A Wall in Naples
A Wall in Naples: Charting Walls, Gateways and Interfaces of Rituals Gestures and Transactions
Naples, once the capital of the maritime Kingdom of Two Sicilies and now a major port city in the Mediterranean, is today a place of chaotic contrasts. Poor urban planning and reconstruction after World War II, recent technological advances - industrialisation and inconsistent investment have transformed how the city and its economy are structured. Large sections of the historic city walls were demolished to make way for a highway connecting the port to new industrial suburbs, replacing a protective porous interface for people and goods with a physical barrier between the city and the sea. Taking Thomas Jones’ painting A Wall in Naples of 1782 as a material and formal record of pre-unification Naples, A Wall in Naples develops new market typologies from those of the old city, still evident in the ruins of the Roman agora beneath the Monastery of San Lorenzo, in the fish markets of Porta Nolana, and as documented in Domenico Gargiulo’s painting Piazza Del Mercato (1648-52), which depicts a scene in the marketplace during the Revolt of Masaniello in 1647. In these historic markets, products from distant lands were unloaded, stored, prepared, exchanged and sold. A series of new interfaces bridge two urban conditions: the street markets of the historic city and the industrial and commercial zones of the post-war port. Echoing the route from the ancient agora to the waterfront, and the social urgency of Gargiulo’s painting, A Wall in Naples proposes a market boulevard from Porta Nolana to the port, a new ‘gate’ in the (ghost) city wall, and a series of hinges forming social, economic and material gateways through which wine, fish, cheese and fireworks are made present in the city.
Collaborators: Callum von Domarus & Peter Wheatcroft