Paradoxically, the social, national, and cultural contexts our parents grew up in are still seen as equally or even more important in defining our backgrounds than those we live ourselves. Our parents’ upbringings are considered constitutive of our own identities, even when they are a long way from our own in space and time and only familiar to us from stories. But this ignores the fact that our identification with a place is a result of our lived experience there, which leaves its mark on us and creates an emotional connection.
Talisa Lallai’s parents grew up in Calabria and Sardinia – places she only knows through the memories they shared with her, and through numerous visits by relatives that were always also journeys into her parents’ past. In 2019 and 2022, Lallai set off to create her own lived experience of Calabria and Sardinia. Without planning her stopping points in advance, she let herself drift intuitively along the country roads and paths that cross the raw landscape and fringe the coast. Using an analog camera, she recorded the natural and architectural landscape around her, now the backdrop for her own story, leaving traces of it on film and in her memory. There is a certain unspecificity to the timeworn motifs, like the centuries-old cork oak and the waterfall; they seem fallen out of time, dissolved from their spatiotemporal context. While they serve as a vehicle for Lallai’s lived experience, they also allow the viewer to project onto them, by imagining what they might have seen in their own histories.
– Anna Goetz
Photos: Cedric Mussano