For the guest-curated sets of Project Heracles submissions by Lieven De Cauter and Dieter Lesage, Geoff Manaugh, Saskia Sassen, Bruce Sterling, Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt, Elisa Poli, and Carson Chan please look here. Salvatore D'Agostino is the next of our guest curators to select his favorite entries out of the hundreds Domus received.
A few years ago in a flea market I found a VHS movie. I don't remember the title or the director but I do remember the plot and the independent production, which was probably from New York. It was the story of an encounter of two men who left the respective cities where they had been born and raised. The Parisian was trying to escape a Europe that was too closed in on itself and incapable of creative leaps to go to New York, a place to be reborn. The New Yorker, however, exhausted by the rhythms of a city without a soul, wanted to find peace in Paris. I couldn't finish the film because the VHS was damaged.
The next day I returned to the flea market stalls and poking around, I replaced the first film with The Double Life of Veronique by Krzysztof Kieslowski. I watched the movie that same evening. It is the story of two women who live in different places in Europe—Paris and Krakow—and who unconsciously feel each other's emotions. For me, the plot of this film intertwined with that of the two men in search of a better place to live.
The human impulses in these two films unsettle all political and geographic logic. I selected the images for the Project Heracles with the idea of Kieslowski's film in mind: people who live in different places who nourish each other reciprocally in search of a better place to live.
People who do not necessarily help or rescue each other, but, without knowing it, exchange pure and simple emotions.
Postcard #85. [top] Technicians call them the "physiological dead" as if they were almost natural. For these lost souls, Gu Junchen imagined a ship- refuge to host people who need it. At the center, a dome for any kind of religious worship. This Kharon, that had never been imagined, has today become a necessity: an emergency ship that can save souls who are being swallowed up in silence.
Postcard #52. [above] Two souls—a stalactite and a stalagmite—that slowly settle. No actions by humans who become attentive spectators in this case—waiting for the last drop of lime. Maistralis Evangelos-Alexandros and Neratzouli Anna photograph that moment or perhaps the action of the materiality of nature's action.
Postcard # 99. [above] The only walls accepted and challenged by people are those created by nature. Lizheng is convinced of this. He imagines a green wall that arises spontaneously in the Strait. Crossing it implies a challenge.
Postcard #125. [above] Those who have lived for years in the heart of the Mediterranean know that every landing of those seeking hope in other lands conceals many others gone wrong. They know that the Mediterranean is a graveyard of ships that never made land. The savage accumulation of ships envisioned by Mirko Tattarini Monti reveals the lives, that inhabit the depths , of those who have been lost at sea.
Postcard #33. [above] I believe that a person can find peace even in an inhospitable place. The only place where you can't find peace is in front of a wall. Every wall erected against people is a warning—moniméntum—against stupidity. And a man in front of a wall has the right to knock it down. Manolis Baboussis knocks it down, building a maze of walls that are knocked down by just by moving through it.
Postcard #198. [above] "Basically, they are not very different," says Hugo Vázquez García, but he was not referring to that cursed Mediterranean bottom where words are inhabited by people in different ways. Concepts such as freedom, peace and faith have different meanings for all individuals facing this sea whether they are Asian, African or European. A huge multi-cultural metropolis that needs a square where people can meet.
Postcard #134. [above] A suspended, ethereal, image-laden square designed by Studio Afa. A vacant lot full of houses and stalls. A civic core that unites all the cities facing onto the Mediterranean.
Postcard #46. [above] The last postcard is by Benjamin Cadena. His vision takes us back to a story that I found in the village market stalls. The idea of people living in different cities and who, in their search for a place to live well, can narrate their own destinies without sinking into indifference.
Salvatore D'Agostino, curator at Wilfing Architettura