CHARTING THE STREAM
Charting the Stream started as an investigation on neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to reconfigure itself as a result of a change), as I was intrigued about the role of photography toward this organic and constantly changing reality. When the brain changes, it doesn’t erase what was there before, but it mixes it with the new, creating a new identity, a new state, a new ability. How can photography, being still, portray these changes?
Being neuroplasticity a deeply organic phenomena, I asked myself if something similar happened in nature too, beyond animals: for example in the vegetal world or in a landscape. As a result of my research, I learned about a peculiar creek, called Tinazzo. In 1916 its final stretch was diverted because it often disastrously flooded the surroundings. As a consequence of this operation, the landscape has had to face a deep change and readjusted during the years. Where there once was a river, now there is a canyon. The whole geological environment is an evidence of the fluvial past of the area, yet endemic plants have flourished as if in a forest on its slopes.
I wanted to describe this place without ever directly portraying it, in order to experiment with the ability of photography to describe such a constantly changing place. I also wanted my photographs to reflect the scientific-derived methodology that had shaped my research so far, therefore the catalogue-like method seemed to me ideal for this kind of investigation.
I chose to describe the canyon from different points of view.
The first one is a description of the surroundings, in particular the mountains among which it hides. The mountain is therefore portrayed in a series, and in every photograph it looks like a different peak. However, these photographs have been taken only a few minutes apart, and while the peak is completely still, the perception of it changes because of the moving clouds.
The second one is a series describing the variation of the flooding of the Tinazzo River with a test tube. The last catastrophic flooding happened in 1905, and it led to the decision of diverting the river, which caused a complete absence of water in 1916.
The third is a recreation of the slopes of the canyon through the use of the human body and the different shapes it can morph into. The rounded shape of the canyon walls is a testimony of the fluvial past of the area.
The fourth one is a catalogue of the plants, rocks, and other items found in the canyon area. All of the items portrayed are peculiar, because none of them is usually expected to thrive in such an environment, yet the canyon has developed a microclimate to which the plants and animals have adjusted modifying themselves, for example by developing bigger leaves to catch the sunlight.
In the future, I'd like to continue this investigation, and also to develop it towards a more ample research concerning environmental issues such as climate change and different impacts human activity has on the landscape.