Mum has been staying with me for the past 10 days and it's been a fairly condensed schedule of activities. It's been very satisfying though, Maria is such a generous person, always attentive and sensitive to her surroundings. I cried when she got on the plane to leave.

On Sunday we made a trip to her home town, San Severo, in Puglia. We took a train across to the south. The landscape looked different to Tuscany. The train line ran parallel to the Adriatic sea, so close sometimes that it appeared like we were moving across the surface of it. In San Severo we visited the house where mum was born on Via dei Mille. The house looked like it had been recently renovated and the front door didn't look like she remembered it. We walked around the corner and found another house that she felt reminded her more accurately of her own.

We visited the primary school that my uncles attended and the cemetery where my great grandparents were buried. The graves were over 50 years old, so a caretaker at the cemetery had to dig into the handwritten records to find their location.

We walked past a large crucifix and turned right towards the area of graves that had been moved and condensed into a kind of miniature apartment block for bones. These were built to house the older graves when they ran out of space. We both posed for photos infront of the stones as a record for ourselves and to send back to the family. I guess I feel weird about posting photos of a gravestone here, not sure why. Yesterday I saw a tourist taking a photo of the skeleton buried under the Prato Cathederal and even though the skeleton was fucking ancient it still seemed perverse. A few weeks ago I found some texts by the artist Enzo Cucchi:

“The cemetery is part of my landscape; it’s one of the things that I know best. I have always lived in small no-man’s lands where the cemetery was the most important thing. You very often find skulls here in the countryside. It’s an image, not a subject. It’s a very strong moral and spiritual bond with what surrounds me. In the village it’s something like the heart which beats and which symbolically unites the community. My cemetery is alive. Everything is linked up to it...”

I've seen quite a few of Cucchi's works with skulls and this text has really helped to locate them in a geographical and temporal way, literally littered across central Italy (blurring the symbolic & phenomenological aspect of representation).

Walking around San Severo with my mum I was wondering alot about my extended family. Mum said that she loved hearing her dialect spoken on the street, she remembered the image of the Madonna, which was so specific to the town. I suppose that I was looking for a feeling or sign that I was somehow linked to this place, but instead it brought into sharp relief how I remote that link is.