14 Apr Margherita
“My focus is on terraced landscapes, maybe it’s more accurate to say that they’re my obsession. I am the godmother of the dry stone walls world championships. Oh yes, there are lots of different dry stone walls. For example, the Japanese make their walls so they are elastic and anti-seismic, the stones are fitted very differently from here. Like everyone here in the Cinque Terre, our lives vary greatly based on the season. In the summer we work and the winter is for traveling.
I know I'm lucky, I have a life that not even the rich can afford. I don't even have to get married!
When I travel I look for places with terraced landscapes. In the last two years I have built walls in semi-uninhabited islands in South Korea, then in Japan. Together with high school kids we programmed a video game set in the Cinque Terre called ‘Save the Wine.’ It’s like Donkey Kong but with wild boars and dry stone walls, it’s what they call an “edutainment” project. It all started the day after the 2011 flood. I was taken to see the collapsed dry stone walls, and, well, in my opinion they were not properly made. I’m part German, I am all for proper planning. To make a long story short, I asked my father to teach me how to make the dry stone walls. At first he wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea — I am still a woman. He realized that I was dead set on the idea so he finally gave in. Now I have an association called Tu Quoque, it seemed the most inclusive name to stimulate our propaganda work on the walls. We were featured in The New York Times a couple of years ago for our work with UNESCO’s seal of approval. Sometimes it’s necessary to play indirectly to become relevant in one’s own territory. How did they used to say in Latin? Nemo propheta in patria… and in fact it is sometimes easier to work in Munich, like I did a few years ago at the Rachel Carlson Center, than here. But the complexity is part of the beauty of the mission.
I lived in London for a couple of years, it was a time of intense research on my own identity. Then I went to the Ukraine, where I undertook an artistic performance to understand how girls my age could feel about living in such conditions as to make them available as brides for sale in a wedding catalog.
I had a lot of different wigs, I can become very different people if I need to.
I know 7 languages, Korean being one of them because Koreans are the Italians of Asia. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts. These past four years I’ve run my shop which is named after me, both my first and last name. I also sell hand-painted ceramics. My secret mission is to send the magnets back to their place of origin. Chinese tourists go crazy for the trinkets they produce, so much so that they are willing to buy them back at twenty times their original price on the other side of the world. Everything can seem exotic, if you look at it with new eyes.”