I was raised in Italy from the age of five and when I returned to the United States at eighteen, I was surprised by the way I was affected by the landscape I had never known or explored. I found myself drawn to American culture as it is stereotypically represented in movies and TV - the quaint houses, the schools with cheerleaders and locker rooms, the drive-in movie theaters – and how those stereotypes are reflected in the real world. I began exploring the American space that I envisioned myself inhabiting throughout my childhood and the culture that I longed to identify with. I began focusing on those elements of the built environment that reflect a culture which I define as distinctly American. In Italy history is visual, physical and constantly present. In America, history often seems intangible, set within the parameters of museums, statues and plaques. American Idyll examines America as a multifaceted and malleable culture.
American topography, both natural and social, lacks a sense of permanence. The seemingly short architectural lifecycle in America creates a particular visual dynamic between permanent and transient spaces. I am interested in the disposability of the built landscape and the way that this young country is grappling with managing itself through time. I am fascinated by the American dream, the construction of the ideal life within that dream and the tension between the constructed, idealized world and the natural, unassuming one.
While these images all belong to a specific location within the country, they add up to form my personal experience of a space and a history. My goal is to not get caught in the specificity of the culture, but rather to explore the ways in which the ordinary and the extraordinary play a part in a foreigner’s stereotypical understanding of America.