The Vajont dam (1963) represents maybe one of the most tragic and paradigmatic man-driven disaster that has affected the Italian territory in the last century. In the year of the anniversary (2013) Calamita/à invited Latitude to produce an original work in parallel to the one of photographers, artists, poets, musicians.
The work started from technical and measurable representations of the landscape (cartography, engineering drawings, data) highlighting the link and the distance between the dry, objective images of the territory and the “emotional geography” derived from the disaster.
The representation of the mechanics of the tragedy – landslide and wave – in an abstract (a model) or contextual (a serigraphy) way are meant to be two invitations to look at the present through measurable images of the past; to “give voice” and “shape the body” of the event.
The handmade serigraphy overlaps different spaces – thanks to transparencies and layers – and times – representing various moments at once through images and text – aiming at producing a multilayered measurable image. The base is an offset printed map of the Italian Military Geographic Institute of 1962. On top of that, a chronicle of the event offers a written description starting from the construction of the dam until the tragedy, and a golden handmade serigraphy shows the area of the landslide and the wave with see-through patterns that reveal the impact of the disaster.
The suspended model shows the pure shapes and the exact quantities of material (water, soil) involved in the disaster, which have never been represented as such. The choice is to not represent the context, but rather just the tension between the two elements that generated the event in their exact position.
Vajont Dam, Italy
Fabio Vanin, Elena Calafati, Olivia Casagrande, Marta De Marchi, Luca Ventimiglia