Language: English

For decades, Patras has been one of the main hubs for migration routes to Europe, particularly Italy. A short distance from the inhabited areas and tourist facilities lie entire disused industrial sites occupied by migrants waiting to try their luck at “the game”, namely, illegally boarding westward bound ferries. The… Read more »

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In August 1835, the American newspaper, The Sun, published a series of incredible astronomical reports attributed to Sir John Herschel, one of the leading British scientists of his time. Thanks to a “telescope of vast dimensions and an entirely new principle”, Herschel and his team had apparently discovered traces of alien life on the moon, from water and… Read more »

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The subterranean world is one of the few areas of this planet that we are far from having complete maps of. Due to their very nature, embedded deep into masses of otherwise impenetrable rock, the chartering of caves requires continuous exploration, not to mention luck to find new openings and… Read more »

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The port city of Genoa is dominated by water. A complex system of subterranean torrents traverses the fabric of this north-western Italian capital, rendering its territory prone to severe floods and landslides. Yet these underground rivers represent a world in their own right – hidden ecosystems that run in parallel… Read more »

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Imagine leaving your home, your workshop or school to find the air of your hometown thickened into a dark fog emanating from underground. This is what occurred in the village of Trecate, northern Italy, when in 1994 a SARPOM oil well exploded, covering the town with crude oil for days…. Read more »

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The enormous Boathouse 4 of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has housed many stories. Built in 1939, it met the need for rapid rearmament prior to the start of World War II. Yet since the end of the war, the Portsmouth Dockyard was marked by a steep decline in employees resulting… Read more »

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One of the main protagonists of Italian radical architecture, multidisciplinary artist and researcher Ugo La Pietra has dedicated his life to the understanding of the power relations embedded into our modern cities. He has seen the city of Milan change considerably over the years, with the development of new neighbourhoods, new… Read more »

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Somewhere near the edge of Wales, in the Llŷn Peninsula, two gateposts stand in a nameless field. For playwright Kevin Dyer, these posts become the locus of a number of stories that interweave the lives of the local fictional community with the slow rhythms of an ever-present landscape.

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The Italian city of Rimini is not only a renowned seaside resort on the Adriatic Sea. It is also the home of a giant: a sixty-year-old skyscraper that stands out, completely alone, against an expanse of small houses. In this contribution, Marco Bertozzi reflects on the making of his film Skyscraper… Read more »

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In Letchworth Garden City, not much has changed in the last decades. In a time when the pandemic forced the nation to stand still, the author, John Vincent, reflects upon his own past and present embedded into this almost immutable backdrop. Through the lens of the camera, a short tour of what was once… Read more »

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The city of London appears as one of the marvels featured in Wonderful Things, an English 1852 publication collecting the “the most remarkable Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World”. Created by journalist and chartist Robert Kemp Philp, the piece is a curated text which combines the author’s reflections with… Read more »

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This October and November we inaugurate our new section “Past Present Archive” with two pieces from a not-too-distant past. The first below looks at one of the most iconic buildings in Europe: the Colosseum. In the second half of the 18th century, French jurist Jean-Baptiste Mercier Dupaty described his travels… Read more »

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The archetype of the American cowboy that is infused in western popular culture is perhaps embodied by Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Yet, this simple image conceals a multifaceted history that spans cultures, geographies, genders and identities. Artist and researcher, Brandon Sward, muses over the… Read more »

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Rod Rhys Jones Anima Loci

In 1964, British engineer Rod Rhys Jones set off to Antartica to conduct work for the British Antarctic Survey. Fifty years later, he found himself back there installing a monument to commemorate those who lost their lives in the pursuit of science within this harsh environment, including three of his… Read more »

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Why look at animals? This question, famously posed by John Berger’s 1977 essay, maintains its relevance today. In this contribution, photographer Dario Li Gioi considers Berger’s question to reflect upon the shooting of a project entitled “The Hidden Zoo”, dedicated to the exploration of Rome’s bio-park. Here, photography becomes the… Read more »

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Anima Loci Paolo Rossi Giulio Todescan

In the winter of 2020, the northern Italian city of Vicenza said goodbye to its most loved football champion, Paolo Rossi. In this urban wandering, Giulio Todescan surveys the visual markers that supporters have left around town to perpetuate Rossi’s memory, revealing how the mundane can become a fresco of… Read more »

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Anima Loci Laura Phillips

In the 17th century, an underground cave was discovered in the depths of the Bristol area. Today, the entrance to the cave, Pen Park Hole, lies adjacent to a housing estate in the northern suburb, Southmead. The site above had plans for residential housing but permission was denied when the… Read more »

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Anima Loci Raz Talhar

How do cities rise from the sea? Land reclamation is the process of creating new habitable territory in areas normally submerged by water. Malaysian photographer, Raz Talhar, witnessed the process as it occurred in the Straits of Johor, capturing the morphological transformation of the landscape, from the emergence of sand… Read more »

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Antigoni Geronta Anima Loci

In the fishing village of Afurada de Baixo, Portugal, the architectural façade speaks of everyday affairs and circumstances without needing to utter them. In this article, researcher Antigoni Geronta outlines the results of her five-year field research in the village, where thresholds, windows, curtains and tiles give visual clues about… Read more »

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Hana Riazuddin Anima Loci

South London is marked by rapid and widespread urban regeneration plans and development. A PhD student and a team of young researchers living in gentrifying neighbourhoods map out the emotional, psychological and social landscapes in this shifting terrain. Here young people are simultaneously obscured and hyper-visible. In focusing on the… Read more »

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In the depth of the Trentino mountains, there is a high-security prison. Amongst the captives is M49, a brown bear classified as dangerous for his reoccurring attacks on livestock and human property. The animal has been the subject of much media attention, both in his homeland and abroad. What are… Read more »

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Thames Town, a British-themed village on the outskirts of Shanghai, attracts residents and tourists with its gothic-like church, red phone boxes, and statues of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana. What is “real” in a quintessentially “fake” place like Thames Town? Does thinking through these categories even make sense? Who gets… Read more »

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In comics, when do landscapes change from setting to subject? Usually thought of as the backdrop to the unfolding of events, the landscape often plays a deeper role. In this article, semiologist Daniele Barbieri recounts some moments found within the history of comics in which the landscape becomes an important… Read more »

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Anima Loci Giorgio Guernier Enrica Casentini

In Italy, the North East holds a strong place in the collective imaginary. As part of the country’s economic engine, it is an area of factories, family-run businesses, hangers and warehouses, interrupted only by the towns scattered around the land. Yet, the North East has a lesser-known image: that of… Read more »

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Anima Loci Joey Chin

2015 marked the island city-state Singapore’s golden jubilee. Amongst the festivities and events celebrating the country’s independence was public coverage of the Dakota estate, one of the oldest public housing developments in Singapore. With its impending demolition to make way for redevelopment, the area was featured in numerous arts, culture,… Read more »

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Anima Loci Jérémie Vaudaux

Starting in Morocco, the National 1 traverses the disputed territory of the Western Sahara to join Mauritania. The arid landscape that it crosses bears few markers of human activity. Elements shaped, eroded, bent or battered by the Harmattan sand storms overshadow man-made structures. Photographer Jérémie Vaudaux takes us along that… Read more »

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Anima Loci Lorenzo Valloriani

A photoessay that documents a different side of Tuscany, where the overlooked spreads and defies the resistance of an apparently immutable landscape. Diving into the mundane, photographer Lorenzo Valloriani tries to capture and celebrate the unnoticed that flows in the undercurrents of the land.

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Anima Loci Filippo Vogliazzo and Tommaso Gorla

During WWII, a high number of bunkers and casemates were implanted upon the territory of the Venice lagoon. How have these massive monolithic shapes contributed to the reorganisation of the postwar landscape? Have they remained as inert forms or have they rather established a relationship with the inhabitants of their… Read more »

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Anima Loci Simone Ludovico

The vast urban sprawl of Lombardy, Italy’s most industrialised region, has given life to nameless spots that seem to exist autonomously, with little dialogue with the landscape. Inspired by Rem Koolhaas’ essay Junkspace (2001), this photoessay by Simone Ludovico shows the only moment in which nowhere adorns itself to become… Read more »

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Anima Loci Jonathan Zenti Susana Ljuljanovic

In these times of enforced self-isolation, the objects that once constituted the discrete backdrop of our home start to be seen in a different light. In this intimate contribution, radio producer Jonathan Zenti tells us about how being quarantined in one of Italy’s most affected cities has brought his previously… Read more »

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Anima Loci Gaetan Chevrier

Hong Kong’s unique geographic characteristics make this city a place where the manmade and the natural densely coexist. During several walks across the urban landscape, French photographer Gaëtan Chevrier records this intricate relationship, normally overshadowed by the bustling life of this financial capital. The photographs and reflections that follow further… Read more »

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Anima Loci Alzbeta Kovandova

Sharing the fabric of our cities with wild animals is the norm. As long as they do not encroach upon the boundaries of the domestic wall, the space in which we live is also that of birds, mice, insects and other species. In London, urban foxes are the most iconic… Read more »

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Anima Loci Silvia Segalla

Starting from the exploration of the so-called “viàz”, an arduous mountaineering route in the Zoldo Dolomites, Silvia Segalla reflects upon the concept of “wilderness” as applied to the mountain, which within the social imaginary seems to have become a reserve and bastion of nature. In an era in which a… Read more »

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Anima Loci Flavio Pintarelli

A dive into the period in which skateboarding was blooming: by flipping through the pages of a 1960s issue of Life Magazine, Flavio Pintarelli recounts the way in which the board broke into the city, inaugurating new embodied experiences of space.

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Anima Loci Andrea Mubi Brighenti

One of the most renowned works of land art, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty embodies considerations that share affinities with what will later be found in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Reflecting on notions such as tension and scale, Andrea Mubi Brighenti traces how the spiral’s stone, salt and mud produce… Read more »

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Anima Loci Pedro Maia

Gabriel del Barco’s masterpiece ‘A Grande Vista de Lisboa’ is a patchwork of tiles that pulls our gaze into the heart of a stratified city, where buildings, gardens, people and churches float on the surface of an ever-shifting fabric. This is the image of a Lisbon whose elements are not… Read more »

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Anima Loci Sarah Gray

In West Africa, mnemonic landscapes have been affected by various political and economic inputs, which in many cases have packaged history into a tourist attraction. The monument becomes the locus of a superimposition of local and global narratives. In this comparative field-research of historic and commemorative sites within the area, Sarah… Read more »

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Anima Loci Andrea Morbio Riccardo Giacconi

Where are marionettes when they are not on stage? Accompanied by Riccardo Giacconi’s camera, anthropologist Andrea Morbio goes behind-the-scenes of Carlo Colla & Sons, the longest-running puppet company in Milan and in the whole of Italy, in order to explore the places in which puppets transform from inert matter into… Read more »

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Anima Loci Maurizio Cinquegrani

Agnafit – the historical location where Stockholm was founded – is here only a faint echo, and yet its essence quietly permeates this visit to the Swedish capital. Film locations that have become ingrained within a fictitious city coexist here with the mundane reality of the background. Images and roads… Read more »

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Anima Loci Hania Halabi

In Gaza, the experience of perpetual conflict translates into an architecture that rises directly as ruin. The buildings of the territory are the expression of a structural temporariness that paradoxically embeds the weight of an eternal present. Palestinian architect, Hania Halabi, reflects on how architecture may offer the foundations for… Read more »

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Anima Loci Vittorio Curzel

For the making of his documentary ‘Stories of Land and Water: Adige Etsch’, filmmaker Vittorio Curzel walked upstream towards the source of the Adige river. It was a journey that started at the valleys that face the Adriatic sea and culminated at the doors of Mitteleuropa. In this essay, Curzel… Read more »

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Anima Loci Christopher Thomson

What images do we carry of our home cities? How well can we describe them? And are we simply witnesses to their familiarity, or do we feel a part of their shared story? Writer and filmmaker Christopher Thomson returns to his 2011 book ‘Travels Through Absence’ with a new epilogue,… Read more »

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Anima Loci Fantina Madricardo

The seabed of the Venetian lagoon teems with thousands of bygone objects. The search for the legendary third column of St. Mark, which is thought to lie in these murky depths, is an opportunity to return their shadows to the surface.

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Anima Loci Mark Stewart-Smith

In the heart of Old Castille, scorching weather bears down on a deserted village, as new houses sprout and conquer the wilderness. Mark Stuart-Smith, artist and researcher, shares the results of this roadside exploration.

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