“[…] hunc inter fluvio Tiberinus amoeno verticibus rapidis et multa flavus harena in mare prorumpit […]” Virgil.

What remains of the mythology of the blonde Tiber, strictly linked as it is to the birth of Rome and over 2000 years of history, as its waters dwindle season after season?

The  epochal changes of waters in the twenty-first century speak of a revolutionary upheaval that is not limited to the social but also affects cultural, mythological, and poetical identities. As transformations occur at increased speed, there is a need to rethink cities, waterways, fountains, and agricultural foundations. These are not just systems but also cultural substrata linked to food and modus vivendi that have shaped the anthropological and existential beliefs of pre-Roman populations, each with its meanings and interpretations of what it means to be ‘Italics’. Waters are relocated and redistributed, with systematic overexploitation of the aquifers, while the beds of the streams, brooks, and rivers are dried out.

As waterways capitulate under the pressure of scarcity, there is no longer a place to safely hide Romulus and Remus along the banks of the river Tiber. We are obliged to reimagine our futures without water. Water that, even if abundant, is increasingly polluted with PFAs, lead, chlorine, and nanoplastics.

In post-postcapitalistic societies of exploitation of common resources, the definition of water is solely conceived in economic liberal terms and as a privatization of the public’s existence through the creation and management of scarcity. In Italy — and in Rome in particular — these Western forms of liberalism are translated and substantiated in conniving corporate structures that harmoniously and cohesively blend mafias and politics.

The talk will examine the stark realities of the Italian state which has abdicated its role and has become an enforcer of corporate water exploitation and future necropolitics of thirst.

Keywords: Thirst, water, necropolitics, tears, drought

The artist acknowledges the support of the Museo delle Periferie.

With thanks to Giorgio de Finis and Linda Mazzoleni.