roma felix.” The Trasportatione was one of the first projects of the newly founded Typographia Vaticana, and emerged from a close collaboration with the head of the papal painting equipe, Giovanni Guerra.

At the same time, the book is one of the principal vehicles of Fontana’s fama. Unlike his probable model, Andrea Palladio, who had inserted his own projects as exempla in the larger context of an architectural theory, Fontana presents an immediate and impressive visual “document” of his matchless – and model – career, starting with the “coup de théatre”, the obelisk’s translation, and consequently interweaving his own performances with the pope’s enterprises. This strategy can be traced also in a frescoed frieze in Fontana’s house showing his (and Sixtus’s) Roman buildings, and finally in the design of the papal catafalque.[/expand]

[expand title=”Imported versus local tradition: the example of Bohemia
Madleine Skarda, Universität Zürich” trigclass=”arrowright”]The Czech art historian Pavel Preiss pointed out how small the region was from which Italian artists came to the Bohemian kingdom. Writing about the artisti dei laghi, Preiss’s aim was to give a synthetic overview of all Swiss or Lombard artists working in the kingdom from the Renaissance to the Baroque period.

One might expect that these migrant artists would bring the Renaissance style to Bohemia. However, the windows of the Vladislaus Hall give evidence that there was an attempt to deal with the new fashion before the Welsch (i.e. foreigners) came. The first Italians came to Prague when the Hapsburg dynasty gains the Bohemian throne. Thus, in the beginning, the foreigners are strongly linked to the monarchy and to the Catholic church. Studying Bohemia in the period of the Renaissance and beyond , one cannot neglect the impact that the deep political, religious and social changes coming along after the Bohemian Reformation have on land, culture, society and arts. Architectural style must be seen as a visual demonstration of power, loyalty, soon also legitimacy, identity and the affiliation to true faith.

Around 1600, ecclesiastic buildings start to show Gothic forms. The surprising aspect of this Gothic survival/revival is that not local architects, but the artists from the laghi pick up the medieval tradition. With Jan Blažej Santini Aichel, a third generation Italian architect born in Prague, this trend will reach its climax with perfect harmony between imported and local traditions.

This paper takes Preiss’s excellent study as a point of departure, and seeks to show that cultural exchange works either way: while the first generation of migrant artists establishes the new style in Bohemia, the next will come under the influence of local traditions and start using them as a source of inspiration.[/expand]

[expand title=”Un sodalizio “ticinese” nella Roma del Settecento: i rapporti di committenza tra Livio Odescalchi e Carlo Buratti
Maria Gabriella Pezone, Seconda Università di Napoli” trigclass=”arrowright”]L’opera architettonica romana di Carlo Buratti (1651-1734) è fortemente segnata dalle sue origini ticinesi (egli era nato a Novazzano). Anzi, a dire il vero, la sua provenienza geografica è il nucleo fondante intorno al quale si vengono ad aggregare i tre aspetti più importanti della sua attività. Il rapporto di discepolato con Carlo Fontana al quale era legato da rapporti di parentela, le prime relazioni di committenza con Livio Odescalchi e la perfetta organizzazione tecnica che egli seppe conferire ai suoi cantieri, avvalendosi di maestranze lombardo-ticinesi, sono eventi strettamente connessi tra loro che ruotano tutti proprio intorno all’origine lombardo-ticinese.

Livio Odescalchi fu il primo committente romano di Carlo Buratti. Esponente di una famiglia di ricchi banchieri comaschi, si trasferì a Roma in seguito all’elezione di suo zio Innocenzo XI al soglio pontificio. Soffermandosi su alcuni lavori progettati e diretti da Buratti nel primo Settecento per l’Odescalchi (la villa sulla via Flaminia a Roma, le opere a Bracciano e a Vetralla) il contributo cercherà di far emergere il forte spirito di appartenenza che contraddistinse il loro rapporto di committenza esclusivo. D’altro canto, è ormai un dato acquisito dalla critica il forte legame di solidarietà tra committenti, artefici e maestranze provenienti dalla zona dei laghi lombardi nella Roma del Settecento. È possibile ravvisare questo legame anche nei cantieri promossi dal principe Odescalchi dove Carlo Buratti diresse artefici proprio di origine lombardo-ticinese. In questi cantieri, finanziati da un committente di origine comasca e diretti da un architetto di origini ticinesi, è possibile documentare maestranze della stessa provenienza geografica, Giacomo Pozzi «figlio di Angelo da Coldrè, Diocesi di Como», il mastro Benedetto Rossi, che nei documenti è detto «figlio del quondam Andrea da Alburo, diocesi di Milano» e il mastro fabbricatore Giovan Battista Fontana.[/expand]

Maestri ticinesi, magistri grigioni: Swiss-Italian Architects and Craftsmen in Early Modern Europe II: Craftsmen
Friday, May 23, 2014, 5:00-6:15 PM, KO2-F-173
Organizer: Susan Klaiber, Independent Scholar, Winterthur
Chair: Nadja Horsch

[expand title=”Maestri ticinesi nel cantiere della reggia di Venaria Reale (1660-1713). Competenze professionali, mestieri, organizzazione del cantiere
Mauro Volpiano, Politecnico di Torino” trigclass=”arrowright”]Sebbene studiata a più riprese sotto il profilo generale del cantiere artistico e architettonico, manca ancora oggi una valutazione generale del peso, anche quantitativo, delle maestranze ticinesi nel più importante cantiere delle residenze sabaude nel corso del Seicento, quello di Venaria Reale. L’intervento si propone di sintetizzare le tipologie di competenze professionali, le conoscenze tecniche dei ticinesi, le modalità di intervento negli anni dei cantieri degli architetti Amedeo di Castellamonte e Michelangelo Garove. Quest’ultimo, in particolare, nato a Chieri ma di famiglia luganese (originaria di Campione), conduce, come è noto, il cantiere dal 1699 al 1713. Se il progetto di Garove era già stato discusso da Brinckmann (e poi da Richard Pommer), anche nei suoi rapporti con la corte francese e l’atelier De Cotte, il cantiere è stato studiato analiticamente solo in anni più recenti e non tutte le notizie emerse nel corso dei recenti interventi di restauro sono state vagliate e discusse anche con un profilo comparativo rispetto alle diverse fasi del cantiere di Venaria e rispetto ad altri cantieri di corte (su Garove in ultimo Castiglioni 2010 e Cornaglia 2010, ed.). La mia proposta ha come obiettivo di valutare il peso della presenza dei ticinesi nel primo mezzo secolo di questo grande cantiere (prima dell’arrivo di Juvarra nel 1714 a Torino e nel 1716 a Venaria), le professioni svolte, il rapporto con l’organizzazione anche amministrativa del cantiere sabaudo; si farà riferimento sia a fonti documentarie archivistiche, sia agli esiti dell’attività di ricerca scientifica condotta a latere del cantiere di restauro di questi ultimi anni.[/expand]

[expand title=”From Ticino to Lithuania: materials and techniques of stucco decoration
Giovanni Cavallo, Giacinta Jean, Stefania Luppichini, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI)” trigclass=”arrowright”]From the middle of the 16th to the beginning of the 18th century, many Swiss architects and artists actively worked in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, leaving their traces in different churches. This paper will discuss the influence that artists coming from villages of the Italian-speaking Canton Ticino, so well-known for its stucco tradition, had in the art of stucco making in Lithuania, bringing with them artistic skills and technical virtuosity.

This study is a first attempt to compare the materials and techniques used in the two countries for decorative plasterwork on the evidence of technical and scientific analysis. The analysis was conducted on samples of stucco taken from the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Morbio Inferiore (stucco decoration from late 16th century – 1671 by Francesco and Agostino Silva); the vaults of the chapter room and the corridor in front of the sacristy in the monastery of Pažaislis (stucco decoration of 1673-1676 by Giovanni Merli); and from the baptismal chapel in the church of SS. Peter and Paul in Vilnius (stucco decoration of 1677-1682 by Giovanni Pietro Perti). The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli was chosen because, according to Mariusz Karpowicz (Artisti ticinesi in Polonia nel ‘600, Bellinzona 1983, p. 154), there are strong relationships between this building, the works of Giovanni Pietro Perti and those of Agostino Silva.

This study allowed us to compare the techniques of stucco making in the two countries with particular emphasis on the stratigraphic sequence, on characteristics of materials, on the relationship between materials used and stylistic and formal requirements, and on the correlation between historic documentation and analytical evidence. The work was carried out by an interdisciplinary team, composed of a geologist, an architectural historian and a conservator-restorer, and this interdisciplinarity was crucial to cover the different aspects of the research.[/expand]

[expand title=”Building on Beard: maestri ticinesi in eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland, 
Christine Casey, Trinity College, Dublin” trigclass=”arrowright”]This paper builds on the seminal research of Geoffrey Beard by extending current knowledge of Ticinese craftsmen and their interaction with architects in Britain and Ireland and is the product of advanced research for a Yale University Press monograph. A team of craftsmen led by Giuseppe Artari worked initially in Germany and the Low Countries before identifying a burgeoning new market in the British Isles. From c.1710 to c.1760 they dominated the production of architectural and figurative stucco decoration working both with European and British architects. Their work in Britain differs in several significant ways from their productions in Europe, not least in the relationship of stucco and painting and in the larger input of stuccatori to interior schemes. A rich collection of surviving drawings throws light on their working relationship with architects such as James Gibbs and Richard Castle and raises questions about the impact of Palladian taste on the stuccatori. Contrasting the work of the maestri in Ticino with that in Britain raises further questions about the social perception of ornament in the period.

The paper will firstly outline the composition of the British squadra, providing new biographical information and illuminating the networks that formed and sustained the group. A number of key projects in Germany and Belgium will be illustrated and discussed to provide the context for their British sojourn. In England attention will focus on a few key works by the principal masters in the group, Giuseppe Artari, Francesco Antonio Vassalli and Giuseppe Cortese and in Ireland on the principal project of the Lafranchini brothers. Drawings by Artari and the Lafranchini will be used to discuss their relationship with architects and the stuccowork of Francesco Antonio Vassalli in England and Ticino will be compared.[/expand]

Photography and Power I
Saturday, May 24, 2:15-3:30 PM, KOL-H-321
Organizers: Marco Andreani, Macula, Centro Internazionale di Cultura Fotografica and Marco Purpura, Balthazar, Polo di Studi sul Cinema
Chair: Marco Andreani

[expand title=”Frontal Portrait: Psychiatric Photography, Gender, and the Quest for National Identity in Fin-de-Siècle Italy.Nicoletta Pazzaglia, University of Oregon” trigclass=”arrowright”]The advent of photography in the nineteenth century became a powerful instrument in the hands of psychiatrists. Photography was used as a scientific tool to attest to the existence of mental illness. The emphasis on facial expression was functional to create a direct link to brain alterations and consequently to the origin of madness. In this essay, I aim to further explore the operation of power that lay beyond the photographic frame. To do so, I will start my analysis by considering the frame itself- frontal portrait- and contextualize the study of psychiatric photography inside a more general study of portraiture. Through a parallel analysis of psychiatric portraits of patients from the San Servolo, San Clemente and Reggio Emilia asylums and the Alinari brothers’ portraits of Italian bourgeois people, I will show how photographs of patients were used to affirm an idea of Italianità that was still in search of definition in the new-born nation. For my analysis I will investigate clothing, hair, mise-en-scèneand lighting. I will show how the notion of Italianità was also deeply rooted in gender identity. In photographic portraits of patients, the wearing of uniform clothing, and in some cases the shaving of the head, reflect the very real suppression of inmates’ gender identities. I argue that through the asexualization of patients’ body these photographs were used to affirm, by negation, the existence of gender roles. Consequently they were used to reinforce heterosexual normativity. The importance of this study is a first consideration of how the body of the mentally ill was employed by the nation-state in the quest to create a national identity. Despite the large amount of studies concerning the exclusion of minorities in the project of nation-making, the mentally ill have been very rarely addressed in Italian studies. Further, the aim of this essay is to show the material violence that was inflicted on the body of the mentally ill. Violence, at the service of the Italian state, operated not only through practices of forced confinement but also through the repression of sexuality.[/expand]

[expand title=”Rappresentare gli strumenti del potere: foto-ritratti di mappe
Tania Rossetto, Università di Padova” trigclass=”arrowright”]La relazione affronta una tipologia di immagini fotografiche ascrivibile, secondo un’espressione di W.J.T. Mitchell, alla categoria ‘pictures about pictures’. Si propone qui, infatti, una riflessione sulla carta geografica come soggetto fotografico. La relazione intende evidenziare come l’atto fotografico tenda ad enfatizzare l’associazione tra questo oggetto (tipicamente usato in contesti di controllo, sanzione, predittività, autoritarismo, impartizione) e la manifestazione di molteplici forme di potere. Ciò, in particolare, attraverso l’ambientazione della mappa in interni o esterni (l’aula scolastica, l’ufficio di polizia, gli allestimenti della propaganda, ecc.) che concorrono a connotare la sua funzione di strumento del potere. Il framing fotografico, dunque, costituisce una modalità tipica attraverso la quale la mappa viene contestualizzata e il suo discorso attivato. Gli esempi di foto-ritratti di mappe saranno per lo più legati all’ambito culturale italiano.

La relazione, tuttavia, accogliendo le recenti tendenze ‘post-rappresentazionali’ nell’ambito dei map studies di matrice anglosassone, vuole anche mettere in discussione questa univoca interpretazione della mappa come strumento del potere. I diversi atteggiamenti/modi con cui si fotografano le mappe nei loro contesti d’uso sono in questo senso estremamenti rivelatori. La fotografia degli operatori del Luce, quella del neorealismo o quella autoriale contemporanea (Luigi Ghirri in primis) propongono diversi ritratti di mappe e al contempo diverse percezioni del loro asservimento al ‘discorso del potere’.[/expand]

[expand title=”The Photography of Power and the Power of Photography.  The Images in Leo Longanesi’s L’Italiano (1926-1939)
Giuliana Minghelli, Harvard University” trigclass=”arrowright”]

Italian photography in the Thirties and the emergence of a new realist style are often coupled with the name of Leo Longanesi. Photography occupied an important and distinctive space in all of Longanesi’s publications, from the journal L’Italiano (1926-1939), to the weekly Omnibus (1937-1939) and the post-war magazine Il Borghese. Focusing on L’Italiano, this essay will explore the double power Longanesi grants to photography: to reveal what the eye cannot yet fully see—the reality of Fascist Italy—and to satirize and liquidate what the eye cannot see any longer—the persistence of old images, the icons of a “bourgeois” past. Photography plays a complex role for Longanesi (editor, writer, graphic artist, political commentator). As the essay argues, photography not only helps him articulate a new visual aesthetic, but a specific editorial format, and a new aphoristic writing style which relies on figures of juxtaposition, fragmentation, inversion and understatement inspired by the language of the modern medium.

Longanesi’s use of photography brings to the fore an ambiguous relation with power. No image of Mussolini and nearly no image of Fascism appear on the pages of L’Italiano Periodico della rivoluzione fascista. In line with the ideology of Mino Maccari’s Strapaese, photography bypasses the rhetoric of Fascist officialdom, romanity and modernity—what Italy should be—in search of the reality of “what is”—the Italian provinces, the peasants, tradition. Yet the Italy depicted in these images reveals the all-pervasive presence of a political power that dictates the camera’s focus, perspective, framing, close-up. Longanesi’s photography lives in the interstices of Fascism. Occhio di vetro (glass eye) is the title of a column regularly written by Longanesi. While obviously referring to the mechanical tool of vision, the title suggests as well a blind prosthesis, a tool enforcing an inescapable, built-in censorship. [/expand]

Photography and Power II
Saturday, May 24, 2:15-3:30 PM, KOL-H-321
Organizers: Marco Andreani, Macula, Centro Internazionale di Cultura Fotografica and Marco Purpura, Balthazar, Polo di Studi sul Cinema
Chair: Marco Purpura

[expand title=”Redeeming Italy: Photography and Power at the First Roman Biennial, 1921
Lindsay Harris, American Academy in Rome” trigclass=”arrowright”]As an outcome of the First World War, Italy annexed several territories long perceived by the country’s intellectual elite as part of the Italian nation, including Trieste, Gorizia, Istria, and Trentino-Alto Adige. Not all of Italy’s territorial claims were met, however, prompting a resurgence of nationalist zeal to conquer additional contested areas, known as Italia irredenta, or “unredeemed Italy.” As Benito Mussolini’s Fascist party gained momentum and eventually came to power in 1922, Italian irredentism flourished, culminating in the ruthless battle for the northeastern city of Fiume, which Italy seized in 1924.   It was against this backdrop that the Associazione Artistica fra i Cultori di Architettura organized a small yet potent exhibition of photography at the First Roman Biennial in 1921, held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Rome as Italy’s capital. Taken by Countess Maria Pasolini Ponti, a leading member of the Associazione Artistica along with architects Gustavo Giovannoni and Marcello Piacentini, the photographs represented so-called “minor” architecture in Rome, or non-monumental buildings such as urban residences, suburban villas, and local churches. Pasolini’s photographs were shown alongside drawings of vernacular buildings in other regions of Italy, including areas near Fiume before its annexation, as well as tapestries and hand-crafted furnishings that made plain the commonalities among Italy’s native traditions. This multi-media exhibition aimed to demonstrate the affinities that bound people of Italian culture across the peninsula and islands and provide visual evidence, as it were, for the seizure of these regions by the Italian state. Pasolini’s documentation of “minor” buildings in Rome showed the centrality of the nation’s capital to both Italian culture and the government’s territorial claims of the day. Although records of the exhibition all but ignore her participation, close analysis of Pasolini’s images reveals that her work exemplifies the critical role photography played in asserting political power and nationalist ideology in Italy on the brink of the Fascist ventennio.[/expand]

[expand title=”Il potere della fotografia sub-specie bellica
Erica Grossi, Università di Palermo” trigclass=”arrowright”]

Il discorso politico del Novecento non può che essere un discorso estetico [Lukács], ovvero che tenga conto dell’incredibile congiuntura di «attimi pericolosi» [Jünger] nei quali l’individuo   contemporaneo   è   messo   alla   prova   sia   sul   piano   delle   possibilità dell’esperienza, sia su quello delle condizioni di testimonianza del suo essere nel mondo. Il «potere e la sopravvivenza» [Canetti] si impongono, infatti, come concetti-limite dentro i quali le popolazioni europee del nuovo secolo – secolo di conflitti totali [Patočka – Hobsbawn] – sono chiamate a fare i conti in una realtà sempre più frammentata e esperita attraverso la mediazione di dispositivi da cui gli stessi processi antropologici, sociali e culturali vengono di fatto influenzati. Fotografia e XX secolo stabiliscono così, dinamiche etico-estetiche di superamento della «povertà dell’esperienza» [Benjamin] che trovano una peculiare condizione di possibilità nella conquista della visibilità tanto della realtà quanto del soggetto, e che raggiunge una configurazione paradigmatica nello spazio visuale sul fronte della Grande Guerra. Uno spazio che si fa «regime scopico» [Jay] e nel quale si producono sub specie bellica pratiche di potere e sperimentazioni visuali delle moderne Techniques of the Observer meccanizzate [Crary] in grado di costruire un’immagine e un racconto genealogico della contemporanea «estetizzazione della politica» [Benjamin] italiana la cui eco si propaga ancora negli anni ’20 e ’30 del secolo e del ventennio fascista. Partendo dal caso specifico della proliferazione fotografica sul fronte esteso e estetico della Grande Guerra in Italia, proviamo a proporne una riabilitazione critica che, smontando e rimontando l’esposto ideologico della fotografia, suggerisca, invece, il grado di «emancipazione dello spettatore» [Rancière] sia sul piano dell’antropologia della presenza di sé nel gesto fotografico sia su quello della storicità dell’invisibile come icona materiale del potere dell’immagine e della politicizzazione della tecnica nella cultura visuale italiana primo-novecentesca.[/expand]

[expand title=”Photography and Materiality in Italy in the 1960s and 70s: Mario Cresci’s Work Between Urban Activism and Participatory Planning
Nicoletta Leonardi, University of California EAP Florence” trigclass=”arrowright”]

During the 1960s and 70s, on the wake of social and political activism, several Italian artists based their work upon a multi sensory approach to photographs conceived not just as representations, but as material objects and social agents that act upon reality producing effects. Mario Cresci was one of these artists, and the peculiarity of his contribution lies in the work he did as a member of the cross-disciplinary collective Il Politecnico. Composed of Cresci himself, along with architects and urbanists, a sociologist and a local historian, the collective was hired by local authorities in 1966 to draw the master plans of two cities in Basilicata, a rural area in southern Italy strongly hit by emigration. Based on participatory urban planning and practices of active citizenship, the master plans were commissioned in response to the disastrous effects of the modernist and rationalist urban planning ‘from above’ applied in Matera during the 1950s.

Cresci, who was trained as a graphic and product designer, defined himself as an ‘artistic operator’ directly intervening upon reality, acting within complex networks of relations among people, animals and objects. Distancing himself from the sentimentalist and aestheticising nostalgia of the Italian rural south typical of the work of photographers such as Cartier-Bresson, Cresci used his own photographs, as well as family photographs of sorts, as means to displace the notion of power as something that comes from above, and to trace models of sociability strongly related to the local identity of places and people. Though a constant dialogue among Cresci and the other members of Il Politecnico, photographs conceived as material objects with their social biographies were fully integrated into urban planning as research tools and as means of communication, as a way of encouraging historical awareness, building community identity, improving local economy, encouraging local craft.[/expand]

Photography and Writing: from Illustrated Novels to Weekly Magazines I
Sunday, May 25, 4:00-5:15 PM, KOL-G-220
Organizers: Pasquale Verdicchio, University of California San Diego and Nicoletta Pazzaglia, University of Oregon
Chair: Nicoletta Pazzaglia

[expand title=”The US, Italy, and “Photographic Books”: national influence in Paul Strand and Cesare Zavattini’s «Un paese» (1955)
Liz Shannon, Bass Museum of Art” trigclass=”arrowright”]

In 1955 the Italian publishing house Einaudi released Un paese, a photobook with images by the American photographer Paul Strand and text by the Italian writer Cesare Zavattini. This paper examines the significance of the photobook form in postwar America and Italy, and analyses to what extent these ‘national influences’ are exhibited in the pages of Un paese.

Although there were Italian photo-texts, and Zavattini made several attempts to establish his Italia mia series of photobooks (of which Un paese was the first and last), this paper argues that Un paese encapsulates a predominantly American approach to the form, as expressed by Strand’s friend, the arts writer Elizabeth McCausland, in her text ‘Photographic Books’ (1942). McCausland’s article promotes the combination, and equal weighting, of text and image in the photobook as the optimum means of communicating a political message to the masses. By adopting this stance, McCausland was reflecting the socio-political cultural preoccupations of New York City’s Popular Front during the 1930s, in which both she and Strand were heavily involved. Moreover, Strand and Zavattini’s correspondence reveals that Un paese was self-consciously structured to operate as a vehicle for the transmission of a political message. Nevertheless, Un paese’s connection with a specifically American approach to the photobook form does not undermine the significance of Zavattini’s contribution to the publication; for instance in terms of the unusually direct and immediate connection exhibited by the relationship between the publication’s text and images, particularly in comparison with the five other photobooks that Strand produced.

Finally, this paper touches upon the conflict between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture in the production of Un paese, specifically in terms of the ultimately unsuccessful negotiation between Strand’s insistence on high photographic production values and both authors’ concomitant desire that the book reach as large an audience as possible. [/expand]

[expand title=”Fotografia e divulgazione: foto-libri, riviste e supplementi illustrati nell’Italia degli Cinquanta e Sessanta
Marco Andreani, Macula, Centro Internazionale di Cultura Fotografica” trigclass=”arrowright”]

Tra il 1952 e il 1962, in Italia, le vendite complessive di rotocalchi illustrati salgono da 12.600.000 a 15.750.000 di copie vendute alla settimana. Nell’arco di cinque anni, dal 1950 al 1955, le tirature di riviste come Epoca e Tempo passano rispettivamente da 200.000 a 500.000 copie, e da 150.000 a 420.000 copie. In particolare, di fronte a una domanda sempre più pressante di giornalismo per immagini da parte del grande pubblico, gli anni Cinquanta vedono la nascita e la diffusione dei “documentari fotografici” – dedicati all’attualità, ai viaggi, ai paesi lontani, alla divulgazione scientifica, storica e artistica -, pubblicati spesso dalle principali riviste illustrate come inserti da staccare e raccogliere o come volumi in edizione speciale. Nel 1950, ad esempio, esce il primo supplemento annuale della collana “I documentari di Tempo”, che proseguirà fino al 1964, dal titolo 50 anni di vita italiana : 1900-1950: un foto-libro di 200 pagine in grande formato, illustrato con più di 1000 fotografie tra le 10.000 raccolte dai curatori, Arturo Tofanelli e Federico Patellani. Analogamente, tra il 1959 e il 1967, escono tra le altre le collane “I grandi documentari di Epoca” (Dieci anni della nostra vita, Viaggio nell’India favolosa, L’Italia meravigliosa,Le meraviglie del mondo ecc.) e “I documenti fotografici de L’Europeo” (La guerra in italia e Vent’anni d’Europa, con le fotografie dei più grandi reporter del mondo e degli inviati di Life). Caratteristica principale di queste e numerose altre pubblicazioni simili, è l’assoluta predominanza delle immagini fotografiche (proveniente da svariate agenzie e archivi pubblici e privati, nazionali e internazionali) sui testi scritti.

Come scrive Nello Ajello, queste iniziative editoriali “assumono una funzione essenziale nel quadro dell’informazione illustrata” di questo periodo. L’intervento intende dunque portare l’attenzione su questo materiale per riflettere sul ruolo svolto dalla fotografia – intesa nella sua valenza documentaria e di linguaggio non codificato comprensibile a chiunque – sia nei processi di democratizzazione e diffusione della cultura in atto in Italia a partire dal dopoguerra, sia come antidoto nei confronti di un sistema informativo caratterizzato da una forte ingerenza del potere politico, in un contesto nazionale e internazionale dominato da aspre contrapposizioni ideologiche. Si vedrà come, non a caso, uno dei protagonisti di queste iniziative editoriali sia Enzo Biagi, una delle firme più prestigiose e popolari del giornalismo italiano, direttore di Epoca tra il 1952 e il 1960. Amatissimo dal grande pubblico per il suo stile semplice e diretto ed estremamente allergico a qualunque forma di pressione politica (la sua carriera sarà per questo fin dall’inizio costellata di espulsioni da testate giornalistiche e televisive), Biagi troverà significativamente nella fotografia un mezzo di comunicazione congeniale.[/expand]

[expand title=”The Narrative Scheme of the Romantic Fotonovela. Dal romanzo al reportage: Federico de Roberto e la fotografia
Carlos R. de Souza, University of Texas” trigclass=”arrowright”]This is a study of a genre of mass-art called fotonovela, from its birth in 1947 in Italy to its disappearance around 1984, based on a sample of 1,320 stories published in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico and using the Argentinean fotonovela industry as a case study. The romantic fotonovela helped to disseminate personal and social notions and stereotypes of moral and sentimental propriety on a transnational scale, while creating a language of visual storytelling that is unique, under-studied, and rapidly being forgotten.

The composite meaning of the word foto-novela, referring to a medium d a literary genre, however, prefigures the difficulty in positing it as a unified object. Romantic fotonovelas weretales of the heroine’s pursuit of love prevailing over social, moral and other types of obstacles that could be summarized under the narrative scheme: 1) stability without love, 2) finding love and along with it the obstacles for its realization, 3) working out the difficulty, and 4) satisfying the lack of love ever after. But, to complicated things the format narrated detective, spy, horror, pornographic, educational and even propaganda plots. This means that content alone cannot define the fotonovela as a genre.

My argument merges these two halves under the single category of a medium-dependent genre with its own particular mise-en-scène and mise-en-page. The former one is characterized by the expression of dramatic states and emotions in mass-printed still photographs and the substitution of textual description with photographic illustration. The latter one uses conventions of adapted from comic books, film, and graphic design to visually set the story in a manner that eases the cognitive work necessary to read fiction. The approach emphasizes the role of fotonovela’s particular form of narration over content in its definition as a genre. [/expand]

Photography and Writing: from Illustrated Novels to Weekly Magazines II
Sunday, May 25, 5:30-6:45 PM, KOL-G-220
Organizers: Pasquale Verdicchio, University of California San Diego and Nicoletta Pazzaglia, University of Oregon
Chair: Lindsay Harris, American Academy in Rome

[expand title=”Dal romanzo al reportage: Federico de Roberto e la fotografia
Gabriella Bologna, Università di Verona” trigclass=”arrowright”]Sin dagli anni settanta l’attività fotografica dei tre più noti veristi della letteratura italiana, Verga, Capuana e De Roberto, è stata a più riprese esplorata. Se però il rapporto tra i primi due scrittori e la fotografia è stato analizzato nel dettaglio in pubblicazioni anche relativamente recenti (cataloghi di mostre e monografie), l’attività di Federico De Roberto, autore di un capolavoro a lungo sottovalutato come I Viceré, è stata sempre ricordata senza adeguati approfondimenti.

L’attenzione al mezzo fotografico dello scrittore napoletano è invece ampiamente documentata: nei suoi romanzi (da L’illusione del 1891 a L’imperio, pubblicato postumo nel 1929), nei suoi articoli (San Silvestro da Troina, in “La Lettura” agosto 1909 e L. Capuana nei Cimeli fotografici, in “Noi e il mondo” 1916) e soprattutto nella sua attività di fotografo e curatore di edizioni illustrate da fotografie. Nel primo decennio del nuovo secolo l’autore è a più riprese impegnato in questa attività. Nel 1907 pubblica una guida della città di Catania, corredata da 152 illustrazioni degli atelier Martinez, Gentile, Grita, Brogi e Alinari, e cura l’albo illustrato Esposizione di Catania, redatto sotto la sua direzione. Nello stesso anno appare sulla rivista “Emporium” l’articolo La Sicilia ignorata: Randazzo, che porterà nel 1909 alla pubblicazione del volume Randazzo e la valle dell’Alcantara, con 147 illustrazioni di cui più di un terzo fotografie dell’autore. La monografia, realizzata per la collana ‘Italia Artistica’ diretta da Corrado Ricci, contiene un vero e proprio reportage fotografico di architetture e paesaggi ed è certamente l’esempio più noto della sua attività di fotografo, l’unico che abbia destato una certa attenzione da parte della critica, senza tuttavia essere mai stato messo in rapporto organico con l’intero percorso dello scrittore. Il paper traccerà per la prima volta un quadro organico di tutta la produzione fotografica oggi nota di De Roberto e prenderà in esame alcuni brani delle sue opere letterarie che si soffermano sulla fotografia mettendoli a confronto con la sua esperienza di fotografo con particolare attenzione al contesto culturale di riferimento.[/expand]

[expand title=”Stimmung or Dissonant Landscapes? Luigi Ghirri’s legacy in Contemporary Italian Photography and Writing
Marina Spunta, University of Leicester” trigclass=”arrowright”]In this paper I consider the legacy of Luigi Ghirri’s work in contemporary Italian photography and (literary) writing that explore primarily issues of place and landscape. I have chosen to focus on phototexts (i.e books consisting of photographic and written texts) as the coexistence of both media in the same book raises key questions about the complex relationship between photography and writing. The texts that I will discuss are: Il profilo delle nuvole (1989), a phototext which comprises Ghirri’s photographs of the Po Valley and an essay by Gianni Celati; Paesaggi dissonanti (2003), a project commissioned by the association ‘Linea di Confine’ to photographers Vittore Fossati, Guido Guidi and Paola Di Bello, and writer Giulio Mozzi, to investigate a recent regional law on ‘incongruous’ landscapes; and The dove collared sound (2012), a collaboration between photographer Sabrina Ragucci and writer Giorgio Falco, set in the suburban fictional area of Cortesforza (south of Milan), which is the setting of Falco’s fiction books. By analyzing Ghirri’s work on place/landscape in his seminal volume of 1989 alongside two recent phototexts, I aim to discuss whether/to what extent both the idea of landscape and the relationship between photography and writing in a text have changed over the past three decades. In my analysis I will focus in particular on the notions of sound/voice and of Stimmung (i.e. consonance) and dissonance which the photographers and writers use to adopt or challenge accepted ideas of place and landscape. I will also employ the metaphors of consonance vs. dissonance to explore the relationship between photography and writing in a phototext.[/expand]

[expand title=”Photographing Averages: Literature, Photography, Statistics and the Power of the Norm
Maria Lolla, Harvard University” trigclass=”arrowright”]

Photography was born with the mandate to honor the individual. Whether it was monuments caught in a specific moment of their life, as Francois Arago had promised to do in 1839, when he advertised photography’s ability to reproduce monuments and “local colour”, or whether it was the accurate portrayal of individuals, which became photography’s dominant application, photography was the technology best suited to document the unique. As photography approached its 50th anniversary, however, contemporary observers such as the fellows of the Societa Fotografica Italiana noted that photography had been deployed as much to chronicle the exceptional as to enforce the average. Indeed, photography had been conceptualized as well as practiced  in a way that revealed striking similarities with the social science that was supposed to be photography’s most obvious obverse: statistics. In this paper I will explore the relationship between statistics and photography especially as it pertains to their conceptualization of the fictional construct of the average and  its hold on the literary and artistic imagination. Writers and photographers alike were working hard to both capture exemplary stories and achieve the impossible goal of photographing averages. More specifically I will focus on the troubling erosion of the power of the individual that both statistics and photography brought to the fore: both told stories that did not need man’s consent and increasingly surrendered a view of  individuals as subject to forces beyond their control and unable to shape the course of history. I will discuss works by Verga, Emma, Invernizio, Marchesa Colombi, Anna Vertua Gentile, De Amicis, Ferraguti, Mantegazza, Lombroso and Messedaglia.[/expand]

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