“How to get together other than by keeping on talking?”
In Dutch the use of loanwords is increasing rapidly: Dutch children are now
called ‘kids’, and words like ‘mediator’ and ‘artist talk’ have more or less
replaced their Dutch equivalents. In lectures, English is the main language and
one tends to believe that English is the lingua franca for everybody. Until we
arrive at Strada Canne in Celleno early in 2017, that is. We can’t find Casa
Amenta Maria and are happy to find out that the lady wearing glasses whom we
meet on the dusty country road doesn’t stop talking to us. By listening to her
carefully, we manage to find our destination.
We are from the Netherlands and you can picture us walking from our home to
our studio and back in this nice, Dutch street. Our neighbours, as well as people
from the rest of the world, walk down this same road. This is where I meet this
girl from Mumbai who is studying neuroscience and the woman from Ethiopia
who has fled her family, in her expressive clothes. This is the road where a
Mexican lady embraces me after every short conversation, where I meet an
African beauty she and I take pictures of, and where I come across the woman
from Parma who has taught us some Italian words and expressions three times
so far. And all this against a decor of one big facade wall of houses.
There are no crowds of people like this, here in Celleno; you are on your own in
this wide landscape that makes me drunk. At night the moon casts its shadow on
the ground and there are thousands of stars in the sky. In the morning I see a
black cloud of starlings and, apart from their twittering, I can hear their wings
moving the air. Two years ago there was a lot of snow by the end of February.
Now, the landscape is hiding in mist until, on Monday, the Tramontana is rising.
By Wednesday, this northerly wind has blown everything dry, and I feel as if I
have put glasses on. The landscape at our feet has suddenly become so intense
and sharp that we can discern the Corno Grande at some sixty miles from where
we are standing.
Translation Hans Kal