"Adio Pastori!". Ethics and Aesthetics of an Alphabetized Pastoral Subculture: The case of fiemme in the Eastern Alps (1680-1940)
In the recent past the slopes of Mount Cornon were subject to intensive use in a local economy based on forestry, tillage and grazing. Down through the centuries the shepherds working in the area left thousands of inscriptions on the rock using red ochre. The writings specifically make use of alphabetic signs and numbers in a significant display of the sheperds' acquired ability to write. In this context, the recurrent "tag"-like format of the shepherd-writers, a single glyph with one's initials and a date, not unlike that of the contemporary graffiti-writers of the metropolitan suburbs, can be seen as the embodiment of a specific aesthetic of self-esteem, group distinction and individual pride, and as the specific voice of a community of marginal workers exiled to the mountain flanks.