An eerie feeling of desolated tension pervades the empty streets on several villages in Western Sicily. It seems as everything is upheld, temporarily suspended mid-air as people suddenly left without previous notice. A devastating earthquake in 1968 caused thousands of deaths and levelled to the ground many rural villages in the Belice area. Gibellina, Partanna, Salemi, Salaparuta are some of the villages affected by the sudden shock that permanently changed the livelihood of farmers and local entrepreneurs, who overnight found themselves homeless, jobless and displaced. Failure to ensure a prompt structural recovery, intensified the problems of an already stumbling economy, leading to mass emigration from the region.
Fifty years on, several villages still remain almost vacant, struggling with a sluggish and partial recovery, while new towns constructed to rehouse the displaced, have been entirely built from scratch following ambitious and utopian designs, but have proven to be alienating environments for the diminishing and ageing population of the region.
Sicily Untitled explores the aesthetics and social dynamics of the void overbearing the postmodern architecture and human landscapes in this part of Sicily, where the original populations have declined through migration, and a new wave of immigrants arrives hoping to access a better life, but instead finds desolation and hardship. As such, this apparently unimportant corner of Sicily resounds with a much larger and complex history and geography that speaks the shrinking rural conglomerates and the ever-expanding spatial and social emptiness that mirrors other peripheries.