Two alpine villages on the eastern border of Italy are unified through artistic practice in counteracting the phenomenon of rural neglect.
Over the span of a few decades, a once densely-populated and well-tended landscape has been swallowed by the wild, its abandonment has reopened the discussion about the balance between humankind and nature, of human presence within the mountain landscape. Entire villages in valleys bordering Italy and Slovenia, from Valli del Natisone to Canal del Ferro, are silent witnesses to the past; as the fabric of finely-worked earth, meadows and stone disappears, so does farming culture. Rediscovering drystone terraced landscapes, thus representing the most outstanding features of Natisone valleys, is one means of reappropriating rural places.
Through our joint action, Topolò and Dordolla will coalesce the future of drystone terracing with the future of these marginal villages. In Topolò an original project based on art and community Stazione di Topolò/Postaja Topolove was established in 1994, and in Dordolla projects have been initiated that bring artists from different disciplines and latitudes to realise work in relation to place and community.
In developed societies, rural does not have just agricultural purposes: it assumes multiple functions, which may recover local heritage, environment and landscape improvement, seek for identity, achievement of lifestyles for a better quality of life. Terraced landscape, by its amount of history, beauty, and building expertise, is suited to give all these values. How can we communicate that the rejected stones by builders can become cornerstones for next multifunctional projects? Which arts can express, or give concreteness, to the multiple values of terraced landscapes? The thematic session Awareness throught art, organized by the Topolò-Topoluove Association, will take place in Topolò (Natisone valleys) and in Dordolla (Canal del Ferro). Videos and documentaries will be used as best practices aimed at releasing terraces from the prejudice of marginality.