Climate Emergency: Photographing the Aftermath to Change the Future

Saturday, Sep 30, 2023 2 – 4 pm

500 N. Michigan Ave, Ste 1450, Chicago, IL 60611

Climate Emergency: Photographing the Aftermath to Change the Future: Silvia Camporesi and Giovanni Aloi in conversation

Saturday, September 30 at 2:00pm CT

Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago

In May 2023, heavy rainfall caused devastating flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. Over 50,000 people were displaced and 15 died as the worst floods in 100 years caused 10 billion euros worth of damage to buildings, infrastructures, farming, and agricultural businesses. Over 23 rivers overflowed at once submerging 41 towns—including Bologna, Forli, Cesena, and Ravenna—and communities in thick, gray mud. The humanitarian crisis that followed brought the nation together—armies of wellies-wearing volunteers armed with shovels and buckets descended upon the area to help those in need. 

Photographer Silvia Camporesi, who lives in Forli, documented the events, building day by day an unprecedented archive of devastation and hope that only the eye of an experienced and compassionate artist could compile. In this conversation, Art Historian from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Giovanni Aloi and Camporesi dwell on the ethical and aesthetic complications involved in the creation of this haunting and iconic series of photographs. Together, they question the importance of documentaristic legacies and the need for poetic interventions in the aftermath of incommensurable trauma.

Free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

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Silvia Camporesi (b. 1973) is a philosophy graduate who uses the languages of photography and video for her tales inspired by myth, literature, religions, and real life. More recently, her research has been dedicated to the Italian landscape. Since 2004, her work has been exhibited in solo shows in Italy: Dance dance dance, (MAR, Ravenna, IT, 2007); Planasia (European Photography Festival, Reggio Emilia, IT, 2014); Genius Loci (MAC, Lissone, IT, 2017). International solo shows include: À perte de vue (Chambre Blanche, Quebec, 2011); 2112 (Saint James Cavalier, Valletta, 2013); Atlas Italiae (Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg, 2015; Art Musing, Mumbai, 2017; Desfours Palace, Prague, 2018). Some of her group exhibitions are also worth mentioning: Italian camera (Isola di San Servolo, Venice, 2005); Con gli occhi, con la testa, col cuore (MART, Rovereto, IT, 2012); Italia inside out (Palazzo della Ragione, Milan, 2015); Extraordinary visions (MAXXI, Rome, 2016 e Kolkata Centre, 2019); The Quest for Happines (Serlachius Museum, Mänttä, Finland, 2019-2020); Italia in-attesa. Dodici racconti fotografici (Palazzo Barberini, Rome, 2021); Fuori tutto (MAXXI, Roma, 2023). In 2007, she was awarded the Celeste Prize for photography; in 2008 and 2010 she was among the finalists of the Talent Prize and the Terna Prize respectively. In 2013 she obtained the Francesco Fabbri Prize for photography, in 2015 the Rotary Prize by Artefiera, in 2016 the BNL Prize and Cantica21 prize in 2021. She has published nine books; she combines her artistic activity with teaching. Her works are exhibited in public and private collections, including: MAXXI, Rome; Farnesina collection, Rome; MART, Rovereto; BNL Group, Milan; GNAM, Roma.

Prof. Giovanni Aloi is an author, educator, and curator specializing in the representation of nature in art. He has published with Columbia University Press, Phaidon, MIT, Laurence King, and Prestel. He has contributed to BBC radio programs, worked at Whitechapel Art Gallery and Tate Galleries in London, is USA correspondent for Esse Magazine, and a regular public speaker at the Art Institute of Chicago. Aloi has curated exhibitions in the US and Europe. He currently teaches modern and contemporary art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Sotheby’s Institute of Art New York and London.


Image credit: Silvia Camporesi, Senza Titolo, May 17, 2023 © Silvia Camporesi