the PAV Parco Arte Vivente presents the group exhibition La Natura e la Preda, which addresses the theme of colonial memory through the works of Irene Coppola, Edoardo Manzoni, Daniele Marzorati and Alessandra Messali. Far from being an innate condition, indifferent to circumstances, being prey is a positioning that is conferred in relation to other subjects, the object of the predator's targeted strategy. We can say that something becomes prey - and therefore huntable - as a result of a process of distinction, hierarchization or exclusion from shared orders.
To draw a theory of prey, it is necessary to think both about the politics of representation and the ways in which power constructs social identities through repression. Compared to other conflict strategies, hunting is not a struggle between equals, but provides for an original imbalance given by the material supremacy of the hunter. Confronting today with the colonial memory, Italian and not only, does not mean having to deal only with a forgotten and repressed past: the forms of oppression that we thought we had left in the times of slavery or plantation, re-emerge in the neo-archaic pushed reconfigurations by the power of neoliberal economic policies.
Prey, which has the same etymology as the verb to take, is always something that is acquired by violence and capture and is an action that we have legitimized and attributed to nature. Building a theory of prey can be an important tool in addressing the dramatic topicality of colonial memory: the four emerging artists invited to the exhibition are not naturalists, but archaeologists of a social history of nature, who investigate by working on representations of the exotic, of hunting, of colonial experimentation on plants. Edoardo Manzoni's hunting scenes, traps and calls for birds reflect on the aestheticization of the violence of the images produced in Africa during the colonial period. The representation of the "beast" tamed and killed, exasperated in order to make hunting a heroic undertaking, is functional to the big game as an exotic tool, a metaphor for the subjugation of populations. Daniele Marzorati's project, in turn, traces some of the physical traces of the colonial repressed in the Italian territory, a photographic research that activates connections between the normative power of official history and apparently neutral objects, looking at the link between fascism, colonialism and racism making use of of the concepts of "race" and "racialization", as expressed by Mellino, that is the hierarchization through the ideology of "race", which invisibly persists in the Italian social structure.