F.E.R.V.E.T., an acronym for Fabbricazione E Riparazione Vagoni E Tramway (Manufacturing and Repairing Wagons and Tramways), was a railway manufacturing company established in Bergamo in 1907. Activity in the Castelfranco Veneto plant started the following year, with orders for the repair, overhaul, modernization and conversion of train wagons and railway carriages. During the 90’s crisis, all production concentrated in the Castelfranco plant, the only one still in operation, and in 2011, after an attempted merger with other companies, F.E.R.V.E.T. went into liquidation and the factory in Castelfranco closed down.
In 2016, Petra Stavast started investigating the remains of an extensive archive that had been saved from the factory, sorting out the incomplete material that was scattered about in piles of maps and boxes at different locations, and that contained a wide range of documents, blueprints, drawings and clippings, but mostly photographs.
For decades, the archive had been maintained by G. Berdusco, a meticulous archivist who, from what could be seen from the remains of his systems, obviously ran a tight ship. His archive included several intensely detailed and repeatedly updated instructions, written for employees who had no knowledge of cameras, flashes, or photography in general. While instructing them from step one up, the instructions were so detailed that they became incomprehensible, even for trained photographers. This might explain why so many seemingly identical images were taken. With Berdusco in mind, Stavast created a new way of accessing the archive by creating new categories based on selection criteria ranging from factual technical specifications and time-frame aspects to more artistic parallels. In her version of the archive, the appearance and characteristics of the archival material relate to its content and location, a relationship that is both visual and meaningful.