6TH CONTINENT

The unifying effect of the Mediterranean superimposes a sameness and likeness on all the unlikeness of its inhabitants. Therefore the Mediterranean from an ethnic point of view is a sixth continent distinct from the arbitrary five continents of geographers. The Mediterranean divides but never separates. (…) Take people from the very antipodes of the earth, scatter them along the shores of the Mediterranean and by an indefinable magic of the air, sun and blue skies or whatever else that magic is, they will all become Mediterranean in a matter of a few years.

The Fisherman of Halikarnassos, The Sixth Continent

IRON

LAND

WOOD

STONE

THE JOURNEY

The origins of the project date back to the year 2007. Mattia Insolera, internationally awarded documentary photographer, sailed away from Italy with a friend who wanted to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat. After two weeks of navigation he realized he was more interested in life on the shore rather than the mere task of sailing. He dropped down in the Strait of Gibraltar and there he had a first glimpse of a truly Mediterranean environment, a world inhabited by seamen and dockers, smugglers and migrants. He decided to devote the next years of his life to a comprehensive photographic project about Mediterranean culture. Soon after he moved to Barcelona to be in a place well connected to its shores. From there he was able to reach 13 Mediterranean countries, traveling on any kind of boat, from sailing to cargo, and covering 25.000 Km with his motorbike. 

Click to enlarge

THE FOCUS

Nowadays most of the people know the Mediterranean for being a paradise of sea, sun and blue sky. Belonging to this area Mattia felt the urge to scratch the surface of this touristic cliché and try to capture the real essence of this space. The Mediterranean of the XXI Century has become divisive: a barbed wired fence between the North and the South of the world. It is also the basin where the major conflicts of the world are taking place, a dangerous passage for those who flee from misery and war and even a cemetery for 20.000 migrants that sunk in its waters in the last 20 years. It wasn't always like this. In the past this inner sea was inclusive: a bridge connecting shores and different cultures, a fertile soil for the very first civilisations. According to the Turkish writer known as the Fisherman of Halikarnassos, it was a Sixth Continent, distinct from the arbitrary five continents of geographers, assimilating people coming from the antipodes of the earth, turning them into Mediterraneans. Mattia wanted to find out if something remained of that time so he focused his camera on people who still use the sea as a surface for transportation, a working place, an area of exchange, in other words, people who still experience the sea as a Sixth continent.

 

THE BOOK 

Hardback, 186 x 273 mm (7.3 x 10.7 in), 270 pp, fold-out map

102 photographs by Mattia Insolera

Foreword by Arianna Rinaldo

Designed by de.MO

ISBN 978-0-9897231-4-5

This is a poetic travelog that takes you through a journey into space and time, a guide for travelers willing to discover the other side of the Mediterranean. Designed by de.MO, it features quotes taken from a rich literary tradition, stories and anecdotes from people encountered along the way and a beautifully hand drawn map. This work appeals to a very broad audience: those who are keen on maritime culture, social and environmental issues, anthropological and historical studies. It can help to understand the past and present of this region and to spread its message of cultural inclusion, a useful lesson to manage our troubled times. If you would like to back up the 6TH CONTINENT project you have a selection of rewards to choose from, including posters, shopper bags, signed copies of the book, as well as limited edition archival prints. Contact mattiainsolera@gmail.com  

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, The Sixth Continent - Predrag Matvejevic, Mediterranski Brevijar - Lluis Ferrés Gurt, Secretos del Mediterraneo - Fernand Braudel, La Mediterranée, l'espace et l'histoire - Braudel / Duby, La Mediterranée, les hommes et l'heritage - Goran Shildt, The Sea of Icarus - Scipione Guarracino, Mediterraneo, immagini storie e teorie da Omero a Braudel - William Dalrymple, Dalla montagna sacra - Amin / Yachir, El Mediterraneo en el mundo, la aventura de la transnacionalización - Manuel Vicent, Son de mar - Jean Claude Izzo, Les marins perdus - Alber Camus, El verano - Michael Grant, The Ancient Mediterranean - Dirk Vandevalle, History of contemporary Libia - Stefano Liberti, A sud di Lampedusa - Gabriele del Grande, Mamadou va a morire - Gabriele del Grande, Il mare di mezzo - Antoine Cassar, Mappa Tal Mediterran - Alexandre Dumas, Excursion aux Iles Eoliennes - Ibn Battuta, Travels - Erodotous, Histories 

THE CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN

$ 34,544 raised

115% of the goal ($ 30,000)

The campaign started on Dec 04, 2014 and closed on Jan 18, 2015