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. Therefor Marina Caneve creates 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 (explored with the support of the geologist Emiliano Oddone), an anthropological vision (in dialogue with anthropologist Annibale Salsa) 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.

* The project started after discovering the theory of a geologist which supposes that the hydrogeological catastrophe happened in 1966 in the Dolomite mountains will repeat after 100 years. He elaborated this idea according the analysis of the landscape, historical studies and to the theory of return periods.

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