Barbara Manzetti.
Stay. Stranger/Claudia
and Gheorghe’s Family

© Bartolomeo Terrade.
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Barbara Manzetti —

Stylization Reducing the Description of
the Face

— On a proposal from Mathilde Villeneuve,
co-director of the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers.

------------------ (EXCERPT) ------------------ to read more buy the book: Shop                    Translated by Ana Iwataki

Past the ring road I stop in a betting shop. Where male figures bump into one another. More sporadically women, like different musical genres brought together in close quarters. All are pirates mothered by the sufficient affection of the manager. Educated by the salacious jokes of the captain. That’s enough for them. Especially on Sunday during the interminable and empty afternoons. When they are tired. And to hear them. In dissatisfaction they accumulate and capitalize on decades. From the outside I see their faces, like old children. Bald heads decapitated by the frame of the window. A few steps away, a line spills out of the bakery. Entrails reminiscent of the discontinued body of the suburb. Here is the suburb of the suburb made up of identical lots. Discontinuity in the sky too, under the weaving of electric cables. If I push the door, the skin of my face sticks to other skin shiny with use. I admire the harmonized postures. Rolled-up sleeves. Slanted gazes. And the smiles. And the hands that keep themselves busy. Reorganizing the chessboard of tables. I admire the black, prominent pupils. Other opaque stares. And the mythic corpulence of migrants assembled together. Survivors of shipwrecks, as we know. Assured nowadays on screens. Their jackets all seem unwashed. So their faces radiate. With beauty. Or simply the habit that they’ve adopted in surviving. Outside what should be countryside. Or rush of the capital, out of joint. Remaining sealed-off in decrepit asphalt. Like the little-known history, never written, of exemplary ghettos. Ghettos of the men and women I see with forearms slipping out from the plastic blinds. Who close them as I pass by, to preserve the privacy of the ground floor. My story is punctuated by the iron gates of pavilions. Landscaped like castles with Italian gardens. Metaphorically supported by plaster columns. Commentated by statues and their floral arrangements with automatic sprinklers. Isolated phrases in their paragraph. Otherwise the punctuation is held by the reccurrence of bus stops. Unfinished stories sprinkled along incongruous distances. Or faces that are expressive backwards. The eyelids of the nap in suspense. Or thanks to the hands still holding the basket handle. Or the tired legs of seated women. Transporting the world and its foodstuffs. Among these women are some older ones. They feel their bodies. We don’t know what it feels like anymore, a body. Bodies of women. Our humble mothers who never rest. Or fragmentarily. On kilometers of desert where they carry the bread. The least expensive of them all. Cut baguette. Lined up in perpendicular bags with potato string. That they hold with their calves…