Erased Landscape

Andrea Elia Zanini

Andrea Elia Zanini - born in Rome - currently lives and works in Milan where he graduated in "Communication and Art Education" and in "Visual Cultures and Curatorial Practices" at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. As a curator and photographer, his research investigates the problems and contradictions involving the contemporary landscape and territory, paying particular attention to themes such as gentrification, tourism and environmental issues. Since 2020 he has been working as archivist of the Gabriele Basilico Archive and as assistant to the curator Filippo Maggia. Since 2021 he has been collaborating as editor with the photography magazine Fotoit.

Over the past three decades, the number of people traveling has dramatically grown. International travelers (within a year) increased from 25 to 674 million from 1950 to 2000. They doubled in just over 15 years, reaching 1.4 billion in 2018. In the same timeframe, revenues tripled from $476 billion to $1.450 billion, making tourism the largest industry in the world, giving rise to what Manuel Castells would call the "third industrial revolution."

Italy currently ranks fifth in terms of the number of international arrivals. However, the distribution of tourists is not homogeneous, indeed uneven, with peaks of concentration in some specific areas of the peninsula. Over the past decade, numerous cities and their surrounding areas have experienced profound transformations. Landscapes were destroyed and polluted by the intensive exploitation of resources, historic centers emptied of inhabitants, and overcrowded with tourists, exploitations, and building speculations. These are just some of the effects of a process that more or less slowly modifies, consumes, and sometimes eliminates the characteristics and identity of holiday destinations, abruptly transforming them into non-places similar to fetishes knowingly designed for intensive consumption. Among these, the Cinque Terre emerges as one of the tourist centers that suffers the most from the imbalance between residents and tourists received: an area with little more than 4,000 residents distributed in five villages that receives about 2.5 million tourists a year (constantly increasing), concentrated for the most part in the summer season.

Becoming aware of these data, it becomes necessary to rethink the dynamics of today's tourism, thinking of sustainable tourism that starts from a new cultural and ecological perspective. Therefore, the project aims to narrate, document, and reflect on the abuses suffered by the territory of the province of La Spezia in recent decades. This, by proposing a careful and punctual vision of the problems enumerated above through the use of analog photography, which allows interfacing, with a slow and meditative gaze, with a world that makes frenzy and consumption its strong point, favoring a detached, but at the same time immersive (therefore contemporary) reading of the places of the Ligurian East.

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