Berlin-Rom, Stadtrand am Scheideweg
IMPASSE is the photographic journey of Pasquale “Pas” Liguori between ambition, decline and, possibly redemption, of two important urban districts realized in Berlin and Rome in the period from the 70s to the 80s.
These are Corviale and Marzahn, certainly different areas for territorial extension and general context, yet similar, with surprising similarities.
Conceived with public housing programs designed to solve important needs of popular housing, both were built with a “dry” industrial construction approach, efficient and timely, through the use of prefabricated structural elements.
Beyond the significant urban impact, Corviale and Marzahn share a historical and social trajectory in many aspects that converge.
Corviale, which runs for 1 kilometer on the ridge of a hill located southwest of Rome, is the result of a long and tormented planning and administrative gestation during the 70s. The first apartments were delivered in the early 80s with work still in progress and incomplete, especially in the innovative part of services and accessory structures destined to remain largely incomplete, if not absolutely unrealized.
In the idea of its designers, the majestic architecture should have also represented the embankment to the spread of illegal building that devoured the Roman countryside.
Unfortunately, poor political and administrative management has not allowed the complex quality characteristics foreseen by the initial project to emerge. This has transformed the district into a progressively segregated and stigmatized body, detached from the surrounding territory and regressed to the record of a kilometer of cement constructions that have become a mere dormitory and, often, the scene of strong discomforts and tensions.
Nevertheless, the civic and associative initiative, the current ferment of planning, stimulates visions of opportunity and re-edition of the original utopia to the concrete advantage of the inhabitants, of the territorial production and of the cultural development of the area.
On the other hand, Marzahn is the fastest-growing popular urban district in the West of Europe with the goal of providing homes for families, employees and workers in the era of former German Democratic Republic. Over a period of about 15 years, this ambition was answered concretely with the construction of about 65.000 apartments and multiple services for the citizens of East Berlin. It is estimated that in 1990, in the whole area of Marzahn, there were 290.000 inhabitants. people.
The last part built was that of the “NorthWest” area populated mostly by young families with children. Here, in an area of about 250 hectares with 23.000 residents, the main activity of Pas Liguori was concentrated also due to the most significant social effects following the fall of the wall.
Marzahn NorthWest has suffered significant disruption of sustainability with a first wave of depopulation followed by restructuring criteria that have changed the face and functionality of many areas of the district. To this were added welfare and integration problems with a significant presence of the phenomenon of unemployment and clear episodes of intolerance. All this in addition to harming the context, has inevitably led – as for Corviale – the growth of a strong stigma.
In fact, since 1999, the QuartiersManagement has been actively operating among the management tools of the territory, specifically set up to prevent social hardship.
Starting from the similarities of the two districts, the photographic eye turned to urban transformation has investigated possible homogeneity of civil and social issues, in the suburbs of two European capitals often so distant in the socio-economic chronicle of a Europe put to the test by the recent crises financial and political policies.
The images of IMPASSE thus capture evident traces of the contemporary expression of two projects almost contemporaneous and often convergent, about 30 years after their birth.
Corviale and Marzahn are portrayed in aspects of loneliness and difficulty, even if not concealed or hidden, but above all in their ability to express beauty, energy, ingenuity and dignity. The shooting technique carefully avoids vivisections of the intimate environment of suburban life with the frantic, gossipy and spectacular effect voyeuristic, search of the discomfort or the penury of those who live there.
It is a photograph that intends to promote reflections, stimulating the initiative in favor of structures and inhabitants who deserve to be central in the organizational debate and development of the city, with many social opportunities, promoting solidarity and economic growth.
IMPASSE contributes to a perhaps ambitious dialogue, but possible, between very different European capitals in the sign of a sharing of common themes that start from the need coming from the bottom. In a society that tends to polarize between concentration of wealth and broad layers of discomfort, which tends to magnify competition and personal success, communication and sharing of social issues can recover the design of a solidarity and truly competitive Europe. The impasse is to be overcome.
Starting from the artist’s voluntary initiative, the exhibition was organised with the broad participation of the people and institutions in Marzahn NordWest and is supported by the Quartiersbüro Marzahn NordWest.
Pasquale Liguori collaborates with the Goethe-Institut in Rome, where the exhibition will be inaugurated in early 2019 at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere.
Pasquale “Pas” Liguori was born in 1966 and lives in Rome. Professional in the field of communication and marketing, he graduated in Pharmacy and holds the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
He approached photography at an early age thanks to the passion of his father who had a Praktica camera and his refinement was mainly done in the darkroom.
While following the stages of a constantly evolving technology, it remains linked to the character of a genuine photograph even when using digital techniques. In the spread of hyper-photography, he is looking for a dry expression, not inclined to post-productive manipulations and alterations.
His recent work is focused on the study of places and territorial structures, where human presence is told through its eloquent traces, in an original approach halfway between reportage and research on urban space.
He has made numerous solo exhibitions concerning the context and the role of urban peripheral areas.
He has published the photographic volume “Borgate” on the official suburbs of Rome and is working on the publication of a new volume on popular building contexts in Rome and Berlin.
He teaches the course of “Photography and urban transformation” at the Adams Experimental Center of Photography in Rome.