On 7th April 1944 in the Ostiense neighbourhood of Rome, an attack was carried out on the Tesei bakery by a group of women. As a result, ten women were led onto the parapet of the nearby bridge – the Ponte dell’Industria - and shot by the SS. This attack was a spontaneous and unorganised assault, driven by pure desperation and hunger, coerced by the rationing of bread to only 100 grams per family, per day. An instance of unprompted civil resistance, this event led to further attacks on bread ovens throughout the city.
Within this story there is a key material element which we have made the focus of our proposal: bread. The potency of the 100 gram piece of bread as a ration is a powerful one and we have explored the use of bread throughout Italian history as an influential social and political tool; one of rhetoric and propaganda.
Ostiense is now a post-industrial landscape and the site of a stop-start regeneration process. A cultural area - the Gasometro - lies alongside the River Tevere and provides entertainment throughout the summer months. We propose to use part of the Gasometro, next to the Ponte dell’Industria, to build a wheatfield. Five local schools will sow, nurture and harvest the wheat in collaboration with agricultural organisations. When the wheat is harvested the school children will bake it into 100 gram pieces of bread, replicating the rations given to families during the war. The bread will be disseminated at two feasting events – a harvesting festival and a celebration on 7th April to commemorate the massacre.
As a permanent, cyclical process, the field will be renewed annually, reinvigorating the memory each year. This process enables the local community to take possession of their difficult heritage and the memorialisation of it. Furthermore, the activities of the community in nurturing the wheatfield reinforce the notion of civil action in an everyday manner, which is so integral to our story, whilst the involvement of children will create an innovative space of shared learning and memorialisation which is relatable for a new generation.
The 100 gram cycle is a project by Sophie Anderton (UK), Enrico Forestieri (IT), Julia Heslop (UK) for RE-Call competition.
The 100 gram cycle project will be exhibited, along with the other REcall entries, in Berlin at the Nordic Embassy from 30th of April 2014
Thanks to: Afonso Lima, Isabel Lima, Toby Phips Lloyd
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’.