“The city of Leonia refashions itself every day: every morning the people wake between fresh sheets, wash with just-unwrapped cakes of soap, wear brand-new clothing, take from the latest model refrigerator still unopened tins, listening to the last-minute jingles from the most up-to-date radio. On the sidewalks, encased in spotless plastic bags, the remains of yesterday’s Leonia await the garbage truck. Not only squeezed rubes of toothpaste, blown-out light bulbes, newspapers, containers, wrappings, but also boilers, encyclopedias, pianos, porcelain dinner services. It is not so much by the things that each day are manufactured, sold, bought that you can measure Leonia’s opulence, but rather by the things that each day are thrown out to make room for the new”.From Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, Torino, Einaudi, 1972, p.119.
When I decided to give life to this project, i did not immediately associate it with Calvino’s Invisible cities, only later reading Leonia, it seemed to me the perfect description of these images. Every time (and it often happens) that I come across sidewalks, pitches or park entrances dominated by envelopes and objects thrown away, I am pervaded by anger and regret.
I imagine these people with a very specific physiognomy, victims of schizophrenic consumerism that wastes much more that they really needs, who load stuff of any kind into the car to leave it stealthily in illegal landfills, putting perhaps twice the effort that would take in making a responsible disposal.
I imagine them then running into a car wash, to maniacally wash the new car to clean everything thoroughly, then warn satisfied and with the latest model of mobile at home, in the polished house, that the mission is accomplished and you are returning.
Maybe it’s sunday, you can then go to the mall with the whole family to buy something useless that will have already tired tomorrow.
“So you begin to wonder if Leonia’s true passion is really, as they say, the enjoyment of new and different things, and not, instead, the joy of expelling, discarding, cleansing itself of a recurrent impurity”.