L’Altro Spazio (“The Other Space”) is the title of a documentary film by Marcello Pastonesi and Carlo Furgeri Gilbert in collaboration with Mario Cucinella, architect and curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2018 Architecture Biennale in Venice.
This year’s edition of the Biennale, "Freespace", focuses on the public dimension of architecture as an element of the landscape delving into the relationship between architecture and territory, a theme which is particularly relevant in Italy, with such a variety of different landscapes where spaces and human stories have been interwining for centuries.
Cucinella chose to get off the beaten path which connects Italy’s major cities and explore the country’s most remote places high above the mountains or on the islands. The architect’s point of view is expressed through the moving images of the documentary shot by Pastonesi and Furgeri Gilbert, produced by Someone in collaboration with Rai Cinema and screened daily at the Biennale. We met them to learn more about the project.
L’Altro Spazio is a journey through Italy far from the spotlight. It is in some way also a journey through time?
MP: In part yes, because it is a journey in search of traditions, customs and different ways of doing things and managing the relationship with land and nature.
CFG: It is indeed a journey through time but not one indulging in memories. It is a journey which raises questions, as any journey should do. We have crossed territories and met people who only apparently live in another time. They are very connected to the world, they know what happens outside. These territories have an enormous potential. They are in fact the cradle of the DNA of Italian culture. It is a matter of understanding how to create the conditions for developing and re-launching them, avoiding depopulation and degradation.
How do people connect with the places where they live? Through nature, architecture, smells, colours?
MP: The people we met in these remote inland areas have a very clear idea of what a big city or a suburb looks like, many of them have actually lived and worked there. Their attachment to the place where they live is not triggered by fear of what’s outside, but rather by the idea of a community, which acts as a social safety net, as a source of education, care, memory, knowledge and contacts. And they wish to preserve all of this. In Orgosolo, Sardinia, people told us with pride how they managed to oppose the construction of an American military base. People's mistrust also arises from having seen their land suffer damage from industrialization, with broken promises of economic recovery and jobsbeing replaced by abandonment, environmental damage and sometimes even damage to people's health.