The myth of the CiucciaNebbia
The CiucciaNebbia (meaning ‘fog-sucker’) is a mythological creature that wanders the streets of Milan. Its body emerges from the interactions between the Milanese, the urban environment and the fine toxic fine particles that deposits on the surfaces of buildings. The Milanese’s architectural elements such as architraves, facades and main entrances are characterized by the presence of grotesque ornaments: morphological and monstrous creatures that in esoteric culture have the apotropaic power to protect the inhabitants and frighten away external evil spirits. Nowadays these masks are covered by layers of black dust due to emissions from manufacturing processes, waste treatment and disposal, combustion in industry, and transport.
Gaia D'Arrigo’s project embodies the phenomenon of air pollution into a living being reflecting the activity happening in the city. The Ciuccianebbia’s skin made out of the cities' contaminated tissues act as a spatio-temporal archive, mapping the air quality in Milan's neighborhoods and embodying the industrial history of the city, along with the ideologies and lifestyle of its inhabitants. The project poses the question of what it means to assume the role of a hybrid creature, to embody a series of relationships and to identify with one’s surroundings when it is toxic. As with the CiucciaNebbia, the Milanese too are hybrid subjects, constantly interacting in mutual physical and imaginative transformation with pollution and industrialisation.
The Myth of the CiucciaNebbia is a project that seeks to challenge the perceived boundaries between porous bodies and environments. It draws on material research and storytelling practices that traverse the urban environment, air pollution and Milanese culture, ultimately asking: Is pollution an external evil entity or a product of internalized cultural myths?
Upcoming 2024 “ITALY: A New Collective Landscape,” HKDI Gallery di Hong Kong (HK)