Passing through the city of Carrara here in Italy I’m reminded of our recent conversation about stone and columns and memory. The quarries here in the mountain produced marble for so many sculptures and columns all over the world, linking Michelangelo’s Pietà to the steps of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, to the Grande Arché de Défense in Paris and Marble Arch in London, to the Pantheon in Rome and Washington’s Peace Monument. This single mountain, cut piece by piece since Roman times, is the invisible centre point of all that mankind wanted to celebrate. Yet the mountain itself, dying a slow death of a thousand cuts, suffers silently, losing almost a million tonnes every year. I feel a possible project here. I might call it Lingchi.
Michelangelo was assigned to restart the marble production by pope Leo X, who was Lorenzo de’Medici’s son. From 1515 to 1518 he worked here to design the Seravezza roads, along which 25-ton marble blocks were manually transported using an ancient system of sleds and pulleys, operated by 14-year old workers on the steepest of slopes. Up until the 1966. No wonder the contemporary anarchist movement rooted here so strongly.
Your image reminds me of the Srebrenica genocide, Milosević, and Ratko Mladić’s Scorpions, even though I don’t remember seeing tattoos. Predators again. I was young, and it was the first time that I felt the closeness of a war. A city besieged. Their streets were our streets. Their clothes were our clothes. No superficial distance, in culture or otherwise. This was home. The red resin of the Sarajevo Rose.
Later at night I hear that Portugal won the football cup. Somehow, even though I’d avidly followed every game until then, I fail to see its value that evening . I take note and move on.
My soul feels heavy and thick as marble. I hope all is well, my friend.