The Spectators

Project in process
Residency by CALAMITA/Á – curated by Gianpaolo Arena and Marina Caneve.
Published in ‘The Walking Mountain’

In October 9th, 1963, almost 2000 people died in the Vajont catastrophe, due to a landslide followed by the dam flooding. Inhabitants of Erto e Casso, small settlements overlooking the Vajont lake, watched the tragedy happen in front of them. Although mostly unharmed, authorities forced them to evacuate the area day after the tragedy, making it impossible to return to their houses for indistinct reasons, the ’Wall of Shame’ was built rapidly, a roadblock that prevented people to go back to their houses. Many locals claim that for them, the real tragedy started following the disaster; the failure of the court of justice, the power of the companies, dishonest compensations and the ignorant treatment by authorities. In 1966, a group of 60 families went back to their houses illegally and lived there for over 8 years in inhumane conditions, without running water or electricity. After that, the suppression dissolved and although esteemed ridiculous and unnecessary by the inhabitants, new houses were built. ‘The Spectators’ focusses on the inhabitants of Erto e Casso that were both spectators of the ’63 tragedy and part of ‘gli illegal’, a self-mocking nickname for the families that returned to what was theirs and struggled against injustice.