Marcello Grassi, Herculaneum
curated by Massimo Mussini
Based on what the earth has kept hidden from our eyes for centuries, Herculaneum invites us to reflect on how “humble” (a term derived from the Latin “humus”, meaning soil) and precarious we are in the face of history, and as we stand before these ruins that ask to be listened to and not just observed.
In an area that is now home to two million people, the remains of the Roman cities destroyed by the eruption of 79 AD chronicle a story that has come to an end, but they also tell of a likely future event that all-powerful nature is preparing and which mankind is awaiting, while entrusting to technologies – listening technologies – that are as complex as they are sometimes futile.
The photographer runs through the sun-baked stones, the deserted roads, the resistant walls, painstakingly extracted from a twenty-metre layer of tuff after centuries of oblivion, and resubmits them to our eyes so that we might be reminded not only of the myth itself but also of the possibility of a menacing future, in which the invisibility of the volcano makes the danger looming overhead imperceptible to all.