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REcall is a research project founded by EC Culture 2007-13 Programme (n. 2012 - 0927 / 001 - 001 CU7 COOP7) focused on the possible roles Museography can play when dealing with Difficult Heritage such as the ones coming from conflicts and wars. REcall wishes to envision new ways to the handling of Painful Places & Stories going behind any traditional approach: there is the need to shift from the ‘simply’ commemoration attitude to a more active involvement and participation of people in/with Places & Stories, through design strategies of ‘reappropriation’ (

The views expressed in this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

REcall Consortium POLIMI-Politecnico di Milano - Coordinator - (Italy) AAU-Aalborg University (Denmark) NTUN-Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway) UNEW-Newcastle University (United Kingdom) Fasltad Museum, Falstad (Norway) Museo della Resistenza, Turin (Italy)

Associated Partners Ergan Foundation Romsdal museet Routes Agency Snark

© The Authors: Creative Commons: license CC BY SA 3.0


The story

5 The historical context: bread as propaganda 11

The counter monument

16 Rome workshop 19 The site 25

The proposal


The site during the seasons


The role of learning


Renewing the land


Orti di Guerra


A process-based act of memorialisation


The model


The collaborating organisations





THE STORY Over the course of the war years, bread, the main staple of life, was rationed – first by the Italian government, then by the enemy forces. The amount allowed per family, per day decreased dramatically until 26th March 1944, when General Maeltzer, commander of Rome during the nine month occupation, made the order to reduce the daily ration of bread to 100 grams. In many areas of the city women protested in front of bakeries and mills, particularly those suspected of baking white bread for the Nazis. Many ovens were unable to bake as their flour was commandeered by the enemy troops to make their own bread; this was of course often at the cost of the local people and women would queue for hours to get their meager ration and then be turned away with nothing. On 7th April 1944, twelve days after the last ration reduction, a group of women and children led an unorganised and spontaneous attack on the Tesei bread oven in the Ostiense district of Rome. It is believed that the PAI (Police of Italian Africa) alerted the SS to the assault taking place on the oven and they in turn arrived as women were leaving with flour and bread. Many fled but ten women were captured and led onto the parapet of the nearby bridge, the Ponte dell’Industria, where they were lined up and shot. The youngest of the women was taken beneath the bridge and raped by the troops before being shot in the head. The priest of the local church, Father Efisio, was sought out to try and stop the massacre but arrived too late. The women’s bodies were left on the Ponte dell’Industria until the following morning, when a sign was placed beside them warning others that if they tried to attack other mills or bakeries the same fate would befall them.


In the years following the end of the war, female parliamentarians of the Communist Party requested a commemorative plaque be erected on the site of the massacre, but it was continually defaced and then completely destroyed. The murdered women remained unidentified until research carried out by the journalist Cesare De Simone uncovered what were believed to be the names of those shot on the bridge. In the 1990s a new monument was dedicated next to the Ponte dell’Industria, in the form of a small marble rectangle surrounded by a flowerbed, depicting the faces of anonymous women, with the names on the periphery; but even this has still been subject to vandalism. These first spontaneous attacks on ovens across Rome between January and April 1944 led to further organised incidents, supported by the partisans, as recounted by Carla Capponi. Yet this specific action at the Tesei oven was an impulsive, nonviolent uprising, not linked to any political party or ideology; it was an innate duty to their community and families, coupled with sheer desperation and hunger, that drove the women to take these actions. The story shows the lengths people will go to when they are deprived of the basic means of survival, and the everyday civil resistance that can be borne out of this. Ultimately this was an instance of action through necessity.

Women waiting for their bread rations. 2

Map showing the Ponte dell’Industria and the Tesei mill and bakery.

The old Ponte dell’Industria.


The existing monument next to the Ponte dell’Industria. 4

THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT: BREAD AS PROPAGANDA In approaching this narrative, we recognised that there was a specific materiality to the story - that of the 100 gram piece of bread, and the use of this inadequate ration as a form of control by the Nazis. A strong connection can be seen here between civil action and bread, where bread becomes a highly political object, used not only as a tool of control, but also of propaganda. Thus bread is celebrated but it is also rationed. Focusing on the potency of the 100 gram piece of bread as a metaphor, and as a physical object, we sought to put this into the historical context of Rome. The metaphor ‘bread and circuses’ (‘panem et circenses’) originated in Ancient Rome where free grain and entertainment were given as a palliative; a method of social control to increase public approval of the state, but also as a way of diverting attention and distracting the population from the democracy they lacked. This engineered an indifference to public life and civic duty for the satisfaction of the immediate necessities of life.

Mussolini as wheat thresher, July 1934. 5

Furthermore, in the 1920s, Mussolini’s Battle of the Grain placed high tariffs on imported grain; an attempt to get Italian farmers to produce more wheat to show that Italy had the capacity to satisfy any Italian need and to be autonomous. Autarchy was at the same time a symptom of weakness for Italy (the incapacity to build up strong and competitive market agreements), and a necessity (Italy was more isolated at this time). Thus wheat was used as a rhetorical tool that both succeeded and failed. It led to an increase in bread prices which hit the poor first and hardest, as bread was their main subsistence. Photos show Mussolini helping to bring in the harvest, or standing proud atop a tractor, ready to plough the land, offering a visualisation of a ‘back to the land’ movement. As a result, land and bread changed from material tokens of survival into metaphors for the nation’s power, in part via a symbolic and material connection to growth (Falasca-Zamponi, 2000). So we can see how bread can be used as a political vehicle, not just a passive instrument of nourishment. Through this consideration of 100 grams of bread as a political tool – of control – and also as a device of survival – of nourishment – we began to consider how this object could be used to reinforce the story of these ten women and their actions of civil resistance. We questioned how it could be utilised to bridge the gap between the past and the present, not as a silent monument, but one that reinvigorates the memory for a contemporary audience.

Mussolini atop a tractor. 6


A popular poem highlighting the rhetoric of bread during the Battle of the Grain.



Posters showing how bread was used for political purposes during the Battle of the Grain. Above: “The Booklets of Calcium: About our country’s food self-sufficiency”. 10


We considered the role of the counter monument as a dynamic example difficult site could engage with the local community in an everyday se basis and in a normalised manner. Indeed, traditional monumentalising o than embodying memory, the monument displaces it altogether, supplanti 273). Responsibility for upholding the memory is thus shed and the mo This silence may aid us not to remember but to forget, acting as a ba contained uncommunicative form. Consequently, in our approach we wante rememorialising the event through an action, and reviving the area as a

We considered two good examples of memorialisation that have moved bey re-enactment of the Battle of Orgreave in England. The Battle original most violent confrontations between the miners and the police. Deller’ present. Involving the local community and including ex miners and pol and worker’s solidarity and confronted the unresolved feelings of the 1980s. This is an example of a temporary counter monument that dredged up and political failings.


e of memorialisation and questioned how our ‘intervention’ into this ense, reviving the site and the events that occurred there on a daily of memory may only succeed to bury the memory of the events, so “rather ing a community’s memory-work with its own material form” (Young, 1992: onument becomes a vehicle for doing the memory work for the community. arrier to the past, detached from the present, everyday life; a selfed to reaffirm the memory and the act of resistance for the present day; a site of memory and lived experience.

yond the traditional idea of the monument. The first is Jeremy Deller’s lly took place during the Miner’s Strike of 1984-5, and was one of the ’s re-enactment took this site of difficult history from the past to the lice officers, the re-enactment questioned on-going notions of democracy miners, who lost their livelihoods and then their communities in the p memory, forming a connection between past events and on-going economic

Jeremy Deller, The Battle of Orgreave, England, 17th June 2001. 12

Monumento 11M is a memorial designed by FAM architects dedicated to the victims of the terror attacks in Madrid of 11th March 2004. The 11 metre tall cylinder stands outside Atocha station, the destination of the four trains that were attacked. The piece consists of an outer and inner glazed element; a clear membrane, inflated with air, on which are printed dozens of tributes and expressions of grief written in the days following the attack, thus allowing the public to voice their memories. In a twist of events, after 2-3 years the pressure pumps broke and the air drifted out of the structure, leaving it sagging under its own weight. For 2-3 months the monument was left, unrepaired, apparently forgotten, until press coverage made the controversy public. Although the monument was eventually repaired, the lack of care given to the memorial perhaps suggests an ignorance and an insensibility to the role of memory; the city allowing the memorialisation process to break down, both physically and metaphorically. 13

FAM Architecture, Monumento 11M, Madrid, Spain, 2007. 14


ROME WORKSHOP After the preliminary workshop we left Rome with a better idea of how to go about creating a project around our story. The research and data we collected while we were there, through meetings, site visits and investigations enabled us to find out more about the story and put it into context. We looked at the site with the aim of bringing it into the present day and explored several avenues including linking aspects of the story to displaced peoples and a lack of civil rights. We had an insightful meeting with Emanuale Giordano, a film director who had produced a short feature about the story, and opened up new aspects of the story to us. We were also inspired by the site; an area that is undergoing a stop-start regeneration process; it seemed ideal as a location for gathering the local community and engaging with a variety of different audiences, whilst bringing the memory of the story into the modern day.


Map showing the site in relation to Rome.


The Ponte dell’Industria

The Gasometro

A close up of the site showing the Ponte dell’Industria, the railway bridge and the Gasometro. 18


The site of the massacre is now an ex-industrial area, part wasteland, friendly’; it is congested with cars, with little pavement space for pe – the Ponte della Scienza – built a little further down the River Tevere the river. In between the two bridges lies a temporary summer entertain alongside the river. This outdoor venue is open during the summer month invigorate the site, coordinated by 1513, a cultural organisation based


part commercial space. The Ponte dell’Industria itself is not ‘peopleedestrians. The current regeneration process has installed a new bridge e from the Ponte dell’Industria and a cycle path on the western side of nment site - the Gasometro - situated on a patch of wasteland, running hs as a cultural space for all ages; exhibitions and live performances d in Rome.


The riverbank, and above, the Gasometro.


The new bridge - the Ponte della Scienza.


The Gasometro.


The Gasometro at night.



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To Ostiense









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Working with the materiality of 100 grams of bread, our proposal is to build a wheatfield within the Gasometro, along the river between the Ponte dell’Industria and the Ponte della Scienza - the Gasometro will effectively ‘host’ our project. The is a large strip of 2000 square metres (approximately 400 metres x 5 metres) and is highly visible from both sides of the river.

River Tevere


e de ll

a Sc ien


To Gianicolense

To Portuense

Aerial view of the site, including the wheatfield, the Gasometro, the Ponte dell’Industria, the Ponte della Scienza and the site of the Tesei bakery and mill. 25

After the wheat is harvested it will be turned into small loaves of bread, 100 grams in weight, mirroring the rations given to families during the last phases of the Second World War. This bread will be disseminated at a harvesting celebration. A cyclical, yearly process, the field will be renewed annually, reinvigorating the memory and the past events of the site year on year.

The wheatfield

Mobile bakery

Width of wheatfield: 5 metres Height of platform: 1 metre Mobile mill

Clear area: 5-12 metres

Functional area

An axonometric projection of the site including the wheatfield with the mobile bakery and event space.


There are five schools in the surrounding area from both sides of the river which will each be responsible for a different section of the wheatfield. The children (aged between 9-13) will plant, nurture and harvest the wheat each year, under the supervision of their schools and two agricultural and community based organisations - Hortus Urbis, an organisation that builds urban allotments within Rome, and Campagna Amica who are aligned with the Coldiretti - the Union of Agriculture. These two organisations will support the schools in cultivating the wheatfield and thus will act as agricultural consultants. The sowing will happen in November of each year and the harvesting will be completed in June (as outlined in the calendar diagram on the right). During this period there will be on-going fertilisation of the soil and disease prevention of the plants, yet the whole process will be organic.

Scuola Media Bixio

Scuola Elementare Lenzi

Scuola Elementare Cuoco

Scuola Media Fantappiè




Scuola Media Einstein

5 min

Map showing the location of the five schools that will be participating in the project. 27


The harvest will be completed in one day each June and on site there will be a mobile bakery (akin to a mobile pizza oven) in which the wheat will be processed into flour, using a small threshing and winnowing machine, and then the bread will be baked by the schools. Half the grain will be stored to make into 100 gram pieces of bread for the following year - for the festival on 7th April to commemorate the day of the massacre whilst the other half of the grain will be baked straightaway for the harvest festival event in mid June. It is during these events that the distribution of the bread to the local community will take place. The participating children will invite their friends, families and neighbours to both feasting events which will be hosted by the 1513 cultural organisation at the Gasometro. The community will be invited to bring cheeses, meats and other foods with them, thus giving the event a similar feel to a large, communal picnic and akin to the street parties that took place across Europe at the end of the Second World War.


Feb r




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Sow in

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disease preven






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children 9 - 13 years

Hortus Urbis association


1513 association


ext 201 ended 3 se aso season n


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10 poor women festival 7 th of Ap ril

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t Sep



first plowing




g fes


Au gu

e Jun

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Diagram showing the cycle of wheat growth, the role of the participating organisations and when the events will take place throughout the year. 28

Section showing the viewpoints which the wheatfield may be seen from


and the relationship between the bridge and our intervention.


The growth and changing colour of the wheat throughout the year, and


d its relationship to the human scale.



The 7th April street party and feasting festival celebrating the memory of the massacre. The wheat is in full growth at this time.


Late June - post harvesting, showing the dismantling of the mobile mill and bakery, whilst the field is being prepared for the first plowing.

Winter - the Gasometro is closed but the seeds are sown for the next crop. 34

View from the Ponte dell’Industria showing the wheat ready for harvesting.



THE ROLE OF LEARNING It is vital to make sure that the story remains at the heart of the project and much thought has been given to how this could be done. As the main vessels for the project, it is important to give the participating children a thorough understanding of what the project is about and why it is taking place. This could be done by taking advantage of their school curriculum, tapping into lessons in which they study the Second World War. The story offers them a local tragedy of the war which could be used as a case study. The feasting celebration of 7th April will aid in re-confirming why the project is happening, and allowing the community to take possession of the memory; bringing it into the present day. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for the younger community to take possession of their culture and heritage through the unchanging act of baking bread. The process also becomes educational as well as commemorative, and ensures the story of the women is not lost – giving the wheatfield a meaning and a purpose which may not otherwise be obvious. In order to keep the story alive out with the participants and the organisations involved, a leafleting campaign would be held in the surrounding area, disseminating the story to the wider community and acting as an invitation to the feasting events. By working with these schools and organisations we hope our urban intervention will reinvigorate interest in the site and the story for a new audience whilst also contributing to the renewal of the area as an innovative site for cultural events.

A small portable threshing machine. 37

Kneading dough using the traditional Italian madia (a mixing trough).

A mobile bread oven with space for mixing and kneading. 38

A street party celebrating the end of the Second World War.


The harvesting and feasting festival at the Gasometro.


A good example of a community and school-based project took place in Derry, Northern Ireland in 2013, called Without. Working in collaboration with local schools and Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, artist Rosemary Lee filmed children in choreographed dances ‘taking back’ the city space. The children were filmed dancing through the streets of the city, in both Catholic and Protestant areas. In doing so, the children managed to recreate the space of a still divided city through dance; succeeding in reclaiming the streets and removing real and imagined barriers.


Rosemary Lee with Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Without, Derry, Northern Ireland, 2013 42

RENEWING THE LAND The wheatfield itself will act as an urban allotment, making use of underused city space and creating it anew for the production of food. The transformation of this ex-industrial area into a productive space will create new meaning for the site, merging historical, urban and social contexts, whilst also reinvigorating interest in the difficult history of the area. The large size of the wheatfield means that it will be highly visible from both sides of the river; its form and changing colour (depending on the season) will set it apart from the landscape as a vibrant space of agriculture, next to the post-industrial remnants of the area.


Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield – A Confrontation (1982) offers an insight into the method of our project. Denes planted a field of golden wheat on two acres of underused landfill site in the Battery Park City area of New York, next to the World Trade Centre and Wall Street. Standing near to these sites of global trade and consumption, Denes’ Wheatfield visualised issues of world hunger, waste and economic and ecological mismanagement. When harvested, the grain then travelled to cities across the globe where it was planted to grow again. The wheatfield as a visual symbol of growth within the urban landscape is important in our own project, but it is the production of the bread and the dissemination of this as a material form that is vital, one that allows the memory to be reaffirmed year on year; the wheatfield being a permanent fixture on the landscape.

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield – A Confrontation, New York, USA, 1982



ORTI DI GUERRA The creation of an urban allotment also links to the Orti di Guerra (Gardens of War) which were built during the Second World War. Public squares and parks were transformed into fields of produce to feed the city, and citizens were entrusted to participate and nurture these urban farms. Thus, as a site of production our wheatfield will be ‘working’ - agriculture in action - reflecting the Orti di Guerra. Furthermore, the Municipality of Rome wishes to promote urban horticulture, preserving underused city spaces from decay and abandonment; aiding the citizens in reclaiming space and using it. Here then is an opportunity to build on the municipality’s current policies, using vacant inner city land to generate food produce, whilst also rememorialising past events within the city, linking people to their own cultural heritage. The project will engage in a regular, everyday interaction with the local schools, community, and agricultural and cultural organisations, connecting the site and the memory with the daily pursuits of the working city, thus activating the space and the memory on a daily basis. Thus the socio-materiality of the site – the relationship between the social/historical context and the urban/material context – will be transformed and created anew. 46


Images showing the Orti di Guerra in Rome and Milan. 48

A PROCESS-BASED ACT OF MEMORIALISATION This process-based act of remembrance is physically and metaphorically renewed each year, with memorialisation happening every day with the growth of the wheat. The cyclical process involves the tilling of the land, the sowing of the seed, the nurturing of the plants and their growth, death, drying and harvesting. The process ends with the production of pieces of bread, 100 grams in weight; so the renewal of the memory also becomes cyclical, like the wheatfield, and a permanent, everyday installation in the city space. The action of producing bread for the community from seed to loaf will celebrate and reaffirm civil action in the city, drawing upon the actions of the women, whilst the harvesting and the feasting celebrations will act as points of heightened remembrance for the project. 49


THE MODEL Our model, based upon the Italian ‘madia’- a large wooden box, which was traditionally used to mix and knead bread dough shows the materiality of the wheat and the actual size of the 100 gram piece of bread in relation to a child’s hand.



THE COLLABORATING ORGANISATIONS The project must be economically and socially sustainable, hence the fact that we will be working in collaboration with local schools and established organisations. The Gasometro is situated alongside the River Tevere in the Ostiense area of Rome and comes to life in the summer months. It is run by 1513, a cultural organisation who coordinate events within the Gasometro, including exhibitions, live performances and street games for all ages. These events are dedicated to promoting social responsibility and inside this ‘urban village’ there are spaces dedicated to non-profit and voluntary organisations; offering a space of civic and social renewal.




Hortus Urbis are an agricultural and community organisation who aid in the creation of urban allotments in Rome with a focus   on social and environmental sustainability. collective   They use      action to reappropriate urban space by making use of vacant or    abandoned sites, creating them anew as shared public spaces.   

                       


       

                                                      


The Coldiretti Campagna Amica Foundation was established in 2008 to undertake initiatives to protect the rural environment, land, culture and food security of Italy. They offer advice and consultancy to farmers, teaching agricultural techniques and land management.

Children cultivating crops with Campagna Amica.


A Campagna Amica farmer’s market.



CONCLUSION Our project proposal highlights an innovative way in which our ‘landscape of war’ can take on a new role within the community. We have described how such a difficult heritage can be reclaimed and embraced by the community; taking hold of their identity and taking charge of the memorialisation process. The community becomes responsible for preserving their own history in a unique and sustainable way which will be brought into fruition through their own actions. This mobilisation of the community will allow the story to travel beyond its immediate surroundings, through experience, dialogue and action. The space thus becomes a hub of social action and human agency rather than a space of passive memorialisation; giving the citizens of Ostiense the tools to (re)create a public space of shared learning and memorialisation. As such, this project moves beyond the traditional boundaries of memorialisation, seeking to physically instill remembrance and civil action in an everyday manner, making the story personal and relatable; a place imbued with new meaning. 60

REFERENCES Texts Falasca-Zamponi, S. (2000) Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy, Berkeley: University of California Press Young, J.E. (1992) ‘The Counter-Monument: Memory against Itself in Germany Today’, Critical Inquiry, 18:2, pp. 267-296 Websites

REcall is a research project funded by EC Culture 2007-13 Programme


The 100 Gram Cycle  

Terrain Vague Sophie Anderton Enrico Forestieri Julia Heslop

The 100 Gram Cycle  

Terrain Vague Sophie Anderton Enrico Forestieri Julia Heslop