Homeland 2 is a project that started as a consequence of my inability to remember things. It seems I am unable to recollect so many moments of my past that someone told me that this might be a consequence of me not caring about them. This could be true for most of the little things that leave no trace in my life. Still, I wouldn’t mind to remember more.
The images below were taken in Czech Republic – the whole of the project can be found here. As I mention on my website, Hlinsko is a small town located in South East Bohemia; it has about 10.000 inhabitants and during the Communist regime its survival depended on the production of electrical appliances. Elektro-Praga was the name of the main factory in the area – most of the community was closely bounded to this place as almost everyone, some way or another worked for it. Communism came to an end and for better or for worst most of the businesses related to that age disappeared with it while a series of new factories appeared. Due to the current economical climate most of these new comers did not survive for long and many people found themselves repeatedly unemployed. The state factory represented a luxury that no longer exists; its chimney however is still towering the little town as if nothing ever changed and the factory still exists under the name ETA.
The surroundings are made of forests, little rivers and lakes. This is where I used to spend most of my childhood when on holiday: almost three months per year I was cycling around, playing with kids and having barbecues with my family. Going back to Italy, where me and my parents lived, was a tragedy to me.
Time passed, I grew up, started traveling with my friends and dedicating less and less time to this place and my family there. My visits were faster as I was too busy organising inter-rails around Europe with friends from Bologna. As with many things in my life I slowly started forgetting about some of the characteristics of this area, but not completely.
About 7 years ago I moved to London and dedicating time to my two “homelands” proved to get more and more difficult: I now usually spend about 6 days a year in Hlinsko. This happens during Christmas.
The peculiar fact is that the largest part of my family actually resides in Czech Republic and I think this accentuated what I would call a sense of non belonging. It is a strange feeling I could describe as a mixture of misplacement and sense of identity that I feel whenever I go back to the places of my past. I did not forget everything about that time of my life and I am sure that my eastern European heritage has something to do with the way I think and the places I am fascinated from but in the moments I am in Czech Republic I feel home while being an outsider.
It is a consequences of how time changes people and it’s something that is increasingly happening during my sporadic visits to Italy and my daily life in London. I don’t find this negative: it gives me a different perspective on things.
Homeland 2 did not happen by chance: it was the result of reflection but was much easier to produce than I thought. I believe this is the consequence of the fact that the distance from this particular homeland has increased more than from the others. I know the atmosphere, the people and the places I want to describe in my images: I am an outsider without being a tourist.
It is about the rediscovery of meaningful places of my past and will ideally continue through a representation of my old Italian town once I have a chance to spend some time there: this will be Homeland 1. Now I am working on Homeland 3, Lodon – this could be the most difficult task, as the present doen’t allow me to work form the perspective I acquired in all this time of non belonging to Czech Republic.