DEAD END TRACK
Lens Magazine|March 2021
On February 5th, was the first time I went to the Sanremo train station and got on the train to Ventimiglia, the last stop before the border.
ALDO AMORETTI
PARADISE

I sat and look out the window as the frames of the landscape go by, a paradise. I thought of our life thickened along these lines, an obsession since the days when I was studying architecture: roads, bridges, rivers, and foreshore.

Sedimented like limpets on the edge of the rock. There was a Middle Eastern family, lost faces, and a few bags in their hands in front of me. Their lives cling to migrant routes. We stopped in Ventimiglia, a beautiful neoclassical station. They went off the train. Here, since 2015, when France changed the access to its territory, the route is interrupted. And it spreads through the streets of the city. I got off too.

The railway continues in an intertwining of lines - the freeway entering from the north, the overpasses and underpasses that mix in unitary chaos. I skirt the railway line and arrive at a railway building now used as a Caritas center. It is nine o'clock, and the slow distribution of food is starting by the Volunteers, the people who move with tenacity, day after day, without illusions.

They walk in the mud of the present, their feet heavy, one step after another. I talk to them, and they listen to me: since the reception center was closed, they have been looking after the migrants who arrive. I started to take some pictures with my analog camera, the tripod as if I was filming a ceremony. I put myself on the other side of the railway - wires, cables, rails, fences, it all stand between me and the world.

I align the tracks' rectilinear shapes with the line of migrants, the only orderly element in this chaotic landscape. They wait under a gray sky like the souls in purgatory. I resume moving along the railway line, trying to put the order in this world that I realize I don't understand. I pass under a viaduct of the freeway, which, like an out-of-scale giant, emerges from the north and wraps around the railway before the River Roya bridge.

A group of Pakistani boys warms up with a makeshift fire—the perspective of the viaduct channels the cold wind that descends from the Maritime Alps to the sea. Four tracks continue on the bridge: the two on the left are shiny, a colored train passes us, with a direction to France; the other two on the right are opaque, a black boy walks there, they go to the abandoned freight yard. The bridge is divided into two mirrors of reality. I follow the tracks that go to the right, along the Roya River. The city is still present here. They carve out everyday life pieces, a tennis court, a house that collides with the barrier, a bowling alley.

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