Flattened in Time and Space
14.8 x 21 cm
Text by Ilaria Speri
Design by Federico Barbon
Published in April 2020
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Flattened in Time and Space is a visual family novel, whose plot develops around the figure of Concetto, born in Scicli, Sicily, in 1921. The photographs, extracted from family albums and re-assembled, were taken by his nephew, Angelo Vignali, by his family and friends. The sequence, which spans over fifty years, deprives the viewer of space-time coordinates and the identity of those who took the photographs, creating a new narrative. FITAS is a portrait drawn from the relationships between people, places and events that animated the stage of Concetto’s life. A succession of glances from the window overlooks the countryside: the abandoned farms and petrol stations, the Sicilian dusty hills, the sky and the Mediterranean Sea. The magnificence of the monuments, which we observe only a moment later eroded by time, abandoned. Only few background characters punctuate the landscape, up to that domestic interior, always the same, yet different in the most minute details: the house Concetto himself built, and where it still lives today.
Is there a ‘familiar lexicon’ in the way we look at and represent the places and people we hold dear - our history?
The path taken by Vignali in the construction of this project - which in fact sees its first and complete expression in the form of the book – finds an important key to reading in the studies of the American psychologist James Hillman (Healing Fiction, 1983), in regard to the role of fiction in psychotherapy. Narrating one's story is an imaginative process, a digestive operation, in which the individual observes and reorganizes the unfolding of the time of his life - the emanation of memories, dreams and fantasies. Vignali thus rewrites the plot, revises the past, until it finds a new internal coherence: he recognises himself by means of transcription (humanity’s guarantee of memory and eternity). In this context, the identity of the protagonist, his face, is only the epilogue of the journey.