Milan-based architect and photographer Antonio Ottomanelli maps the forces unleashed following the events of September 11, 2001, which cast distant realities — Kabul, Baghdad, Sadr City, Herat, Dokan, New York City, Gaza — into a "state of entanglement".
When photographer Antonio Ottomanelli set out for Afghanistan in 2009, his aim was not to verify a preconceived idea of the Afghan capital: it was to observe on the ground a landscape transfigured by unabated conflict, so acclimatised to trauma that it was part of the city's fabric. Ottomanelli roved the city in search of signs of the macroscopic forces at play in the terrain, recording his observations in writing and on film.
War wields an apparatus of fracture, but it also forms a connective structure: thus, this journey through Kabul was the first chapter of four years of research that soon led elsewhere. Collateral Landscape is a cartography of the forces unleashed following the events of September 11, 2001 — events that cast distant realities (Kabul, Baghdad, Sadr City, Herat, Dokan, New York City, Gaza) into a "state of entanglement", not dissimilar to the electrons bound together regardless of physical distance in quantum physics. Out of these disparate landscapes emerges a new geography that elides borders and frontiers, a single, seamless, imaginary "place" that viscerally gravitates around recent historical events.
An architect by training, Ottomanelli looks to the inhabited landscapes as a register of human activity, consisting of both destruction and reconstruction. The representation of the landscape is critical but not judgmental; conflict is expressed not through bullet-holes and bomb craters but through images of brand-new gated communities and pristine parliamentary buildings. These places are not the theatre in which the plot unfolds but rather a cast of actors in themselves. The position of the images is not fixed and will change throughout the duration of the exhibition. Selected photographs are accompanied by descriptions of the landscapes, hand-written by the local guides who accompanied Ottomanelli during his reconnaissances. Joseph Grima (@joseph_grima)
Through 23 June 2013
Antonio Ottomanelli: Collateral Landscape
Triennale Design Museum
Viale Alemagna 6, Milan