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Are They Rocks or Clouds?

Marina Caneve

Are They Rocks or Clouds? is a multifaceted photographic project that is based on the hypothese of the occurrence of a huge hydrogeological catastrophe in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy. Facing this idea Caneve was not moved by a necessity to document any catastrophe in its occurrence, either to celebrate the beauty of the mountains’ environment.

Hydrogeological risk for the mountains, such as climate crisis elsewhere, has become a prominent issue, which one can hardly imagine if not after something catastrophic happens. Therefore Marina Caneve builds a scenario for an environmental catastrophe to happen, through blending her research and archival footages, texts, and her own photographs. Caneve also questions the structure of our knowledge on mountainous areas which could benefits greatly if we allow different perspectives: from historical material, technical knowledge, an anthropological vision and of the inhabitants of the area themselves.

The project lacks a straight narrative, its layout (in the book or in exhibitions) constantly introduces deviations – used as a metaphor of the layering of rocks which constitutes the inner structure of mountains, thus showcasing their vulnerability.

‘Are They Rocks or Clouds?’ balances information, history and visual pleasure as the reader is asked to confront the risks we take, as humans, in our effort to live comfortably while also pushing the lim-its of how we interact with the natural world.

(Lesley A. Martin, The Dummy Photobook Prize, Cortona On The Move, 2018)

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