BY THE SEA is a journey through various tourist centres of the coastal zones of our country. Entirely removed from any bucolic areas that the title may suggest, the project deals with centres that have grown significantly in recent years and configure much of the identity of our coastline. With this title, the project aims to indicate and dialogue with an important reference and starting point, “Bord de Mer” by Gabriele Basilico, who in the mid-1980s documented the changing landscape of the coasts of the North Sea as part of the Mission Photographique DATAR.
The series of photographs that make up this project include snapshots that capture the highly recognisable and established coastal landscape morphology which, beyond constant metamorphosis, shows a particular landscape identity, a genetic code that is very often definitive of these seaside areas. These images show the aftermath, the result of years of constrictive vortex that has overrun these sites and given rise to landscapes that are highly fragmentary and histrionic.
This project therefore approaches an archetypical scenic typology of leisure centres on the Mediterranean coast, which in the form of resorts and other tourist complexes have reordered and transformed important stretches of it. These large buildings, erected quickly to serve tourists immediately, also mistakenly respond to a time that has already ended. In the current context of crisis, these facilities hibernate for most of the year, awaiting the summer months or some congress or festival so they may resume their activities partially or for brief periods.
From areas of apparent luxury to utter degradation, a broad, diverse and ultra-stratified spectrum weaves these papier-mâché decorations together. Hidden in the borders of their planning, their model responds to nothing more than the urgency of invented needs through purely economic or political strategies that lead to a precarious, spontaneous and totally unbalanced urbanism that is the result of accumulation and not order, a panoptic universe free of any sort of hierarchy and seemingly destined to expand and reproduce itself until the point of satiation.