Angela comes from Nigeria. At the end of December 2017 she gave birth to her first child Gift, at the neonatal unit of Sant’Anna hospital in Turin. The group of Doctors Without Borders who manage the Ex MOI medical advice centre and an obstetrician working at Sant’Anna took care of her while she was pregnant. Angela had a premature delivery and she had to remain in hospital for longer due to her little daughter medical condition. Back in her room on the ground floor of one of the Ex MOI buildings, Angela can finally take care of her daughter. Turin, January 2, 2018.
A view of the central courtyard from one of the windows of the orange building during the winter of 2017. The entire housing complex was built hastily, with low quality materials and was abandoned after the end of the Winter Olympics. The City of Turin has never given it a new destination. Turin, January 10, 2017.
Abdallah is a smith. That is what he did for a living in Libya and that is what he does at Ex MOI. He lives in an area of the basement, where he also has his workshop. He often repairs the carts of the residents who have taken to scrap-metal dealing. They go around the city at night collecting scrap metal that can be reused and any object they find near the skips that can be somehow recycled. Turin, January 24, 2017.
A group of four boys bivouac on the stairs that leading to the basement of the green building. This building is mainly inhabited by the Somali community. As there’s no heating inside the buildings, during the winter the numerous electric stoves lit cause frequent blackouts in the entire area. Turin, January 12, 2017.
Ousmane is a young boy from Niger but raised in Libya. He has always been passionated about trap music and rap and has managed to get a small space in the basement of the blue building, where he can record and mix his songs. Often he’s not alone and other friends of him who play and collaborate with him come to visit him. Turin, February 8, 2019.
The night before the eviction, the last building, the orange one, is still full of things and people. Abu, the barber, cuts a guy’s hair on the ground floor. The atmosphere is gloomy. The MOI experience is coming to an end. Turin, July 30, 2019.
Gbtaut a young boy from Ivory Coast. In 2018, after a thorough examination for tubecolosis, he was diagnosed with neck cancer. He undergoes surgery and the necessary treatment. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy weaken his body and mind. He loses weight and is wonderful smile. After long months of treatment he leaves the Ex MOI because with the help of the Babel cooperative he finds a shared place in an accomodation in the district of Barriera di Milano. Turin, March12, 2019.
Ali and Moussa spend a lot of their time at the ground floor of the orange building, one of the main “business areas” inside the occupation. Ali cooks hot plates and every evening he makes and sells fried chicken or fish. His is the only one among the various informal kiosks scattered around Ex MOI where you can buy beer. Turin, November 14, 2017.
The view over the hotel – pizzeria in Giordano Bruno Street from one of the windows of the blue building. Cameras have been installed on the building adjacent the hotel to control the area. Turin, September 18, 2018.
Underneath the Ex MOI complex there is a huge open space which can be accessed from each building and from a ramp on the ground floor of the orange building. In addition of being home for some people who did not find accommodation in the upper floors, the basement is used both as a deposit by scrap metal dealers and as a sort of dumping area, where unused things are piled up randomly. Samuel is looking for some screws to built a shelf for his plants. Turin, January 2, 2017.
A volunteer from Doctors Without Borders fills out some forms for one of the guys. Many people turn to the help desk, which has become an essential reference point for all those who need acces to basic health services. Turin, September 18, 2018.
A bunch of guys in front of the clothing warehouse. The space is occupied by sofas and small stoves. A lot of people stop here. Who takes a tea, who charges the phone, who smokes a cigarette, who simply stops and talks. Turin, January 29, 2019.
Diallo is a tailor, a cooker and a keen football player. His workshop, where he also sleeps, is on the ground floor of the orange building, the most crowded of the four Ex MOI buildings. He cooks pretty much for anyone and for two euros he serves a plate of domodah, a traditional Gambian dish with rice, meat and peanut sauce. Turin, December 6, 2016.
In 2017, the Ex MOI host about 1,400 migrants and refugees from 28 different countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The Somalis make up the largest community. At the beginning of the occupation, living together proved difficult due to deep ethnic differences, but things have changed a lot and today the occupants are doing their best to support each other. A bunch of guys on any given day. Turin, March 15, 2017.
Sido inside the school of the Ex MOI run by a group of volunteers. Thanks to the eighth grade diploma Sido was able to participate in one of the job placement projects organized by Cooperative ORSO. It’s been years now that this cooperative has been helping migrants in getting a job by means of defined search paths. Many of the young people living at the Ex MOI could be hired with a regular contract after their training. Turin, December 6, 2016.
Quite a few businesses have been established inside the occupation. From the beginning, the occupants have done their best to keep themselves busy and most of those who had a job in their home country share their skills and experience with the community. Adem, a man from Ghana, opened his small restaurant which, being on the ground floor of the orange building, the most frequented, attracts a lot of people. Turin, January 5, 2018.
A group of Nigerian girls at the first floor of the orange building, tidying up their hair. African braiding style started in the streets and consists in braiding hair with colored cotton threads. It is inspired by North-African hand-crafted fabrics, with their strong colors, and North-African hair-styles. Turin, March 15, 2017.
Ex MOI is home to about thirty families. Leila is the only woman from Morocco. She has changed dozens of jobs, with contracts that never gave her any certainties. This is because it’s practically impossible to obtain permanent documents and consequently a long-term work contract.. In the picture she’s preparing a tea for one of the volunteers who attend the occupation. Turin, January 24, 2017.
Mohammed one of the carters. After the eviction of the basements, much material that had accumulated in the underground was piled up in the courtyard between the buildings occupying all the space where people used to gather to play football. He is repairing his cart. Turin, April 30, 2019.
The Ex MOI has always been a problem for the Turin municipality. No administration has proved capable of dealing with this complex and delicate situation. The occupation has been fiercely criticized by extreme right-wing political groups, which have always asked the eviction of the occupants without caring for their needs. Actually, though, Ex MOI is a city within a city, a place where hundreds of lives intertwine, merge and blend, creating a cultural landscape of rare beauty. The view of the entire complex from the road adjacent to the train station of Lingotto. Turin, February 20, 2017.
Samuel is a friend, a prophet and an avid reader. I spent much of my time with him at Ex MOI, talking about everything. Many times he has told me his personal odyssey, the long journey after which all his hopes were wrecked. He lives in this room crammed with keepsakes and reminders, where every single object has its precise meaning and place. Turin, December 20, 2016.