Come l’acqua soffia come il vento scorre


As the water blows as the wind flows (Come l’acqua soffia come il vento scorre) is the title of the permanent exhibition conceived by Alex Urso for the spaces of the Sistus V Mill in Montalto delle Marche (Ascoli Piceno): a contemporary revisitation of the wonderful photography archive located inside this very building. While the upper level features more than 50 historic shots dating back to the early and late 20th century, the first floor of the ancient structure presents a large selection of works by Urso based on the same visual heritage. Therefore, as one moves from one level of the building to the next, it’s like taking a leap in time between past and present.
The layout of this exhibition includes four sections, each dedicated to a specific theme. Visitors are welcomed into the large entrance hall. This area of the show is characterized by furnishings from the past, and aims to lead visitors into a space that represents an era long gone. The journey continues following the sound of an audio track coming from the room next door. This part of the show features a series of four puzzles inspired by shots in the historic archives. Displayed in frames, these works invite the audience to think about “gaps” in time. Actually, each of the works has a series of missing “pieces”: fragments of memory that are lost to obscurity. In the background, visitors hear the voice of Renata, who lived in the mill as a child with her family as her father was the miller.

The third room is entirely dedicated to a large selection of works in augmented reality. These are photographs that belong to the history of Montalto delle Marche, dating from the first and second half of the 20th century. In each photo, the people have been digitally removed, but their silhouettes remain in the images as “ghost” presences, reappearing through the use of augmented reality: by placing their device in front of the image, they will see women, men and children “materialize” in the composition, coming back to life thanks to these new technologies. This effect is meant to serve as a reflection on the relationship between past and present, and on the value of technology in sharing collective memory. This installation also includes heaps of grain, emblematic of the mill, and other sound installations. Multimedia art once again takes centre stage as part of the last chapter of the exhibition: the fourth room focuses on two videos, which were shot in the 1990s during re-enactments of the harvest and threshing stages.