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The 100 gram cycle

Sophie Anderton · Enrico Forestieri · Julia Heslop ·


The story

The historical story: bread as propaganda

Orti di Guerra Gardens of War

The counter monument

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.

We recognised that there was a specific materiality to the story – that of the 100 gram piece of bread and how these tiny rations were used by the Nazis as a form of control: control through lack. Furthermore, there is a strong connection here between civil action and bread where bread can be a highly political object; used not only as a tool of control, but also of propaganda. Thus bread is celebrated but it is rationed. Focusing on the potency of the 100gram 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 to divert attention and distract 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. 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, leading to an increase of bread prices, hitting the poor first, bread being their main diet. Furthermore, Mussolini used bread as a rhetorical tool. Photos show him standing proud atop a tractor, ready to plough the land, offering a visualisation of a ‘back to the land’ movement. Land and bread thus 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). Thus bread can be a political vehicle, not just a passive instrument of nourishment.

The Orti di Guerra (Gardens of War) also relate to the rationing and lack of food throughout the war. These urban allotments were built throughout cities in Europe 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 cities became sites of horticultural production: underused city spaces were used and space was reclaimed.

We considered the role of the counter monument as a dynamic example of memorialisation and questioned how our ‘intervention’ into this difficult site could engage with the local community in an everyday sense, reviving the site and the events that occurred there on a daily basis and in a normalised manner. Indeed, traditional monumentalising of memory may only succeed to bury the memory of the events, so “rather than embodying memory, the monument displaces it altogether, supplanting a community’s memory-work with its own material form” (Young, 1992: 273). Responsibility for upholding the memory is thus shed and the monument becomes a vehicle for doing the memory work for the community. This silence may aid us not to remember but to forget, acting as a barrier to the past, detached from the present, everyday life; a self-contained uncommunicative form. Consequently, in our approach we wanted to reaffirm the memory and the act of resistance for the present day; rememorialising the event through an action, and reviving the area as a site of memory and lived experience.

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, non-violent 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.

Ponte dell’Industria: former Ponte di Ferro

Ostiense during WW2: Tesei bakery and mill and the Ponte dell’Industria

Existing monument commemorating the massacre of ten women

Mussolini’s Ode to the bread

Harvesting in Piazza Duomo, Milano

Mussolini atop of a tractor

Wheat field in Rome

Through this consideration of bread as a political tool, of control, and also a device of survival, of nourishment, we began to consider how this object – the 100-gram piece of bread - 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. Any intervention into the site must reflect the actions of these women. Thus it must not a silent monument, but one that reinvigorates the memory for a contemporary audience.

The 100 gram cycle

Sophie Anderton · Enrico Forestieri · Julia Heslop ·

The proposal


A process-based act of memorialisation

The 100 gram cycle is a wheatfield within the Gasometro cultural area in the Ostiense district of Rome; along the river between the Ponte dell’Industria and the Ponte della Scienza. The wheatfield encompasses a large strip of 2000 m2 (approximately 400 metres x 5 metres) and is highly visible from both sides of the river. 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 two feasting events. A cyclical, yearly process, the field will be renewed annually, reinvigorating the memory and the past events of the site year on year.

their friends, families and neighbours to this feasting event 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.

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 this event that the distribution of the bread to the local community will take place. The participating children will invite

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 plant and its 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 from seed to loaf will celebrate and reaffirm civil action in the city, drawing upon the actions of the women, whilst the harvesting and feasting celebrations will act as points of heightened remembrance for the project.


There are five schools in the surrounding area 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). 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.

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Mobile thresher and mill

Grain yield: 1850 - 2000 kg of grain per year

Flour: 1150 - 1250 kg


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fertiliz a

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FP - Aubusson 2000m2 wheatfield

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


FP - Aubusson seeds






Cycle of transformation: from seed to loaf

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Sharing bread and sharing memory





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children 9 - 13 years

Hortus Urbis association


1513 association


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600 kg

7th of April celebration

600 kg

Harvest festival


Seeds: 35-40 kg Seed density: 450-500 seed/m2


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Typical working class bread in Rome. 10,000 rations of 100 gram pieces of ciriola per celebration

Bread: 1000 kg per celebration

Wooden box traditionally used to mix and knead bread dough


Mobile bakery

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Ciriola Romana





first plowing





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

The role of learning

Schools within 10 minutes walking distance

The collaborating organisations 31/10/13

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 Second World War which could be used as a case study. Fringe events and trips could be built around the story, such as a cultural and feasting event which would take place on 7th April each year (the date of the massacre), again at which the children and the local community are at the centre of, re-confirming why the project is happening, and allowing the community to take possession of the memory; bringing it into the present day.

Gasometro Riva Ostiense Location Industriale Estate Romana

Scuola Media Bixio

1513 Culture at the Gasometro 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.

Scuola Elementare Lenzi Gasometro è il nuovo modo di vivere l’estate Romana. A due passi dal centro, nel cuore della Roma industriale, Gasometro illuminerà le notti estive della Capitale. Nello storico quartiere Ostiense di Roma, ai piedi dei reperti di archeologia industriale che affacciano su Riva Ostiense, in un susseguirsi di suggestioni scenografiche uniche, Gasometro coinvolgerà gli spettatori sotto tutti gli aspetti, dall’intrattenimento allo shopping, dall’happening al cinema sotto le stelle. “Gasometro” offre un’idea nuova di intrattenimento per le sere d’estate ed allo stesso tempo un importante strumento per la diffusione della cultura del territorio, del legame con il passato e per la riconversione dei luoghi così da percorrere la storia “moderna” della città, tracciare le vie della “nuova Roma”: a misura di giovani.

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 wheat field 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, 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.

Hortus Urbis Urban Farming Association

“Gasometro” è l’evento attraverso cui rafforzare l’appeal turistico di Roma nel periodo estivo, integrandone l’offerta: una manifestazione che amplia il portafoglio di kermesse rese uniche e suggestive dall’esclusiva cornice della Capitale. Rassegne e Spettacoli dal vivo, mostre, concerti, dj set, aperitivi in musica, giochi di strada: Gasometro coinvolge il pubblico a trecentosessanta gradi: adulti o bambini, ognuno potrà scegliere tra le diverse proposte d’intrattenimento studiate per il pubblico www.gasometro.it/gasometro/

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. They use collective action to reappropriate urban space by making use of vacant or abandoned sites, creating them anew as shared public spaces. 2/3

Campagna Amica Coldiretti Foundation Scuola Elementare Cuoco

Scuola Media Fantappiè




Scuola Media Einstein

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.

5 min

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

The 100 gram cycle

2000 m2

Sophie Anderton · Enrico Forestieri · Julia Heslop ·


+ 3.00 + 2.65

Aerial view of the site between the Ponte dell’Industria and the Ponte della Scienza in the Ostiense neighbourhood of Rome Scale 1:250

+ 2.00 + 1.65 eye level + 1.00 platform

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etro. Gazo m

Tevere river

2000 kg of wheat 5m 1:200



baker Mobi le







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bile m

width of wheatfield: 5 metres

1 m height platform


+ 1.00

Mobi le

to Portuense

wheat: FP - Aubusson yeld: 7,85 T/ha diseases resistance: maximum no irrigation needed height stem: 86 cm stems seach 15 cm

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Axonometric section showing the wheatfield and the mobile devices. Scale 1:100


to Gianicolense

+ 0.00

The wheat cycle portraying the colour and height changes of the wheat and its relationship to the human scale. Scale 1:50

400 m


Tesei b


and m






to Ostiense

clear area: 5 - 12 metres

soil well-drained loamy soil like cernosem geotextile gravel for drainage 2% inclination

+ 0.15 + 0.08 + 0.00

functional area

Urban section showing viewpoints, the organisation of the site and its relationship to its surroundings. Scale 1:200

The 100 gram cycle

Sophie Anderton 路 Enrico Forestieri 路 Julia Heslop 路


Profile for recall-project

The 100 Gram Cycle_panels  

Terrain Vague Sophie Anderton Enrico Forestieri Julia Heslop

The 100 Gram Cycle_panels  

Terrain Vague Sophie Anderton Enrico Forestieri Julia Heslop