The Day Memory Dissolved
Massimiliano Gatti has always had a passion for photography but he also has always been very dedicated to archaeological activism. In the photo exhibition "The Day Memory Dissolved" curated by Renato Miracco, these two interests come together in the most fascinating way.
Gatti's curiosity about historical ancient ruins brought him all the way to the Middle East where he worked on various archaeological missions for six years. He had the opportunity to visit some of the greatest sites in the world including Apamea located in present-day Syria, a place that was officially founded in 300 BC and gained fame by being the settlement of Seleucus, one of Alexander the Great's main generals. He also visited Jerwan in present-day Iraq, which is notable for housing possibly the first aqueduct of all time which was constructed between 703 BC and 690 BC. In the exhibition there was also photographs of Khorsabad, which used to be the capital of the Assyrian empire.
On explaining the meaning behind this exhibition, Gatti expresses how it is "a memory of the past that in some ways is endangered now." Everyone looks at these ancient ruins but they may not necessarily see the tie between the temple that was constructed thousands of years ago and life in 2016. Whether you are Italian or American, it must be understood there there is a bond between you and these "foreign" places. He says that the Middle East is the place where everything began. It is where we can find the roots of all of our languages, it is the place where both Jesus and Mohammed walked. Gatti tells the viewers that "the meaning is to reflect on the idea of the past, every trace we can find here in this exhibition should open up your mind and perspective. The past is something we must preserve." Gatti believes that despite how the Middle East is portrayed in the media all over the world, it is crucial to always remind ourselves that this is where we all came from, we cannot detach ourselves from the truth just because we live far away.
For those interested in seeing this photo exhibition live, it will continue through November 16th at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America on Columbia University campus in NYC. The gallery will only be closed on November 7th and 8th but otherwise is free to enter and open on weekdays from 9:30AM to 4:30PM.