C' era una volta...

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While I was moving from Rome I found a box full of numerous undeveloped Polaroid. Unfortunately my Polaroid SX70 camera felt on the ice of Moscow in February 2012 while I was trying to jump on a taxi to reach a demo in the center of the city. My weird intention was to work in the cold of Moscow with this old camera and technique. The camera did not survive! Since then, the diary onceI was doing with a Polaroid I' m now doing  (as most of us does) with a much "cold" digital device. No regrets....pictures are always pictures...almost!

Here is a selection from my digital portable camera device (DPCP) which I will keep updating time to time, remembering my old Polaroid...

The last emperor

Manzhouli, China 2015. ©Davide Monteleone

Manzhouli, China 2015. ©Davide Monteleone

On August 18, 1945, Pu Yi, China’s Last Emperor, who by that time was reduced to being the emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, renounced his throne and prepared to flee northeastern China along with the defeated Japanese Army.  Bernardo Bertolucci’s Academy —— film, ‘The Last Emperor’ depicted the moment when Soviet troops seized a Manchurian airport and stopped Pu Yi and his royal entourage from escaping to Korea.  They were taken to the Soviet Union to meet an uncertain fate.
Pu Yi spent five years as a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union. In an autobiography that was published in the 1960s, he described his life in Chita and Khabarovsk.

I spent the last 3 weeks traveling in Northern Est China, close to the border between Russia and China searching for historical and contemporary relations between the two countries. I met ethnic Russian Chinese, mixed couples, woodcutter, traders, an orthodox Chinese priest and visited surreal amusement parks and "sanatorium". 

Tomorrow I will fly back to Moscow exactly from Chita. I'll have numerous days of editing back home, but updates and stories will come soon.



Rendering Moscow (2015- )" Imperium", chapter 1.

"Imperium" - chapter #1: The Capital of the Empire.

In 2007 Viktor Erofeev wrote an introduction for my first book Dusha. In that book there is really few pictures from Moscow, but this is how Viktor begun his text:

“I am convinced that Moscow is the most interesting city in the world.  Except that it has a dirty aura. The air is dirty. Its thoughts are dirty.  Moscow has told too many lies and continues to do so.  It wears heavy make-up.  It is a city of shameless advertising.  The women wear fur coats and no underwear.  I flee from the capital to experience the pleasure of liberation.

When travelling through Russia one has the sense of entering into a great open space where the only company is huge trucks streaking past like meteorites.  People say that Moscow is not Russia.  It is like oil and water.  The greasy stain that is Moscow is lost amid the forests on the outskirts of the capital. Moscow is ruled by time, Russia by eternity.”

Last November Moscow ranked 62nd out of 64 major cities in a global liveability index. In 2012, the Russian government announced the formation of a new “greater Moscow”, and there is talk of a grand urban vision: new jobs, homes, infrastructure and city-wide improvements.

Moscow changed a lot since the first time I arrived there fourteen years ago, and is transforming rapidly in the last two years. Plans involve pedestrianized embankments high-speed water transport,  brand-new cycling infrastructure, new parks and of course new dwelling houses in the outskirt of the city. But how much has life really changed for Moscow’s residents? Has the transformation been for the benefit of everyone or just a select few?

“Rendering Moscow” is my attempt to look at the city for what is becoming. In this first part of the project the residents seems to be only a part of the of the new scenography of the city, unaware of the role they may have in the new scheme planned by government and institutions. 

To be continued…

One of...

From the series "One of..." - Liliana Uiao, China. One of 18523. ©Davide Monteleone.

From the series "One of..." - Liliana Uiao, China. One of 18523. ©Davide Monteleone.

From the series "One of..." - Jekaterina Pressmann, Estonia. One of 47. ©Davide Monteleone.

From the series "One of..." - Jekaterina Pressmann, Estonia. One of 47. ©Davide Monteleone.

From the series "One of..." - Niang Abdou, Senegal. One of 1731 ©Davide Monteleone.

From the series "One of..." - Niang Abdou, Senegal. One of 1731 ©Davide Monteleone.

Few weeks ago I found this article by Roman historian Ursula Rothe in Newsweek where she describe the policy on immigration at the time of the Roman Empire as a model that could be applied nowadays to deal and reconsider the migration's issue in Europe.

Italy hosts officially  3.874.726 foreign citizens and is properly considered one of the main gate to Europe because of its geographical position. I also just recently discovered Rome accomodate 181 different foreign community ( almost the entire nationalities of the word) living in the city. Last month I decided I want to try to make one portrait for each nationality inviting them to my studio in Rome.

"My ancestors…encourage me to govern by the same policy of transferring to this city all conspicuous merit, wherever found. And indeed I know, as facts, that the Julii came from Alba, the Coruncanii from Camerium, the Porcii from Tusculum, and not to inquire too minutely into the past, that new members have been brought into the Senate from Etruria and Lucania and the whole of Italy, that Italy itself was at last extended to the Alps, to the end that not only single persons but entire countries and tribes might be united under our name.
We had unshaken peace at home; we prospered in all our foreign relations, in the days when Italy beyond the Po was admitted to share our citizenship…. Are we sorry that the Balbi came to us from Spain, and other men not less illustrious from Narbon Gaul? Their descendants are still among us, and do not yield to us in patriotism.
Everything, Senators, which we now hold to be of the highest antiquity, was once new."
Emperor Claudius 41 to 54 AD

IF YOU WANT TO HELP ME TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT AND YOU ARE OR YOU KNOW FOREIGNERS LIVING IN ROME  PLEASE WRITE TO: STUDIO@DAVIDEMONTELEONE.COM TO FIX AN APPOINTMENT TO DO THE PORTRAIT.

Source: http://www.newsweek.com/immigration-what-r...

Per me si va...

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita. 

Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura! 

Tant’è amara che poco è più morte;
ma per trattar del ben ch’i’ vi trovai,
dirò de l’altre cose ch’i’ v’ ho scorte. 

Io non so ben ridir com’i’ v’intrai,
tant’era pien di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai.  
[...]


Divina Commedia, Inferno, Canto I.

Imperium - Chapter 1/b - Flux ©Davide Monteloene

Imperium - Chapter 1/b - Flux ©Davide Monteloene



Imperium - Chapter 1/a: "Rendering the empire's capital"

From The Guardian - May 2015:  "In 2012, as the Russian government announced the formation of a new “greater Moscow”, Marat Khusnullin, the deputy mayor, headed up an international competition that invited plans for the newly expanded city region. There is talk of a grand urban vision: new jobs, homes, infrastructure and city-wide improvements. In the meantime, Moscow is already transforming. From plans for Zaryadye Park – Moscow’s first new park in 50 years – to burgeoning creative industries, rapid gentrification and a food revolution, the fabric of the city is being reworked. Plans involve pedestrianised embankments along a transformed riverfront, high-speed water transport and brand-new cycling infrastructure. But how much has life really changed for Moscow’s residents? Has the transformation been for the benefit of everyone or just a select few? And what of the future of this new Moscow?"  

Rendering Moscow - imperium, ©Davide Monteleone, 2015

Rendering Moscow - imperium, ©Davide Monteleone, 2015



Source: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/may...

The day after

Note from "Time second-hand" by Svetlana Aleksievich" : "Mio figlio...mia madre...io...viviamo in paesi diversi, anche se si chiamano tutti Russia. Il nostro legame ha qualcosa di assurdo. Ci sentiamo tutti traditi". 

Lenin's Mausoleum, Red Square, the day after the parade. ©Davide Monteleone 2015.

Lenin's Mausoleum, Red Square, the day after the parade. ©Davide Monteleone 2015.

Parks and Parade...

I found this interesting series of article about parks in Moscow. There is an interesting sentence in the introduction that may be worth to explore with pictures: 

"Parks in Moscow reflect the influence of historic ideas on urban landscapes. There are elements of feudalism, socialism, and capitalism. There is monarchy, anarchy, religion, modernism, and post-modernism."

In the mean time,  yesterday I wanted to see it from the "citizen" perspective and not from the VIP tribune on the Red Square. I wanted to have a picture from  Sofiyaskaya nabereshnaya, the river side in front of the Kremlin, but, unfortunately, the street was closed for "security" reason. This is the best I got: 

Moscow, 2015 ©Davide Monteleone

Moscow, 2015 ©Davide Monteleone



IMPERIUM, Atlas and Chronology.

“Russia opened its twentieth-century history with the Revolution of 1905 and is closing it with the revolution that resulted in the breakup of the USSR in 1991 […] History in this country is an active volcano, continually churning, and there is no sign of its wanting to calm down, to be dormant.”

Imperium, Ryszard Kapuscinski

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