Viaggio in Cromaland
Investigative community project
Living in Naples, Italy, I experienced first-hand the impact of environmental crimes on the local population – as a result I became interested in sustainability and organic agriculture, leading me to consider also the environmental impact of art in general, and of my own work. When I was introduced to the chroma test, it immediately struck me, and lead me to start a project of chroma prints in Naples, infamous for Mafia-related soil contamination, which I am currently working on.
Scope of the project was the elaboration of chromatography prints on plexiglas from polluted soil from environmentally damaged sites in Naples and surrounding area, obtained after conversations and interviews with locals. Additionally, pictures, audio and text from the research were visually displayed together with a map of contaminated sites.
The chromatography, or chroma test is a chemical analysis method invented by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer on behalf of the German anthroposophist and establisher of biodynamic agriculture Rudolf Steiner. It is not a strictly scientific method, as it leaves a lot of space to interpretation of the observer, and has nowadays a more demonstrative and aesthetic value.
In this specific project, its beauty stands in stark contrast to its message and content, telling us about the damage done to our environment.
The production of the chroma prints was preceded by a period of research about past,recent or ongoing environmental incidents in Naples region. This was followed by contacting environmental collectives, citizen groups, NGO's, university teachers, other involved parties and inhabitants of the area and interviewing them about their memories and the impact of the disasters on their lives and the territory. Ultimately, samples of soil were collected where possible. Using Pfeiffer's method, a solution made from the samples was applied on Whatman paper, soaked with silver nitrate. The resulting images were scanned, elaborated and printed on Plexiglas, together with a short description of the origin and background. In a final exhibition the “memory of the land” and the memory of the people were displayed in a multi-media installation, including a map,video, text, audio material and objects from the sites.