“You can imagine how I can feel here, Father, a stranger. These black rocks, this desolation, this … this terror. This island makes me crazy. (Karin, Stromboli terra di Dio, Roberto Rossellini)
Winter – Stromboli – There are just over 300 inhabitants on the island, or at least they should. Many of them, mainly mothers and children, gone to follow the studies in Messina or Lipari (the schools here do not go beyond the third grade) come home for parties or weekends. Men, on the other hand, during this season mainly dedicate themselves to the masonry and the care of the houses and gardens of those who, with the arrival of summer, will move here for a month or a week.
At the pier there is a small market of fruit, vegetables and cheeses brought here by a hydrofoil, while in the Apecar’s boxes (the only means of transport on the island along with the golf cart) the fishermen expose the catch of the morning. There are only a few, you recognise them because they all have long beard and hair, some claim it is due to the lack of barbers in the village, others say that in the 1970s a wave of hippie tourists has influenced their style.
The volcano, “Iddu” (“him” in Sicilian dialect) overhangs the village, the summit, at 926 meters above sea level, disappears into a cloud of perennial smoke. It is the most active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world.
Who lives here does not fear it but respects it to such a degree as to worship it, almost as if it was a divinity.
People do not land at Stromboli, they are nailing to the island, not tourists, but who decides to stay. They come from all over the globe, from Australia, United States, France, Germany, because of an ended love story, or for not wanting to disappear in a metropolis, or just to feel less alone or isolated.
Living here requires courage and spirit of adaptation. The water ransomed, brought a ship in the morning, warmed up with wood-burning stoves, there is no hospital, the closest one is Messina, twenty minutes away with the helicopter.
The wind, the sea and the volcano significantly affect islanders’ lives.
In 2013, a large eruption caused a landslide that poured into the sea, causing the formation of three anomalous twelve-meter-high waves, which swept away the pier and the houses closest to the shore. In 2015, the sea was stormed for a whole month, preventing any kind of boat from drifting to the pier, leaving Strombolians without any food.
Nevertheless, when you arrive at Stromboli, you understand what drives people to stay here, what it means to be isolated, to feel an individual: the atmosphere is surreal, the silent deafening.
Nicola Dipierro is an Italian documentary photographer based in Bari. His research aims at investigating the relationship between extreme lands and people’s behaviour.
Iddu was presented during Slideluck Prato.
I chose that sound because it reminded me of the feeling of anxiety, given the possibility of an imminent danger, I felt on the island.
The editing process begins with the choice of sound that will accompany the multimedia. Then I order the photos and the video frames so that there is a beginning to present the work – and give some information for the understanding of the project – and the final part with the climax. Only in the end I insert some special effects that can be functional to fluidity and movement of the project.