Photography Sodom and Gomorrah


"At night they will think they have seen the Sun,
When they see the half-pig man.
Noise, screams battles seen fought in the skies.
The brute beasts will be heard to speak".
Nostradamus, Century I, Quatrain 64
~§~
1- The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2- "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning." "No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square." 3- But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4- Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom-both young and old-surrounded the house. 5- They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." 6- Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7- and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 8- Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."
Book of Genesis, chapter 19
~§~
"Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them,
since they in the same way as these indulged
in gross immorality and went after strange flesh,
are exhibited as an example,
in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire"
Epistle of Jude. 1:7
~§~
30- Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31- One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. 32- Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father." 33- That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 34- The next day the older daughter said to the younger, "Last night I lay with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father." 35- So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 36- So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father.
Book of Genesis, chapter 19
~§~
10- And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits;
and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled,
and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.

Book of Genesis, chapter 14
~§~
Introducing the men-women,
descendants of those of the inhabitants of Sodom
who were spared by the fire from heaven.
Sodom and Gomorrah 1921/22, Page 9 [introduction], Marcel Proust
~§~
10- And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11- Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12- Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13- But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Book of Genesis, chapter 13
~§~
And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts:
but they give no thought to the work of the Lord,
and they are not interested in what his hands are doing.

Isaiah, Chapter 5, Verse 12
~§~
23- By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24- Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah-from the Lord out of the heavens. 25- Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land. 26- But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Book of Genesis, chapter 19

SODOM and GOMORRAH

Many things have been said about sodom and gomorrah but still nobody knows anything.

The only the only "plentiful" evidence that Sodom and Gomorrah actually existed has been handed down to us by the Book of Genesis.
Some think that they are submerged under the heavy waters of the Dead Sea, destroyed by a natural disaster as was Pompeii. In fact, according to geological studies, the area where they stood appears to be rich in sulphur, bitumen and oil (not yet found).
When it is said that Lot's wife (Lot was the only inhabitant fearful of God and was therefore saved from Divine wrath), overwhelmed by the seed of doubt and second thoughts, was transformed into a pillar of salt upon looking behind her as she was fleeing, one could understand her to have been struck by a scorching gust of sulphur and ashes, as with the petrified bodies of the ancient Pompeiians.
So as not to have to face the colossus of Archeology, I have decided to approach the subject by following a precise itinerary, imagining landscapes, portraits, environments and objects, and by following almost the same path that Italo Calvino took thirty years ago in his Le Citta' Invisibili [The Invisible Cities] (1972, Einaudi) where, through Marco Polo's eyes, he visited these seemingly believable cities. He wrote:

All cities were invented; I have given each one a woman's name: Procopia, Zenobia, Chloe, Hypatia, Zora, Phyllis, etc (...). The book was created one piece at a time, at intervals which were sometimes lengthy (...). I keep a file on objects, a file on animals, one on individuals, one on historical figures and another on mythological heroes. I have a file on the four seasons and one on the five senses; in one I collect pages related to the cities and landscapes of my life and in another, imaginary cities, outside of space and time.

I have the habit of taking photographs of everything wherever I go: human and animal matter, objects, landscapes and architecture. Materials that I have accumulated and catalogued of things photographed in museums and on the street, on trips outside Europe and on brief afternoon outings.
Materials presented in this imaginary journey, the journey which launched me into the metaphor of these two forbidden and damned cities where people happily live in a total absence of morality, devoted to vice and lust, where every kind of sexual perversion is part of everyday life.
In Sodom and Gomorrah, sexual perversion is considered a virtuosity. Virtuosity in which genetic crossbreeding from one generation to the next accumulates over time. Yet it did not cause shame; on the contrary, for the New Progeny it was the rule to show off with pride and irony an evermore unique body.
I have imagined these two cities as a kind of amusement park for visionaries, where my gaze is neither accusing nor benevolent, but simply amused and curious, open to taking in as much as possible. An enormous freak show designed with kitsch and geometrical rationality, like that of crib, where one can get lost, and scrutinize an intimate daily life as hybrid as it is metaphysical, and then find one's path, perhaps to get lost again.
In short, I have wanted the people of Sodom and Gomorrah to be happy, creative and imaginative up to the very day of the apocalypse in which God omnipotent, vexed by their excessive exuberance, decided to spread forevermore his immense black veil.

"Sodom and Gomorrah" is an open-ended project, to which I will continue to add artworks. It is an always expanding project, like Sodom and Gomorrah would be if they had survived the Divine Wrath: an irrational expansion, chaotic, exuberant and spontaneous. Just like that of all modern cities.

Alessandro Bavari, 2000


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