7 June 2021

IMMUREMENT (from Latin im- “in” and murus “wall”; literally “walling in”) is a form of imprisonment, usually until death, in which a person is sealed within an enclosed space with no exits.

Immurement is an urban and anthropological research to reflect on the new possible ways to re-invent the cities of the future.
We often talk about living in a borderless society but, while for ages humans continued to create barriers inside and outside themselves, we now live in a world where new borders are rising everyday threatening our personal freedom. These borders are often very physical.
These barriers are so common to everyone’s eye that we grew unaware of them.
In Rome walls are omnipresent. Some of them have seen the Roman empire to rise and became eventually the foundation for other walls century after century, layer over layer.
While 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050, we are still planning and living our cities following an obsolete approach with only some exceptions that are still considered experimental.
Are there any possible solutions that can help build a new more sustainable future, an open society for the next generation to live in?

Immurement è una ricerca urbana e antropologica per riflettere sui nuovi possibili modi per reinventare le città del futuro.
Parliamo spesso di vivere in una società senza confini ma, mentre per secoli gli esseri umani hanno continuato a creare barriere barriere interne ed esterne al loro corpo, ci ritroviamo a vivere ora in un mondo in cui nuovi confini stanno sorgendo minacciando ogni giorno la nostra libertà personale. Questi confini sono spesso materiali.
Queste barriere sono così comuni per i nostri occhi che ne quasi passano inosservate di fronte ai nostri occhi.
A Roma le mura sono onnipresenti. Alcune di queste hanno visto sorgere l’impero romano per diventare le fondamenta di altre mura secolo dopo secolo, uno strato sopra all’altro.
Mentre il 55% della popolazione mondiale vive in aree urbane, una percentuale che dovrebbe aumentare al 68% entro il 2050, stiamo ancora progettando e vivendo le nostre città seguendo un approccio obsoleto con solo rare eccezioni talvolta considerate addirittura sperimentali.
Esistono soluzioni possibili che possono aiutare a costruire un nuovo futuro più sostenibile, per una società aperta e più egualitaria per le prossime generazioni?

One of the statues from the movie Ben Hur sits behind the wall of Cinecittà the famous studios were the Italian cinema flourished. Cinecittà was founded by Mussolini in 1937 on the model of Hollywood. Behind its walls one can grasps a view over beautiful and unexpected sceneries while the studios themselves are constantly on the brink of decadence.
Kids riding their bicycles down a slope in between walls. These yellow walls are famous to the locals because they represent the excavation site for the new line of the Metro. Once they are put in place they can stay there for many years, they literally become part of the skyline.
Encampment of young homeless citizens. It is built against the Aurelian walls, not far from the main train station Termini. For centuries these walls have been keeping foreigners outside the city. When wayfarers were travelling often made their camp just outside the city wall. Nowadays we can still observe a similar trend. Thanks to his relative mild weather and central position Rome is home to a big number of homeless citizens. This number is increasing every year.
Uya is a refugee from Nigeria. He came to Italy looking for a better future and to find a way to cure his legs. He has a disease that does not allow him to stand for long time, he spend most of this time sitting against the wall that surrounds the Roman university “La Sapienza” hoping to receive help from anybody.
Buildings with a fence
Police officers are charging a protest in front of the famous Cinema Palazzo.
One of the entrances of the “Olgiata” a district of Rome that rises in the suburbs. This exclusive location for villas and private apartments is completely bordered by a fence and monitored 24 hours a day by a security service that controls accesses and exit, a feature that makes it one of the very few examples of “gated communities” existing in Italy.
Basketball players in a local park
A kid in a local playground protected by a fence.
A line in front of the post office.
A street library.
Abdullah Ali is a street artist. He decorates the streets hanging handmade flowers where people can see them.
Boys are playing in a park in front of the Colosseum.
One of the two twin cistern towers of Termini.
The entrance to Villa Giorgina, the headquarters of the Apostolic Nunciature to Italy. This is just one between dozens of private properties in town considered at risk and that are monitored by the army 24/7. The army should not be dealing with deal with the civilian matters by constitution, but since 2008 the number of military personnel in the street has increased reaching more than 7000 effectives in the country.
Two refugees rest in the shade over two benches on the Oppian Hill, not far from the Colosseum. In the background some of the never ending walls of the Roman landscape. Urbanists are reinventing the Italian infrastructures. Traditional benches, the ones on where it was possible to sleep became a relic of the past. The new models are divided by rails or bars blocking people to lie down.
This ancient wall collapsed years ago and the whole street had been narrowed and limited. The citizens even forgot how many years have passed now since it started to look like this. The jerseys just became part of the landscape and no reconstruction work have been made ever after.
An improvised climbing located in front of the main graveyard. The handholds are made with marble leftovers donated by the tombstone makers.
This building is one of the local health agencies. By day it is crowded with people that are looking for medical attention, but after closing time this young man is the only customer that never leaves.
A house behind inside a walled private complex.