Tobias Zielony: Le Vele di Scampia

22 October 2011–4 February 2012

The futuristic housing estate Le Vele di Scampia in northern Naples now looks like a shell-shocked fortress. Architect Franz Di Salvo designed it in the 1970s. With its radical tiered form, galleries, and social spaces, he felt it was a revolution, but now it symbolises the failure of Italian socialism. Even before its completion, its apartments were appropriated by squatting Camorra mafia families, and the building is now seen as a symbol of their power in the Naples region, a centre of European drug trafficking. (It was used as the set of the 2008 filmGomorrah.) German photographer Tobias Zielony documented the building and its occupants. He animated 7,000 single images, shot at night with a digital camera, to create a nine-minute film. The film disassociates itself from real time with its jerky editing and stuttering movements. The architecture falls in and out of focus. Zielony captures lethargy, the transitory state between night and day, and the familiar marriage of utopian architecture and dystopian society. There is no mention of the mafia, drugs, or crime, just young, broken kids slouching, smoking, and disappearing into shadows, albeit with an otherworldly, melancholy beauty.


Tobias Zielony is represented by KOW, Berlin.


The Vele project was funded by Lia Rumma, Naples.