A study visit to Palermo, Sicily during the first year of the MArch exploring the spectral futures and hauntings of the city and nearby towns. As part of this studio trip we looked to uncover the layered narratives that find themselves as phantasms of the city's urban grain and haunt the nearby towns and ghost towns such as Gibellina.
Learning to Haunt Palermo.
On Day 01 we began our exploration of the city of Palermo, discovering the unique aspects of it's urban grain through the small dotted shrines and the eclecticism of it's architecture hinting at the super-impositions of religions through it's history. Walking down the various tight streets also began to show the interesting light and shadow quality that seemed to curate the stories of the city visiting places such as the Gallery of Palazzo Abatellis in Palermo which saw the touch of Carlo Scarpa through later renovations; the Church of San Cataldo and the Chiesa di Santa Maria just to name a few.
The Ghosts of Future/Past.
Today we aimed to venture outside the city and into the mountains and nearby towns to discover how the ghosts of Palermo's past have impacted it's future and if that is a future that is truly deserved or simply the hauntings of a failed eden. Prior to leaving the city, on this overcast day, I got glimpses of the city's not so beautiful side, the shanty rooves and highly dense streets that seemed to litter parts of the city but seemingly ignored like the tales of ghost sitings.
Upon arriving to Poggioreale Nuova, we instantly noticed something odd in what was supposed to be created to be a new place to live after the original town of Poggioreale was destroyed in the wake of the Belice Valley Earthquake in 1968. The town seemed empty, only the rare siting of any residence to be found through the town, one could have mistaken it as the ghost town.
The remnant ruins of the town of Gibellina which was destroyed by an earthquake. Exploring it's ruins on a rainy and misty morning, the only sound from echoes of rain drops upon the town's built memories whispered the stories of the lives who once inhabited it's streets and homes.
Our visit to Cretto di Burri quickly reminded me of the remnant cracks left by the earthquake that destroyed Gibellina but magnified to a gigantic scale. In the wake of the downpour the memorial became infinitely more difficult to traverse due to the wet floors, however the rain also revealed the impact of rain on the material creating changes in the wall faces.
Our Final Town visit was to the town of Gibellina Nuova, designed with the help of various artists to be a new eclectic town of the future, however, this town also seemed to be more on the ghostly side, seeing more animals than residence. The itegration of the art in the urban planning of the town seemed to cater more for the aesthetic rather than the function, it was a town the did not listen to the ghosts of it's past.