Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo

Authors: Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo

From thousands of possibilities

Audio-video installation, 2013

Even now along the Felice Aqueduct in the Mandrione quarter of Rome, you can find signs of the makeshift homes that spread there in the post-war period. These shantytowns inspired neorealist culture and were the subject of films, but also of ‘documentary’ enquiries often instrumentalising this reality for political ends or essentialising the nature of their inhabitants as primitive, contradictory, and immutable. By the end of the 1960s, refuting these clichés, they became protagonists of urban struggles and developed forms of collective action.

Looking back on an episode of these struggles, the project examines a filmic document found in the Archivio del movimento operaio e democratico in Rome that shows the squatting of a house and a street in the centre of Rome by a group of baraccati. The gesture of one occupant hiding her face from the camera became the starting point for research tracing the different physical displacements that form metropolitan space and are mirrored in the relations of the gaze manifested when these bodies become visible and fight for their self-determination.