MINES’ STORIES: LANDSCAPE SAMPLED, MELTED, CATALOGUED


MINES’ STORIES is the renovation project, curatorship and exhibition design of the Minerals and mines museum of Elba. This island has a geological, mineralogical and historical-mining heritage of inestimable value. Thanks to its rocks, it has been possible to understand the geological evolution of the Mediterranean basin, while the study of its minerals has been crucial for advancements in mineralogical sciences. But it is for its iron deposits that the island has been known since ancient times. The iron deposits on the island are, in fact, among the oldest in the world and the most important in Italy, and have played a role of primary importance from an economic, scientific and cultural point of view, especially for the eastern coast of the island that, throughout four millennia, has been almost exclusively devoted to mining. This activity inevitably affected both the appearance of the landscape, transforming it into an artificial landscape, and the development of the area around the small village of Rio Marina. 
MINES’ STORIES investigates the many aspects that have contributed over time to build the imagery and identity of this landscape and unveils them through an interior design project. The collective memory connected to these places is thus told through a series of archival documents - historical cartography, devices and work tools, minerals and extracted rocks - and unpublished materials that can exhibit a narrative that is still unexpressed. 
MINES’ STORIES is a project that refuses to accept locality as touristic entertainment but rather becomes a tool to support a specificlandscape and its need for representation. The landscape is not passively contemplated but restlessly sampled, melted, cast and catalogued. 
MINES’ STORIES accepts the challenge of presenting an undisclosed landscape by investigating the relationship between landscape, nature and material culture and the relationships between objects and tradition. more


1 - AN INTRODUCTION: a geological map of the island and a collection of thirty minerals found around Rio Marina. Eight objects illustrating the four geological eras of the island. 2 - TIME: a plexiglass and metal structure displays the geological evolution of the island through a series of horizontal sections. 3 - STORIES OF LIFE: ancient cabinets from the mine offices contain videos, images and documents that tell the stories of the miners and their families. 4 - CINEMA: videos from “Istituto Luce” are projected on a thick curtain that wraps up in the dark the whole room. INTERLUDE: a bench to rest and a big a window overlooking a model of the mines. 5 - TOOLS: mining tools and instruments describe the actions and work of the miners. 6 - MINERALS: a series of the most important minerals from the museum’s archive. 7 - IRON: iron in all its declination and uses: from the chemical element to the artistic work.


FIELDWORK, CURATORSHIP, EXHIBITION DESIGN
With Paola Ostellino and Giulia Novati
Elba (IT), 2021