• Arborea/Mussolinia
    Andrea Bagnato
    Anna Positano
    Humboldt Books, 2022
    Andrea Bagnato & Anna Positano

Anna Positano, Fascist youth organization of Mussolinia/Arborea, 2020, Italy. Courtesy the artist

Among the many new towns the Fascist regime built in Italy, Arborea (formerly Mussolinia) stands out. Set in the western coast of Sardinia, it was conceived in the 1920s as an internal colony—an outpost of industrialized agriculture on an island hitherto based on shepherding and communal economies. Its construction entailed the drainage of wetlands, the planting of imported trees, the damming of rivers; population transfers from Northern Italy; and the the deployment of new grain varieties, pesticides, and insecticides. Crucially, the techniques and imaginaries developed for Mussolinia informed the colonization of Libya and Ethiopia, which was taking place in the same period. Arborea/Mussolinia combines photography, text, and documents to recount a place at once real and imagined, decrepit but still productive. Asking how ideas of order, fertility, and hybridity were applied to both humans and nature, the book is a narrative on the “countryside” and its relation to the European colonial past.

Andrea Bagnato has been researching architecture, ecology, and epidemiology since 2014, under the long-term project Terra Infecta. Among the project's outcomes are A Moving Border: Alpine Cartographies of Climate Change (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2019), as well as a number of lectures and published essays. Bagnato has also been teaching on these subjects at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and at the Architectural Association in London. As a book editor, he worked for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Forensic Architecture, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Among his edited books are SQM: The Quantified Home (Lars Müller Publishers, 2014), and the two volumes Rights of Future Generations (Hatje Cantz, 2019–2021).

Anna Positano is a photographer and artist. She graduated in architecture at the University of Genoa and then obtained an MA in photography from the London College of Communication. Her work encompasses the reciprocal influence of landscape and society. In addition to her artistic practice, she works on commission for architects and public institutions. She is regularly published in architectural magazines, including Casabella, Domus, and L’architecture d’aujourd’hui. Her projects have been exhibited internationally in the Milan Triennale, Venice Architecture Biennale, the Hartell Gallery at Cornell, MAO Ljubljana, and the Villa Croce Museum, Genoa.