Pari November 2011

In imagination and in reality, nature abounds everywhere in the Tuscan countryside, but when you zone in, things begin to change.
Within the village the narrative is of population depletion, and ageing constituencies. To address the inevitable extinction of local knowledge, a traditional agriculturist is invited to live with his young family in the village and so help fill an empty property. He shows a project of cataloguing native species of wheat whose gluten that unlike modern industrial strains does not cause all too common allergies.
Below the hills, practices of agriturismo help support the olive groves as at Vignella. The farmer demonstrates the crafts involved. But in the village the belief is that the 'system' can no longer use what abounds naturally to enable sustainable livelihood. EU regulations incapacitate age-old practices like the keeping of livestock. And at a time of austerity, the waste of natural resources becomes all the more visible. For example ginestra, a fragrant blooming bush thrives all over the Tuscan hills and along the roads. Once it was a vital part of the local economy used for fabric; but now it's unharvested and neglected. The labour involved is outside the present day logic of economy. Instead the shell of the medieval village plugs into modernity through tarmac roads, cable tv, cellphones and internet exposing incompatibilities between its ageing social constituencies and global currents. The practices are living metaphors of contemporary conflicts between permanence, traditional and transitional.
 

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