Voglia - Elise Wouters


(noun), /vò·glia/

[1] desire, longing, wish
[2] birthmark

I meet the city through my body.

My feet map out the curves of the cobblestones; my arms stretch out into the width of the arches. I measure my shadow against the one cast by the marble statue, and project my silhouette onto the façade of the cathedral, where it roams along the weathered stone, sizing up the nooks and recesses.

I seek out the places where the city’s desires rise up to meet mine. The curtains in the breeze and the sheets on the line draw me closer until I can imagine them wrapping around my torso. As I move within the streets, the streets move within me. I linger with the possibility of space ­– of open doorways and the cradle of empty chairs – waiting to be filled.

Sight feels like touch. Touch becomes memory. Memories swell in my imagination like rising dough. When I catch the reflection of someone’s gaze through a shopfront window, our faces briefly merge in the glass – his lips on mine, my eyes into his – and the feeling of our intertwined features becomes embedded in me, lingering long after we part. Behind closed doors, the city continues its movements within me. It churns on and on, into my dreams, where I feel the echo of knees folding in prayer, of oranges peeling onto bare skin, of fishermen’s hands working the knots.

My body is never separate from the space that surrounds it; we share a singular experience, continuously interacting and redefining one another. When the morning sun licks its way along my bare legs by the fountain edge, my encounter with the light, the stone and the mist above the water is projected back into the street, shifting its shadows, redirecting a sliver of the day’s direction.

The body serves as the site of the city's sensuality, in the same way that the streets shape the sensuous self.

Desire is ingrained into the skin – longing as a birthmark.

1. Edition 09/2023
Texts by Elise Wouters
Book design by 89books
144 pages
17 x 23 cm
77 color photographs
Soft cover
Digital print

ISBN 979-12-80423-55-9

Category Book