From November 11, Angelucci will work with Majella Thomas from his art group Illimine to pen 10 kilometres of linked poems along the Upfield bike path, which runs all the way from Union Street to Fawkner’s cemetery.
In doing so, they’ll stitch together the north and the south and encourage people to cross over the “fence” from one side to the other.
Entitled ‘A Narrow Road to the Deep North’, the duo’s project is a durational writing performance conceived as a meditation on the urban landscape, the experience of place and the power of walking.
The two artists will be moving along the path, writing on the white line which separates the two bike lanes.
They’ve estimated that if they write for four to five hours a day, the project will be completed within a month.
Day by day, readers will be able to discover the unfolding story, thus participating in the journey both through the narrative and physically, with each step they take.
The project is part of a larger event, the MoreArt Public Art Show, which runs from November 11 to December 16, and showcases Moreland’s community and places, based along the Upfield train line and bike path.
MoreArt features a series of dedicated attractions and activities along the path, including bike tours on which you can admire Angelucci and Thomas’ work.
While the string of poems will be officially exhibited until mid-December, Angelucci says it could be visible on the track for up to a year.
“As a collective, Illumine does written and durational performances that last for a long time,” he explains.
“We create experiences in which people can take a bit more time to contemplate and reflect on particular practices.”
With this particular project, Angelucci and Thomas hope to reveal the hidden history of the bike path and parallel train line, which was once used to transport bodies to the cemetery in Fawkner.
“We encourage people to stay on the path longer than they usually would and see what happens to them and their appreciation of it,” Angelucci explains.
“It’s a suggestion to slow down and look at the place for what it is, without us directing it too much.”
The project borrows its name from the 17th-century book The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō, and the duo aim to adopt Bashō’s approach in writing a poetic reflection on travel.
The pair’s work is a result of their encounters with both the bike track and those who live along it.
“Majella and I walked up and down the path several times and we used that experience to create our stories,” Angelucci explains.
“We also met members of the community: we went to the Coburg Carnivale [in September] and then we visited Fawkner, and on both occasions we invited people to write linked sentences about their suburb to create their own narrative.
“We collected the material and when we hit those two suburbs on the bike path, we’ll use it to talk about them.”
Born in Bolzano and having lived in Australia since 2002, Angelucci is perhaps better known for his role as Cassamarca Lecturer in Italian Studies at the University of Melbourne.
Interestingly, the multitalented Italian became an artist in an attempt to better answer his own academic questions.
“As a lecturer I study Italian literature and I got into art because I started to think that I needed to do it in order to learn about it,” he says.
“Now I live a bit of a double life where my head is an academic and my heart is an artist.”
We look forward to seeing the artist in Angelucci come alive on one of Melbourne’s most travelled paths.