Summer is here and for many Americans (and visitors of the United States), it means one thing: road trip. When traveling by car for many hours and many miles, rest areas provide a place to stretch your legs, eat, use the restroom, and, in today’s world, return all of those texts and emails. Many of the rest areas along major highway systems are enclosed structures, offering air conditioning, large restroom facilities, vending machines, shopping and fast food options. However, for his series, “Passages II: Rest Areas,” Nicolo Sertorio focused on mostly abandoned and unused rest areas. “Having lost their function,” Sertorio says in his artist’s statement, “they become all about form, the empty symmetries attempting to control nature, as per a bygone ideology seeking to conquer the terrain.”
This series evolved from Sertorio’s earlier body of work, “Passages I: The Road,” exploring the idea that “nature” is seen through the window of a vehicle while driving past it. He tells PDN, “It is during the many travels to shoot that work that I started falling in love with the iconography of old rest areas and realizing how they are all slowly disappearing.”
Sertorio’s current body of work, “Passages III: Once We Were Here,” a look at man’s interference with the natural environment, is currently on display as part of The Fence at Photoville Atlanta 2014. Sertorio, though born in New Jersey, spent most of his childhood in Italy, and is now is based in San Francisco.