La Ricerca della Bellezza è un atto Eversivo
Officine Zero - Rome, 2019
Officine Zero was an illegal occupation of the area of the former RSI (Rail Services Italia) in Rome. Before it went bankrupt it was a place where night trains were maintained in all their parts, from top to bottom. A beautiful area in the middle of Rome filled with trees, where many separate buildings with workshops stood filled with working machinery of all kinds.
After the bankruptcy some of the ex employees decided to occupy the place and after a while opened it to the public. That’s when Officine Zero began to work on its project—that was seven years ago.
Since then Officine Zero evolved to become a multifactory where artisans, designers, freelancers, photographers, graphic designers, coworkers, journalists, researchers, ceramists, upholsterers, architects, and video makers worked together aiming to find new mechanisms of collaboration, relationships, organization of work, sustainability, all finalized to build a better way of living and working for everybody.
We tried to convince institutions of the social value of the project but they hardly listened, their only concern was our illegality not our project and it's social value.
Every once in a while there have been auctions to sell the area without bidders, and last year a very powerful bank decided to buy it.
David and Goliath.
We fought with all our forces, we forced institutions to take part in what was happening, we started a negotiation with the bank that led us to a deal. We asked for another place to develop the project, but that didn’t work out. In the end they gave us money to leave the area and we accepted. These money will be exclusively used to develop our social project in another space, no single person will use it otherwise. We were even promised by institutions that they would give us another area and now we’re waiting, but things evolve really slowly.
All the years I’ve been in and with Officine Zero have been the most incredible years of my life, concerning both relationships with others and a new way to work based on a collaborative economy. A beautiful community of people was born in there and today it is still alive and kicking ready to build a future elsewhere with this project for the devastated city of Rome.
During these years we have become great friends, ending up loving each other, respecting different ideas and points of view, never willing to impose rules or laws but trying to build them all together, without ever having leaders. Not easy but really worth it.
We smiled, worked, loved, fought, cried, made errors that taught us a lot, gained successes, always with a common aim, to make life better for us and for others, trying to move away from what we understood is not working in this society that aims exclusively at power and profit at the expense of everything and everybody.
LA RICERCA DELLA BELLEZZA È UN ATTO EVERSIVO/THE RESEARCH FOR BEAUTY IS A SUBVERSIVE ACT
This is a message I left on the roof of the main building of the area. It’s for the newcomers, whom I’m sure never ever understood and will understand what beauty really is.
I’m talking about beauty in the most extended way: in relationships, in respect for people and nature, in collaboration between people, in comprehension, curiosity, in brotherhood and sisterhood, in culture, in the sharing of knowledge and goods, in friendship, in humanity and hospitality, all this in deep contrast with the pillars of what our contemporary western society is pushing us to desire.
We are searching for this beauty, something that money and power and greed cannot understand at all.
Video and photo by Simone Forzan