Although this is a workshop devoted to Oral History, my presentation will show a photo gallery. I will now explain why. The place represented is Sesto San Giovanni, a medium-sized city to the north of Milan that became the fifth industrial district in Italy during the XX century. Today Sesto epitomizes the local variety of the wider deindustrialisation processes that affect so many cities in the North-Atlantic, West-European area together with the post-Soviet world. The pictures show the ruins of its huge plants, opened at the beginning of the century and shut down before its end. The shots were taken by an amateur photographer who collaborated on an articulated research project. This project aimed to directly relate the photographic representation of a former industrial spaces in Sesto as they are today to the oral sources collected by the research group in a campaign of interviews carried out between 2013 and 2015. The interviews focused on the case of the Falck steel-making company. The Falck area is a vast redevelopment operation, one of the most important in Europe, and among the major real estate investments in Italy at the moment. The research, funded by the Lombardy Region, was born from the idea to enhance cultural memory in Sesto with the photo reportage as an important visual segment. The corporate wasteland is the object of the ever more frequent practice of organised urban exploration. It is presented as the modern Gothic (Edensor 2005) or as a new wilderness (High and Lewis 2007). Likewise, the photography of post-industrial areas arising from this kind of urban exploration seems to have become an iconographic genre of its own. Created by the ruins of manufacturing companies and their dismantling in Western world, this genre is dictating a new aesthetic of deindustrialisation. Some critics have stigmatised it as “ruin porn”, a derogative phrase that has already turned into an academic topos (High 2013; Apel 2015). My presentation intends to investigate how this emerging aesthetic is one with the exploration of the meaning of economic change and its perception. The pictures that I am showing, therefore, are deliberately in tension with the interviews we carried out, by virtue of the contrast between the deserted landscapes evoked by the photographs and the fullness (which is also synesthetic) of the life and work stories collected. The vivid words of the are given as an example of this. The wider framework of my talk is the investigation around the cultural effects of deindustrialisation: slow to unfold, they are actually encapsulated in words and images which have become universal in the world that have ceased to be industrial. With regard to verbal representations of deindustrialisation, some scholar speaks of a “moral landscape” (Hayden 1997), with “moral” as the dominant theme in the overall narrative concerning the lost importance of material production, of “doing things” (Moretti 2013). However, images of deindustrialisation usually tend to say very little about what really happened. Oral history and photographs need to cooperate to answer the main research questions: what does economic change mean to those who pay the price for it? How do people and places change after the shutting down of factories? What does an industrial city turn into after its plants are gone? The cultural implications of these images and the reason why they are fascinating raise a number of reflections. My presentation intends to follow these steps: 1. define the nature of the visual evidence on display; 2. describe the context in which this evidence has been imagined and collected; 3. analyse some of its possible meanings, the most striking features and the insights they can provide to the cultural analysis of the visual representation of deindustrialisation (Armstrong 2016).
(Post-)Industrial Narratives: Remembering Labour and Structural Change in Oral History / R. Garruccio. ((Intervento presentato al convegno (Post-)Industrial Narratives: Remembering Labour and Structural Change in Oral History tenutosi a Bochum nel 2016.
|Titolo:||(Post-)Industrial Narratives: Remembering Labour and Structural Change in Oral History|
GARRUCCIO, ROBERTA (Primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||6-dic-2016|
|Parole Chiave:||Industrial Heritage; Industrial Ruins; Industrial Photography; Oral History; Corporate Wasteland|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore SECS-P/12 - Storia Economica|
Settore M-STO/04 - Storia Contemporanea
|Enti collegati al convegno:||Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Stiftung Geschichte des Ruhrgebiets, European Labour History Network (ELHN) – Working Group “Cultures of Labour under Conditions of De-industrialisation”|
|Citazione:||(Post-)Industrial Narratives: Remembering Labour and Structural Change in Oral History / R. Garruccio. ((Intervento presentato al convegno (Post-)Industrial Narratives: Remembering Labour and Structural Change in Oral History tenutosi a Bochum nel 2016.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|