The Post-War Dream
journey to Anthropocene

In the late summer of 2016, I spent six weeks in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region where I documented the transformation of some of the most influential cities in the region: Ordos, Hohhot, and Baotou. While looking back on the images I had taken, I was unexpectedly reminded of post-war Italian cinema in which the images had shared a common theme of booming developments occurring in the historic cities of Italy.

 

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

The shocking similarity between images 50 years apart testify to a dominant, globalized, and normalized character of these settlement processes. There is a common denominator, which seems to cancel the geography and the temporal distance between the events told by my visual-journey. The gaze moves in silent and mysterious places that seem to push the viewer beyond the empirical evidence towards an almost dreamlike dimension, or a “post dream” scenario.

 

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

During my journey in the Inner Mongolia region, I discovered that no matter the scale, the definition of a habitat tends to be homologated. I experienced the impact of the present geological “Anthropocene” era, where landscape, earth system processes, and dynamics are altered by humans. The project questions the space for another version of the city, beyond the apocalyptic dystopia laid ahead by a great metropolis of the twenty-first century.

 

Alessandro Zanoni / The Post-War Dream

The abrupt acceleration that urbanism has achieved at the beginning of the new millennium is no surprise. Post-war urbanization responded to the need for real housing policies in an increasingly industrial society that was huddled at the gates of ancient cities. On the other hand, from what we can observe in China, there is a projection of needs not entirely expected, foreshadowing the construction of a priori housing complexes which are often left empty. This is why the few people we see appear to us more like mannequins, puppets of a show that got out of hand, or victims like mythological shadows of a stage from a destiny in which they are excluded.

 

The Post-War Dream / A Visual Journey into the Anthropocene
by Alessandro Zanoni
2018 / Edition: 104 pages / 150 signed and numbered copies / English and Mandarin
Texts: Marco Bertozzi, Elena Rapisardi, Chen Liu
In collaboration with: Steve Bisson of Urbanautica Institute
Please visit the publication page >

Officine Creative Italiane, Perugia, Italy
Presentation event: January 9, 2020
Please visit the venue site >

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