Francesca Paola Beltrame
Francesca is a spatial practitioner based in Rome, whose work lies on the crossroads of architecture and art. Her practice is research-led and focuses on the potential of addressing governmental policies through design solutions, experimental materials and new techniques that protect ecosystems and communities. Her work is driven particularly by media experimentation and draws inspiration from the biosphere and other disciplines such as moving image, performance and sculpture. In 2019, Francesca graduated with a BSc in Architecture from the University of Bath and worked for one year at Foster+Partners in London before joining the Royal College of Art MA Architecture programme. Prior to that she has collaborated on projects at Husos Arquitectos in Madrid and Aim architecture in Shanghai.
“First arose Chaos”(1) explores the tension between mystical and rational; a notion embodied by our proximity to volcanic landscapes. What are Sicilians willing to tolerate by living under such a sublime force? By anthropomorphizing the volcano, inhabitants of such areas have developed rituals and traditions which have brought them into complete coexistence with nature. Local testimonies from witnesses of eruptions reveal both their fascination and fear. What sets these individuals apart from other communities is the acceptance of risk and the abandonment of hierarchical relationships with nature. After collecting testimonies from eruption witnesses across time and space, I understood that the key to living under a volcano is to trust its signals. The visual imagery narrates the collision between the home and volcano, imbuing domesticity into apparently inhospitable environments.
For the 2021 WiP show I chose to present my current research. I have been experimenting with volcanic materials and retracing important trajectories happening around Mount Etna. From religious precessions in Catania, to transhumance trails crossing the volcano. I am interested in engaging with the local traditions and its preservation in time both in terms of inhabitation and production in such a high risk area.
(1) Hesiod, The Theogony