Museo per la memoria di Ustica, Bologna, 2007
Softbound, 21 x 14 cm
20 pages, black and white photographs
Available upon request
List of personal items belonging to passengers on flight IH870
Il folle volo (The mad flight), Dante, Inferno, XXVI, 125, l’alto volo (the high flight) Dante, Paradiso XV, 54 and XXV, 50.
“Ladies and gentlemen. good evening. Brief communications about the flight from the cockpit…”
Boltanski, in this book that serves as a catalogue for the Museum for the memory of Ustica, reports the words that the passengers on the tragic journey must have heard, who with more attention, who chatting with their fellow passengers, just as we all do when we are on a scheduled flight.
At 8.59 p.m. on 27 June 1980, above the sea strip separating the Italian islands of Ponza and Ustica, 81 people died on flight IH870, which suddenly deconstructed and crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Decades after the massacre, the dynamics of the accident are not fully understood.
Boltanski, in order to tell us about this event, which still today stains Italian history, makes lists, his artistic signature, of all the objects found. This work of cataloguing records a passage that is not only of quantity – in the exhibition the objects are collected but left covered with black cloths, far from prying eyes – but above all of quality: how do you keep the memory not of illustrious biographies, but of mostly anonymous lives?
After the collective trauma of two world wars and the strabismus that afflicted Italy in the 1970s, and in the context of a civilization of mass consumption, where individual existences all resemble each other in their unbridled homologation, the accumulation, seriality and list of objects and images are transformed from inert containers into powerful means of expression.
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