Third Nature, 2015 – 2017, series of 62 photographs (incl. found footage and reproductions), various dimensions. The ongoing series is part of the CALAMITA/À project.
Jan Stradtmann’s work “Third Nature” adopts a photographic approach to a historical incident, the Vajont dam disaster in Italy in 1963. After the dam reservoir was flooded, part of the mountain Monte Toc broke away and slipped into the reservoir on the Vajont River. Within a few minutes, the resulting flood wave swept over villages and towns along the river valley, which were partially submerged, and many people lost their lives. Geologists had warned in advance of the mountain’s instability, and the risk of a possible landslide was well known. Despite these warnings and some irregular practices during the application and planning process, the then-prestigious project went ahead.
“Third Nature” includes landscapes, portraits and still life shots of found objects. The landscape images were captured between 2015 and 2017 in natural areas and cities hit by the flood wave, including Longarone and Erto e Casso. The portraits of survivors’ descendants were photographed in domestic or urban environments in the city of Vajont. Inaugurated in 1971, Vajont was built about 50 km from the site of the disaster as a new home for survivors.
The combination of landscape images and portraits reflects an approach to historical facts that is repeated in the studio shots, where the concrete ‘object’ is not simply a given but is questioned in terms of its genesis, appearance and location. Nothing seems obvious. Real or fictitious searching, assertion and intervention are contemporary tools for investigating historical facts. More than 50 years after the catastrophe, Jan Stradtmann uses photography to document the current state of the site―the ‘how it is’ after the ‘how it was’―transforming the disaster into a metaphor for flawed decision making.
The title “Third Nature” references the Renaissance scholar Jacopo Bonfadio, who coined the term in the sixteenth century to capture the idea of a garden, distinguishing the artistically designed natural environment from wild nature. In the present context, the title refers to the geometric structure and symmetrical order of the model city of Vajont as projected on the drawing board.
“Facing The Damn Dam – Part I” “Revelation Silhouette“
„The Assumption Of A Mountain“
“Facing The Damn Dam – Part II”
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