lunedì 19 ottobre 2015

The new cinema Makò

When you come to Cordenons and visit for the first time the former cotton mill "Rätz" (known as "Makò" because it processed the homonymous yarn), you feel like you're in an old-fashioned movie theatre of a little village, similar to Giuseppe Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso".
A board with numbers, a machine that looks like a projector and the sliding doors like those you find in a cinema auditorium make the atmosphere surreal.
But it is only imagination, while the movie you watch through the broken windows, the bare walls, the puddles on the floor of the empty sheds is much more realistic. It talks about a factory that employed about 1000 workers up to thirty years ago, but now is just a shadow of its former self.
Thanks to the activities carried out by the association Il Mio Makò this industrial archaeology site is less neglected than other abandoned cotton mills in the Pordenone area. But this is not enough: the site needs a clear project and a huge investment. By whom? I would say by the region*** Friuli Venezia Giulia, since it's provided by law 24/1997 that the region itself "is promoting the protection and the enhancement of the testimonies related to labour and to industrial heritage as important elements of its own history".
Some might say that the region lacks sufficient funds. However in Italy there are not only regions but also a central government and its Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities. The latter has financed and is financing a lot of movies, which were recognised as being "of cultural interest", but that, as a matter of fact, have nothing to do with "culture" (see - italian only - the Sky cinema enquiry Ciak! Paga lo Stato!).
The problem, therefore, is not the lack of money but the (bad) way in which money is spent, with the result that really interesting cultural sites like the Makò in Cordenons are actually neglected in favor of low-quality italian comedies.
Do you know the slogan "Italians do it better?" Well, it does not refer to "culture".

That's all.

***regions are first-level administrative divisions in Italy. Cordenons lies in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

Cordenons cotonificio Makò entrata
Cordenons cotonificio Makò tabellone
Cordenons cotonificio Makò porta ascensore
Cordenons cotonificio Makò macchinario
Cordenons cotonificio Makò finestra
Cordenons cotonificio Makò scala esterna
Cordenons cotonificio Makò esterni
Cordenons cotonificio Makò capannone
Cordenons cotonificio Makò
Cordenons cotonificio Makò ballatoio
Cordenons cotonificio Makò scala interna
Cordenons cotonificio Makò capannone
Cordenons cotonificio Makò riflessi
Cordenons cotonificio Makò finestra
Cordenons cotonificio Makò finestra

mercoledì 14 ottobre 2015

From cotton mills to industrial cemeteries

The Pordenone area case

From the mid-19th century till the late 1980s, five big cotton mills were working in the Pordenone area (northeastern Italy): three of them in Pordenone (Borgomeduna, Torre, Rorai Grande), one in Cordenons and one in Fiume Veneto.
With the exception of a part of the old dye works in Torre, all the other sites are completely abandoned and have become cemeteries, in a very real sense. No human beings are buried there, just their past. It's not necessary to bring flowers there: plants of every kind freely grow on the stories of more than 12.000 people (mostly women) who worked there.
Pictures below (taken in Borgo Meduna, Cordenons and Torre) clearly show the very serious state of decline of these sites. I'm quite willing to say that it always breaks my heart to see our history treated like trash, without any respect for all the people who actually made that history, as did mrs Maria Colin, mrs Ortenilla Bailot, mrs Candida Canton, who started working in the cotton mills when they were 13, 12 and 11 years old respectively.

"I got to a certain age and I worked in a ward where there has always been just a few of us. Those few have already died because they were older than me", said Lucia Radegonda, former cotton mill worker (source: Friuli occidentale la storia le storie).
Let's make sure that the cotton mills and the stories of their workers don't die too. This is exactly what the volunteers of the association "Il mio Makò" are trying to do in Cordenons (which will be the subject of the following post) and their battle is anything but easy. The other cotton mills are simply gasping for life.

Mrs Colin, mrs Bailot, mrs Canton, mr Radegonda and other former workers of the cotton mills in the Pordenone area were interviewed a few years ago by some local historians. All the interviews are available (italian only) here.

For brief historical info (italian only) about the cotton mills in the Pordenone area click here (no direct link, you have to use the search box)

That's all.

cotonificio Amman Borgomeduna Pordenone
Cotonificio Makò Cordenons
ex tintoria Torre di Pordenone
ex tintoria Torre di Pordenone cotone
ex tintoria Torre di Pordenone cotone
cotonificio Amman Borgomeduna Pordenone
Cotonificio Amman Borgomeduna Pordenone
ex tintoria Torre di Pordenone
ex tintoria cotonificio Torre di Pordenone
Cotonificio Amman Borgomeduna Pordenone
Cotonificio Makò Cordenons Pordenone
Cotonificio Amman Borgomeduna Pordenone
Cotonificio Amman Borgomeduna Pordenone sala macchine
Cotonificio Makò Cordenons
ex tintoria cotonificio Torre di Pordenone
cotonificio Makò Cordenons

lunedì 12 ottobre 2015

Echoes from the past: the hydrodynamic plant of Trieste

The old port of Trieste, extending as it does over 60 hectares, is an abandoned public site, where the number of stray cats exceeds the number of human beings that you can see here and there. Almost all the buildings are in a very poor shape, due to the lack of indoor and outdoor maintenance for over thirty years. Among the very few renovated buildings there's the hydrodynamic plant which, through its extensive network of piping, supplied power to operate all the cranes and hoists in the port from 1890 to 1988, when it was closed.
While looking at the machines inside the plant I felt I went back in time, when industry was much more important than now and it was the workers who guided and used the machines, not the artificial intelligences, as it happens nowadays.

The following pics are dedicated to all these workers.

p.s. pics where taken yesterday during a guided tour led by some volunteers of "Italia nostra" (a cultural association which is actively involved in the protection of Italy's historical, artistic and natural heritage).

Centrale idrodinamica Trieste
Centrale idrodinamica dettaglio macchinario
Centrale idrodinamica ingranaggio
Centrale idrodinamica Breitfeld Danek
Centrale idrodinamica chiave inglese
Centrale idrodinamica dettaglio bulloni
Centrale idrodinamica Trieste pompa
Centrale idrodinamica porto
Centrale idrodinamica
Centrale idrodinamica trieste indicatori
Centrale idrodinamica Trieste caldaia
Centrale idrodinamica manovella
Centrale idrodinamica manovella ruota
Centrale idrodinamica dettaglio caldaia

venerdì 2 ottobre 2015

A time for gypsies

This is my personal tribute to the Roma people that I met so far. Many times they suffer from prejudices due mostly to… ignorance. As for my personal experience I can just say that all the people who I met were really hospitable, they let me get into their homes, they offered me food and coffee, they let me spend some time with them. They gave me the possibility to see the way they live, even if it isn't always easy. Therefore I just wish to thank them… for everything.
That's all.

Uomo, Rom, Bijeljina
Uomo, Rom, Kosovo
Donna, Rom; Sarajevo
Ragazzi Rom
Donna, Rom, Guerra, Bosnia
Donna, Rom
Interno casa Rom
Donna, Rom, Trieste
Cimitero, Rom, Bijeljina
Cimitero, Rom, Bijeljina