KLAT magazine

Sunday October 21st 2012 by Peter Thomas Lang

Preview of “Diario del Gran Tour #13, Padiglione Italia, Biennale di Architettura di Venezia | Klatmagazine”Preview of “Diario del Gran Tour #13, Padiglione Italia, Biennale di Architettura di Venezia | Klatmagazine”

Klat Magazine asked me to write about when i first understood i was a “GranTouristas? someone who is capable of sharing their paths, that can tell a story through images and text, or by moving by bicycle or a click of a mouse from one link to another, but that no one has read the manual for the GrandTouristas.

One of the most famous lines in the 1982 film Blade Runner by director Ridley Scott is spoken not by a human but by the replicant Roy Batty played by Rutger Hauer. With Harrison Ford’s Deckard slumped on the roof in pouring rain, Batty utters his last lines: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Something has been driving me for years to seek things that very few people would ever see for themselves. I was always trying to get into places that were locked or closed off. When I was just 15 years old staying in a summer camp in northeastern Hungary I was stopped by border guards as I tried to sneak across a field into Slovakia.  In my High School in upstate New York we often went into closed factory yards along the Hudson Valley to find spots where we could view the world without anyone around.

When I lived in New York City in the early 80s I would often explore the abandoned sites on the both sides of New York’s collapsing waterfront. I discovered how to climb up the abandoned High Line, which back then was where graffiti artists used to make barbeques into the night. I used to hang out inside the almost 200 year old ruins of the old New York City Lunatic Asylum on Roosevelt Island, just across from the 59th street Bridge connecting Manhattan. When I finally came to Italy to do research, I ran into the group Stalker in Rome, whom I found very expert in wandering around abandoned spaces. I have since spent quite a lot of time with them walking the most hidden and unknown places in Rome.

Still, I could find myself alone at night in Maghera dragging a suitcase making a mini adventure of a couple hours between train connections from Mestre. But there was one occasion, when I was driving late at night on the Autostrada del Sole in one of the worst winter storms I had ever seen, trying to stay alive while passing a line of trucks that went uninterrupted from Naples probably to Milan, with their headlights and their colorful running lights, symbols of crosses, names of saints in neon glowing in the swirling storm, that I remembered what the replicant Batty said, just before he dies. I think some of us just keep exploring, thinking the next trip we take could end up being the most powerfully poetic of them all, and probably lost to history like “tears in rain.” I don’t know if this is the best explanation about how to live like a Grantouristas, but I think about these things every time I leave my house in the morning.