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Bēhance

  • The neglected landscape - Egadi Islands (Sicily)


    There are very few tourists who wonder what happens to the Minor Islands when the summer is over. Maybe with the plight of Orpheuss in mind, standing on the return ferryboats they watch dead ahead, preferring not to watch the Islands being swallowed by the sea and the mist, disappearing into a limbo that will last more than nine months.
    For centuries, subjected to abuse and reduced to misery by consecutive conquerors neglect, then used by Fascism as penitential colonies and military bases and, finally, in the last forty years, ground for the most goliardic tourism, Minor Islands have the same controversial fate.
    During the summer they are a coveted tourist destination, frequented by people who are searching for beaches, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops. Then, when the tourists leave, everything changes. Shops shut. Forgotten by regional governments, many islanders abandon their homestead. Leaving to tourist-businessmen territories to the mercy of geological ruin and contributing to the depopulation and to the native communities lost of identity. The holiday image displayed in travel magazines is substituted for desolation.
    Right in front of the eyes of those who remain, what was a place of pleasure is transformed into a condition of familiar imprisonment and resigned deprivation. The weather becomes inclement and an opaque veil extends over the empty and unbridgeable landscapes. The sea becomes hostile and ferries sporadic. From now on, whether or not they can leave the Island is uncertain. The Island falls asleep, far from indiscreet gazes, proud of its own brief everyday life.
    The photographic project The neglected landscape records this desertion. These photos are just a small selection from the main body of work, which looks at the Egadi Islands, but they represent the silence that all the Minor Islands have in common in the winter very well. They are evidence of the existence of a landscape neglected because its not commercially viable, of a human presence appearing only as a phantasmagoric figure or a single light left on in a deserted house, of a world populated mainly by animals.