Dulcis Domus documents the many abandoned villas, palaces and castles found across the urban and rural areas of Europe, belonging to once affluent families. Most of these homes are concentrated in countries which held a precarious political position during the World Wars. First abandoned, they were appropriated by the ruling regime and then re-appropriated by the surviving members of the families after the conflict ended, only to once again be abandoned when the world entered post-war economic fluctuations. Too far away from the bustling cities of the new age and too expensive to be restored or maintained, a staggering number of them now stand abandoned and overgrown, often very difficult to reach.
Yet, we’re intent on reaching them. As they pass out of memory amidst the odd heritage dispute, they beckon and call to whomever might still hear. With the increasing restriction of movement in urban environments, there is an overwhelming encouragement to avert the gaze. And so we avert the gaze from these scaffolding-clad skeletons, the castles swallowed by trees, the houses suspended in time. Because crossing the border of imposed restrictions, crossing into abandonments, means to purposefully go against ingrained beliefs – to breach a loose social contract held together by fear of punishment and a comfortable status quo.
But fuelled by curiosity, we answer their call. To find a new home, a new sense of freedom in a snugly structured world, we claim the ones that were once called by that name, once again reappropriating not only the structure itself but their own personal histories as well. These homes become grotesquely revitalized as sites of our own search for meaning, but remain within their own reality. In turn, we become vehicles of disparity, embodying the otherness and the radical alterity offered by abandonments.
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