Rome 2014
At “You can’t go back home”
Curated by: Helia Hamedani
La Nube di Oort, Roma, June 2014

Home is a main theme in many of my projects. What makes this idea attractive in my mind is the experience of distance that one can feel when you leave your home, especially when the leaving is involuntary. When you leave your home, and eventually even your hometown and your homeland, you start to think about the idea of home as a concept.

In June 2014 I was invited to be a part of an exhibition in Rome called “I can’t go back home” for which I made a performance engaging with the deep sense of belonging that contemporary Romans feel in their city. In this performance, I tried to offer the audience a simple experience of distance, based on another part of Italian heritage: Perspective.

In the street in front of the gallery, I drew a map of Rome with chalk. Then I asked the audience to mark their homes on the map with coloured stones. Soon after, I guided them to walk away from the map and go to the end of the avenue to see the map and the stones on it from a distance. Then I washed the map. In the end what they could see was only the red stones on the asphalt and their distance from each other.

While I was drawing the map on the street, I had the unique experience of an interaction with the whole neighbourhood. Neighbours of the gallery noticed what I was doing and started coming out on to the streets to join me, bringing their chairs out and pouring glasses of wine for everyone around. While they were watching me make the map of Rome appear on the asphalt, they told me stories and memories from all of the different neighbourhoods of Roma that I was drawing!