Rioni study

A study of the names and symbols of the original rioni (regions), the 14 ancient neighborhoods that form the core of Rome.

Some of the 220 marble plaques installed by Pope Benedict XIV in 1744 are still to be found at the borders between the 14 districts — one from each is documented. The names are still in use and meaningful (Trastevere, Monti, Ponte, etc.) — the symbols less so. Marking an edge, each name and picture and number draw invisible lines through the city and point us to a specific moment, a need to establish meaning and place, boundaries and local character.

I’m interested in the faded pictograms, mostly rubbed out of the old marble, disappearing into history against a different backdrop. The texture of the place barely holds the images anymore. Taken as a new collection they link us to unknown, irrelevant stories, speaking a kind of half-discovered language that sits in the street and cues us to a ghost city. A place that both exists and no longer exists. I considered re-drawing the symbols but the pure verbal language, in a 3-way translation (image to word, Italian to English, and then to typography), resonates against the modern city texture in a totally unexpected way. And it signals a fourth translation too: past to present. Some kind of poetry is floating in front of me here, new words and images like titles to a film that will never exist.

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Rioni study | Soulellis -- Topsy.com

  2. LOVE

  3. I’m home now but this makes me homesick. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you for a proper goodbye before I left the Academy. Your blog brings it all close again. I plan to make it my morning wake up reading.

  4. Nanda it’s not the same here without you. I plan on seeing you again, east or west coast or somewhere between.

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