“The licentious atmosphere is certainly spectacular if one is looking for women covered in spaghetti, making an eyesore of an Italian stereotype or perhaps I am over-reacting and should not judge the right to adorn oneself with food while another dancer on the other side of the floor completes the de rigor motto of “Free mustache rides” for a young man who is drenched in viscous fluid from such concentrated efforts”
I have opened this book to an indiscriminate page and I am presented with an image of two police officers leaning over a rail and pointing at an area of cement and trees shrouded by a veil of leaves in which a radial white shape is center-weighted to the right side of the frame delicately balancing the composition of the two police officers on the left. Amidst the leaves and enshrining the white wheel are a number of indecipherable objects. They appear at the end of their usefulness. I am unable to understand what is at hand within the image. There is the structure of authority of the policemen and the covered leaf-laden subject matter just outside their reach. Underneath the image, the title reads “Discarica-Discariche Abusive” and finally in English “Abusive Landfill”. I decide immediately that this title sums up a metaphor for my feeble knowledge of Italian politics and the difficult power structures that collude, along with religion and a myriad of other factors, to give a loose definition to the last forty years of Italian life in Rimini.
Italians do it better. So I have been told. Vamos a la Playa, but what if la playa is strewn with harbor police and bodies being pulled to shore chained to concrete, their hair and scalp missing- becoming food for the fishes, what if? Perhaps I am able to abscond to a resort of seemingly decent refuse for the economy of my mind in which I might observe the more carefree spirit of the Italian experience. I could gather some peace at the behest of a brimming nightlife without the grief or malice foretold within the walls of the discotheque. And within the walls of the disco-the “Rio Grande” the room is in full and unmediated swing-an outright exposure to the more libidinal senses. The licentious atmosphere is certainly spectacular if one is looking for women covered in spaghetti, making an eyesore of an Italian stereotype or perhaps I am over-reacting and should not judge the right to adorn oneself with food while another dancer on the other side of the floor completes the de rigor motto of “Free mustache rides” for a young man who is drenched in viscous fluid from such concentrated efforts. I slowly edge my way back past the couple making out, the man in an ass-less pair of shorts who looks like he is power shouldering his masculinity and perhaps the reality of his sexual persuasion on the neck of a limber brunette. Perhaps she is transsexual. My only real experience with Italy prior to 2002 is when I tried desperately to buy weed from a transsexual prostitute along the outer wall of the Protestant cemetery in Rome. It ended in angry dismissal of my interests and my being from said prostitute. No sex, no weed Fucking American. So, it is with no minor possibility that Transsexual life in Rimini be given its due consideration, as the image of transsexual life is certainly abundant in the pockets, pyramids and portals of Italy.
“Perhaps she is transsexual. My only real experience with Italy prior to 2002 is when I tried desperately to buy weed from a transsexual prostitute along the outer wall of the Protestant cemetery in Rome. It ended in an angry dismissal of my interests and my being from said prostitute. “No sex, No weed Fucking American””
“Italy & Italy” the photographs of Pasquale Bove, “curated” or more succinctly, edited by Luca Santese for Cesura Publish is a brick of extroverted Italian life. The collaboration had found Santese ritualistically sorting through some 200,000 images to edit the essence of Bove’s photojournalistic work in Rimini and the defining epochs within (the 80s-90s) into one big book with 500 images of indelible spectacle. The images are indeed wild. As a photojournalist, one perfunctory aspect of the vocation is to document the local environment if one is local. I suspect that Bove’s larger archive offers much less palpably intense imagery. Events such as an Italian version of Memorial Day or a series on a Rimini bakery have been edited out for the sake of pure spectacle.
On one hand, as someone who likes to align myself to the outlandish, I appreciate the lack of the quotidian within. However juggling some amount of critical responsibility, I think contextualizing the book or images within as being a responsible representation of the 90s (as has been stated) would be somewhat disingenuous to a large number of everyday citizens from the period who made Rimini their home. This is the stranglehold problem with a declaration for documenting an epoch and giving cultural delineation to a society pulled only from an archive by one photographer and arranged by one editor for one book that is for sale. It limits a larger responsibility and is impinged upon declarative value of the spectacle for the sake of an audience that may purchase said book.
All of this epoch defining talk aside, the book is rife with morbidity, but also humor and (for some) perversion, which make it an aptly Italian way of looking at things. I found the titles at the bottom of the images and categories that they are indicated within a larger question for discussing the archival uses and abuses of categorization and led me to ponder the notion of the responsibility to index or not. In general, this is an excellent book to line the shelves with as it is not trying overly hard to be re-formatted into a conceptual art piece based on intended image-making, which I salute Cesura for avoiding.
Pasquale Bove and Luca Santese
(All Rights Reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Pasquale Bove. )