Creative engagement with an ordinary (im)mobile alpine landscape 

DiSSGeA Third Mission Activity

Moving Dolomites. Creative engagement with an ordinary (im)mobile landscape at Vallesina

The focus on mobility has inspired a recent Third Mission activity of the DiSSGeA Department, within the frame of the Interreg V-A Italia-Österreich Europen Regional Development Fund project. The activity aimed to reflect and act on the heritage value of an ordinary landscape in the Dolomite area (Eastern Alps), at the border of one of the nine systems that constitute the ‘authorised’ outstanding landscape of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond the ‘immobility’ of natural landscape conservationalternative, ordinary and lived landscapes can also have heritage value, as argued in this case study of the village of Vallesina. Thus the village became an ideal case study to suggest some reflections on mobility as a key category for identifying and enhancing the heritage value of alpine landscapes. The outputs of the research process (co-coordinated by MoHu members Benedetta Castiglioni and Mauro Varotto with the collaboration of Sara Luchetta from Ca’ Foscari University)  include a creative engagement with such landscape and the installation of 15 panels illustrated by artist Marina Girardi, which are displayed along a circular route and complemented by an audio-guide downloadable via a QR code.

Vallesina had a relevant role in the socio-economic life of the area up until World War II, but nowadays it is a place where depopulation and abandonment are the prevalent driving forces. In a constantly rushing and changing world, Vallesina is apparently immobile, stuck with population decline and activities delocalisation. Yet, as a set of past and current materialities, practices and meanings, a constellation of mobilities (Cresswell, 2010) started to inform the researchers’ gaze on the landscape of Vallesina, which began to disclose its heritage potential. Ancient streets and artefacts, human and nonhuman movements framing everyday past and present life, and collective and individual memories have intertwined in time, shaping a multifunctional unexpectedly mobile landscape.