The word natura (nature) comes from natus, that means born, and urus, the generative energy. The word selvatico (wilderness) originates from selva (forest), which has the same root as sole (sun), and it means to burn.
The word wilderness comes from the Old English wildeornes, where deor is the animal of the forest, and it means, in a broad sense, a place of danger and difficulty in which everything depends on the ability to survive. But. If we wanted to go back to the real etymology of these words, we should go a long way more, leave the city, reach a wild space large enough – sometimes it can be a long long way – and spend there a significant amount of time. In silence. Walking, if possible.
The first sense to wake, amazed, it would be the sense of smell: the freshness rising from the damp earth, the balsamic amber of resins, the smell from the trod moss.Then, in order not to stumble, we would go again to pay attention to where we put our feet, and to touch with hands all things around, rough, sticky, slippery: a polished floor it is only a forcing to which we are accustomed too much. (At the beginning, someone has mapped out a path for us – someone would say a rut – without obstacles.) A rediscovered capacity to watch and listen it could be the blessing for visual and hearing. At dusk, we could be overwhelmed by a primordial sense of loss mixed with excitement. In the dark, all senses would gather, triggering dormant mechanisms. In a short time, an archaic system, in which each living and inanimate element is in harmony with the other, known and shared, would replace the ridiculous line of thinking (culture?) imposed by the so-called civilization.
Give me as friends and neighbors wild men, not tame ones.
Henry David Thoreau
If we look at the last work of Alessandro Ciccarelli, the thing that catches the eye is just exactly the calm attempt to represent an emotional etymology of (his) wild side. These are images of an instinct, a trace of an exploration and the resulting sensations. They are all frames of a mental and physical ecosystem to recompose from founding elements, evoked by a human representation: it is on the film and on its colors that we can find the idea of water, air, earth and fire, but not into the portrayed reality, because this it is not immediately accessible.
From emerald and total green of logs standing out the sky, and of the sky, to the off-white of the dense fogs, from the red that comes when natural and human enter into a relationship, to the undergrowth’s brownish, the colors become photographer’s accomplices and contribute to an Archaeological activity on instincts: no one knows at what time or space the film, the colors and the intentions belong. It’s only possible to recognize the guessed sense of our own wildness, sensed from a nature that queries and incites doubt, a nature whose strength is to be found precisely in the fog and fading. It is also an ecological operation that cleans ourselves of all artificial residues.Sometimes it may happen that the image opens itself and, pacified, embraces all surroundings: some doubt is lost, but it only lasts a moment. These are photos of uninhabited space, the space of wilderness.
We could see paths suggested as a possible reconnection but, paying attention, none of the paths is really recommended. Fallen, broken or cut logs, imperviuos corners, and a vague sense of mystery, are the proof that the path is troubled. It can not be shown, but only undertaken in a very intimate way, and evoked, in a very personal way.
Often I am permitted to return back to a meadow / as if it were given property of the mind / that certain bounds hold against the chaos.
The Western world gives dark and negative meaning to the word “wild”, it rejects it. Wilderness is instead a return to primitive harmony that is the more resistant nerve. After all, we are orphans of the ecosystem that created us, a place where all elements are partakers of wholeness (Who can really say to be completely adapted to civilized life?). Living, writing, evoking this place is like talking about a wholeness from which the human being has decided to pull out. So, a material distance from our origins, that it is hard to fill. But there’s more.
The wild side, the inner one, includes, at varying doses, chaos, eros, all taboos and a sense of the unknown, it is the realm of the demonic and ecstatic together, of the archetypal power, where the engines of teaching and changing – elements of an overwhelming power – originate. After all we could walk on polished floors for quite long time and hide all this under a carpet. Return to the wild is an inner practice, all considered unseemly at this time. Investigating it is a risk that not many are willing to take. [Official Website]
I would like to say / Coyote is forever / Inside of you. / But it’s not true. Gary Snyder