Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
In September 2009, Simon Jung and Paul & Hanno Schweizer painted a songbird over 4 storeys of a building in Naples, known throughout Italy as a stronghold for drug dealing. In this text the three artists describe the situation in Naples’s “problem area”, how they gained access to the neighbourhood and made contact with its inhabitants and what prompted them to undertake their project “Goldfinch”.
Naples, capital of the province of Campania, is faced with the same problems as many other areas in Southern Italy: corruption and the prevalence of mafia-like structures characterise economics and politics while society is plagued by high unemployment. No improvement is in sight: government and EU subsidies trickle away or are wasted on absurd building projects.
It would be difficult to find another area where these complex problems are more manifest than in Scampia. The neighbourhood was built from the 1970s to 1990s on the northern outskirts of Naples. 62,000 people are registered as residents of Scampia’s 4 square kilometres; 50-75% of the working population are unemployed.
Ever since Roberto Saviano’s book “Gomorra” became a bestseller and was filmed by Matteo Garrone, this neighbourhood has become famous in Italy and beyond as a gigantic drug market and scene of untold violent crimes. The lack of legal employment forces adolescents and young men to earn their money as look-outs or drug couriers. Many of them end up imprisoned or shot dead before they come of age.
Over the years one particular building complex in the heart of Scampia became a symbol of malevita, violent crime and drug dealing in Southern Italy. Anyone who has the means to do so, moves away from these high-rise blocks, known as vele (sails) because of their triangular shape.