Visual Alchemy

Maria Chiara Fagioli

Trumpism beyond the EU

Gearwheel with blades, enabled by the wind power, allows the grinding of raw materials belonging to the cereals supply chain. It’s a complex mechanical system, in the enviable Leonardesque picaresco style.
Straight across from the apologue of the “Windmill”, there’s the newly elected stars and stripes captain: Donald Trump.
As in the most unbelievable stories of NASA/ESA Star Wars, you have to take a step back at the time of Brexit. The first dart against the supranational union was thrown, increasing the collective syndrome of the evil foreigner. The Tower of Babel dusts off new the fishing fleets of duties and taxes, while the visa business may compensate for the Commonwealth independence bill. The lesson is established: the ancient “Veni, Vidi, Vici”, is soon replaced by the New Age “I invade, I exploit, I abandon”.
The old Europe, mother of the contemporary Occidental school of thought, bears, implies, is subject to.

In the end the election campaign depicts strong tones, appropriate to the US GDP levels, the highest in the world. Or testosterone apology. The world is the silent spectator of an invisible economic war, and a few naked masks.


While the Brexit spreads its wings, questions about the future exchanges raise. The academic affair becomes blurred, uncertain. It is not just increasing the debt annually or not, but what European students will deserve in UK and how they will be treated.

The strong wave of populism and dissatisfaction towards migrants is developing nationalist and alarmist consciences, despite the labour market is still healthy. These causes, seemingly far from places of intellectual awareness, label destructively a neighborhood.
Negotiations are still open and unpredictable, governments can observe the free trade and movement of persons, or consider hard Brexit.

The university is an investment in terms of assets and speculative resources, but the self-regulation of some realities may not guarantee social and meritocratic protection. Furthermore the right to work could be argued. There won’t be any substantial change with immediate impact. The University of Hertfordshire found a higher support for the “Remain” position. The benefits vary from relationships and challenges, to programs and grants, as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus. The importance of inclusion moves along the parallel lines of the competitiveness, and Britain could not be attractive anymore compared to other European destinations.

My first Jubilee

Enlightened chromatic gradients brighten up the dawning of our origins. Rome. An indomitable and fascinating woman, because it was originated by a she-wolf who keeps alive two abandoned twins, who later founded it. It will be for these reasons of wolf too, that perhaps the Eternal City is loved and hated by its own citizens alike, damned bewitched city. It is said that Romans have the keys to the whole world.

December 2015 marks an important date because of the Catholic Jubilee. For the first time I have attended two important events: its inauguration and the passage of the Holy Door.

Having lived mostly in the city of Popes, Angels and Demons, Crucifixes in schools, I opened my agnostic spirituality and a respectful and at the same time ironically irreverent dialogue, forgive my young age!, with one of the geographically and culturally closest religions. Strictly connected with Catholicism, except during the period of my kindergarten, my relationship was always quite peaceful, and despite not approving of certain passages and biblical roles, or a pressing marketing to the detriment of a pure gospel message, as if to say Protestantism or Dalai Lama philosophy, or how those who can’t get involved in love affairs can love, in fact everyone must believe in their own favourite dogmas or whatever.

The spiritual role should shape a humanity not only considering a functional standpoint. Although I always wondered how it could be a pure real agnostic life, with impartial show schedule, significant messages of progress and humanitarianism, in short free spiritual beings unaffected by implacable avenging gods.

We all have authorities who judge and punish, inner or guarantors of delicate systemic balances.

Questions that will never find response, although during my last trip to Canada I saw a rare example of well-structured  religious pluralism, and I had got the pleasure to relate peacefully with Christians, Muslims, Hindus, .. . Well done Canada!

And if there should be a world of religions, I hope it could be an open dialogue managing moderately all the diversities we can encounter.

My first Jubilee by agnostic is terminated inside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where I shared suspended moments of transcendental elevation with people from all parts of the world, codes translated into the language of the sacred universe. Immense silences in a magnetic union of souls.

We are the world we create.

Perspective rubbish and serial vandalism

A warm winter Sunday is a good reason to enjoy the city, living our time in a Christmas jovial atmosphere of colored lights.

Close to a rubbish a show of carefully stacked televisions is offered for free without time limits and additional costs, an unsigned series of installations en plein air left to the sad fate of the dumb storage endangered. From a distance the Roman Aurelian Walls, the midline between the destruction of Casilina Vecchia and Piazza Lodi.

Uncivilized acts in a public place. Similar casualness near Piazza Fiume, where a majestic sized telephone booth, from retro taste, was assaulted by vandals who inexplicably broke one of the glasses, thus shattering it into a million pieces on the ground.

Citizens live with an irrational fluctuating presence of discomfort and urban petty crime, 14%[1] of what cover vandalism, these are serious signs of incivility and disrespect of shared spaces, as well as wasting resources for the restoration of a substantial peaceful quality of life. In some areas, especially the most remote and isolated, graffiti, dirt roads and social suffering, such as prostitution, are a tolerated standard and it is also complicated a quick intervention by the authorities, also because these phenomena could be also reported with difficulty.

A few people acts, almost daily, going to affect an entire society basically, an offense not so much to the previously established order as coexistence with other human beings, intended as the opposite of beauty, the disgust for our territory. In the end, you can paint with the spray in agreed areas and free bulky waste collections are to be withdrawn door-to-door from the waste service company in Rome. Some countries, we can mention Cotgrave[2] in Nottinghamshire, UK, have highlighted the importance of multi-agency and programmatic information sharing in order to prevent acts of harassing and sensitize citizens to actively participate in the social fabric, educating to a sense of belonging to the public good.

In short much ado about nothing, or perhaps individual and social indifference contours are scaled on empathy basis.

[1] Martucci P., Lupi S. (n.d.) – La microcriminalità: analisi del fenomeno e delle strategie di prevenzione e contrasto –—luglio-settembre/studi/la-microcriminalit%C3%A0-analisi-del-fenomeno-e-delle-strategie-di-prevenzione-e-contrasto

[2] Wheeler B. (2013) – Why are vandalism rates falling? –

What is the human dimension

The last time global leaders met for round table talks concerning global warming was in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009, an ambitious program that ended up in a stalemate.

At the beginning there was scepticism into this topic, preferring to follow a less alarmist and radical line. After missing the boat of Kyoto Protocol, gradually reasonable circumstances reminded to treat these issues globally. How to forget the artificial sun of the polluted city of Beijing and the recent warnings not to leave the house because of the smog, furthermore the difficulties in agriculture especially for the poorest countries and the big questions about how to feed sustainably all the inhabitants of this planet in the future, the potential environmental disasters caused by the increase in global temperatures.

Actually we can consider the following evidences:

  • an increasing sea level of some 3 mm per year;
  • glaciers in retreat at an annual rate of 4%;
  • earlier flowering and fruiting times, changes in the territory.

Among these alerts, leading authorities of the world will conduct a panel discussion starting by the UN meeting in Paris to continue into future conferences, regarding a shared policy on climate change. We have many initiatives around the globe under the leitmotif “There won’t be a B-planet”. Any debate on the evolution or extinction of the human species could raise awareness about our habits and their impact on the world, thus principles of universal ethics, so humanity will have to consider its own nature in a shared environment, even before profit. The question will evolve into a new form of energy conversion and social models, basically we should not prefer to go back to the Stone Age, giving new impulses to the local and global economy by building happy green islands from the ruins of cement, eco-monsters, environmental anomalies, greenhouse gas emissions.

The first signs of change in Rome coincide with private and public initiatives, chasing on the razor’s edge the history of humanity that slowly flows on the turtle shell, one of the Native American totems. We are responsible for what happens in the world.

Photos exhibited at Real Life Award 2016.

Menier Gallery, London
1 – 6 Feb 2016

Go to my Flickr account to see high resolution photos. >>


It was like watching at one of those films set during a post-atomic bombing in the middle of nowhere, where people live in a filthy state of decay and wander around the barely illuminated streets like rotting wrecks. Monsters came out from the walls and they enhance the life-blood of human beings, depriving them of creative intelligence and acts of courage and beauty. Delinquency and protectors of justice were confused, in particular justice was threatened with a machete between the indifference of drug dealers, complacent people, the old communist symbols liberally stretched out towards mystical and paranormal nostalgia, a strong desire to return to a barter economy, hawkers selling futility under the counter in spite of those who struggle to sell goods over the counter. San Lorenzo is a fifteen-minute walk to Termini station in Rome, a district between the grotesque and the medieval surrealism of reason in an analysis carried out by the end of summer at the dawn of winter. Immutable activities, lazy signs of change, unheard complaints and shirker services.

Who is guilty, who is blessed, the memory of the fracture between Roman fascism and the activity of liberation points out lost letters on the monuments inside the park, double amputations in the history of Italy which has seen neighbours acting for the extinction of the human races, bombs on civilians, and a precious Constitution emerged from horrors and not imposed. Then silence, after years of class conflicts, in the safe Harbor of a guaranteed subsistence. You get used to abusive posters and to the billions of adhesives covering even road signs, the rude and irresponsible excess become an alibi for questionable freedom of expression, so far away from the thoughts of coexistence started during the ’60s. The bottles have been left in the new square in front of the church after a fun night.

The district feature is hypocritically hidden behind a Guicciardini dimension for my peculiar business their greatness, an Italian story, the other half of the big apple, the defeated of Verga and the indifferent Moravian bourgeoisie, inside the most filthy rooms of the open Sartrian prison among dark tunnels and discontent, abject connivance poorly tolerated. Humanity involves living imperial ancient times and a blind present. No longer you are going to the big questions of life, but you act like a ghost among the present ruins, unable to discern the truth and to build critical individual thinking. The founding fathers of our nation observe series b citizens abused, ignored, invisible, so distant from the powerful meaning of the Constitution itself for mediocre short-term horizons: a common thinking for shared collective anti-values, the spirit of initiative is sedated. So, is freedom just leaving the bottle on the ground?

While waiting to cut the next ribbon for the umpteenth Italian electoral purposes disguised as souvenirs for the community, perhaps secretly we could regret the great dictators whilst we observe defenceless our inability to self-manage ourselves responsibly in the daily community.

Art will tear us apart.

A youth friendly city in Rome

Rome, San Giovanni district, 2015, early in the afternoon.

Walking through the streets of a central area, close to Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, you could enjoy a reasonably pleasant weather in a warm Roman bright October day. You would not expect in a small park next to the road to find the ambiguous and decadent side of the capital of Italy: children playing between syringes, trash cans overflowing, rough roads, tall grass. Europe seems a distant place, almost self-denial, Rome abandons the concept of civilization in relation to the future, is living a daily lazy present. A short-term mentality sinks its roots into a generation of young people growing up accustomed to latent resignation and mental degradation, where extremes meet to create the biggest of contradictions: the ugly beautiful.

Powers and glories, angels and demons, what remains are the chronicles of a sleeping city, dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, sometimes intolerant in its proverbial reception, but perhaps the lost paradise for children. The following photo essay reflects on the abandoned areas and its consequences, from the lack of green areas to the accessibility and safety of the public areas, but also poor hygiene and pollution.

It should therefore be considerable the creation of healthy habits during the critical age of adolescents, giving them notions such as eco-city on a human scale, building a policy on childhood, and best practices as the basis for a future collectivity.



The walk continues exploring newneighbourhoods and sociocultural contexts like schools and universities. In that symbiosis between ordinary and extraordinary, there’s a charging point for electric vehicles in Piazza Istria, a public square that could serve the citizens if a large petrol car doesn’t occupy the park illegally, taking up 3/4 of the available floor space. There’s no shortage of ideas, but good sense or common sense should be improved for an easier coexistence of relations, nothing more simple.

Analysing the infrastructures of urban spaces designed for children, the mirage of a walkable – bikeable city can lead to an effective eco smart Rome. Respect to many places in California,  you could only hypothesize, because of a substantial lack of data, that only a few of young people between 18 and 24 may use go biking or walking to school/university in Rome. There’s a strong evidence in front of these educational institutions: too many scooters, few initial references to sharing economy.

Insights, future development. >>