Brownfield is not simply a book on industrial archaeology for its own sake: it is an image-based project intended to preserve the historical and social memory of a workplace and the people who work in it. The same historical memory that today is all too often discarded, as it is considered unhelpful to the development of a community.
Stefano Brianti, a photographer from Parma, recounts his experience inside the former Bormioli factory: “Vast, desolate spaces, emptied of every function”. Only the energy was still palpable, the energy of fire, fatigue, the energy of the machine that dominates man. A non-place, in which every corner and object I found along the way told a story, or more accurately two stories. The story of the Machine, and that of Man, whose sole purpose is to make the Machine work better, but capable of leaving a much more indelible mark than the Machine he had to control. I decided then that I would have to lose myself, in order to follow the traces of those stories, and so my trip there ended up lasting two months“.
True to form, Fermoeditore has chosen materials with an immediate visual and tactile impact, with a clear reference to the factory. The cover is a sheet of metal that appears cold and hard, but in fact soft. A door that opens out onto the sensory experience of uncoated, textured paper, covered by an invisible veil of starch, with a strong photographic impact. Some copies will be contained in a Plexiglas box held together by bolts– another reference to glass and the factory. The result is a work of art in just 300 copies – all numbered and signed by the author.
The photographs are accompanied by critical texts by Marco Adorni and William Gambetta, researchers from the Centro Studi di Movimenti (Parma) and by Paolo Barbaro, who graduated in literature with a thesis on the history of photography from the University of Parma in 1977, also the editor of the photography section of Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione of the same University .
Brownfield will be presented Sunday 16 December at 5.30 p.m. at TPalazzo (Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati, Parma Cathedral Road, 7); Speakers will include Fermo Tanzi (publisher), Stefano Brianti, author, Marco Adorni and William Gambetta, researchers from the Centro Studi Movimenti di Parma and Paolo Barbaro from the C.S.A.C (Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione), University of Parma, Professor of the history of photography.
The event will also mark the inauguration of a photographic exhibition devoted to the book, which will continue until December 26.