Una Storia Italiana (An Italian Story) is a series of photographs commissioned for an exhibition at the Si Fest #20 Festival (September 2011) which explored the region of Savignano sul Rubicone, Italy. The work aims to interrogate interactions between geography, urban landscapes and explore the ways in which our environments are shaped by shifting economic dynamics. These preoccupations have long been vital in Roberts’ practice, together with a deep-rooted interest in identity, both on an individual and national scale.
This set of photographs is a meditation on Savignano, exploring the region’s shifting economic landscape. The work also aims to function as a microcosm of contemporary Italian society, reflecting some of the wider social, political and economic challenges facing the country at large during this period of austerity. The images chart a progression through the region, following the flow of the Rubicone river from the historical town centre of Savignano where many traditional shops are closing and the economic impact of the mall is being felt, through the hinterland region where new homes are being built and road networks extended, and ending at the commercial mall, located in a farming area near the coastline.
The title of the series, Una Storia Italiana, is borrowed from Silvio Berlusconi’s propaganda booklet, which was mailed to millions of homes in the run-up to the 2001 Italian General Election. The photographs map the slow but unavoidable changes that are occurring throughout this territory, creating a narrative that highlights contrasting aspects of the landscape and their multi-layered significance for the diverse population that inhabits it.