about

Smorfia

commissioned by, and in collaboration with graphic designer Rob van Hoesel

René Beekvelt is a Dutch street photographer based in Edam, and has often visited the city of Napoli. His images are bustling compositions of typical daily life in the southern Italian city, probably most notorious for its mafia-influences.

When René first showed us his images, he also brought a local bingo game called tombola della smorfia, based on la smorfia, a book that details the Neapolitan tradition of interpreting dreams by associating them with numbers and then betting those numbers in the state lottery, or other kinds of games. “Whether your dreams run to the songs of Stephen Foster, or the Book of Genesis, la smorfia may be the way to finally pan some true nuggets from your nightly rivers of surrealism. Traditional dream themes in la smorfia cover everything from water to death to dawn to money, sex, trips, birds, blood, accidents, family, food and any change, twist or perversion of the human condition you could possibly—well, dream up.” [Jeff Matthews]

When we saw that game, we were surprized how well the numbers of la smorfia matched up with the scenes of daily life he captured. Therefore we decided to create our own tombola della smorfia, but instead of using the common illustrations, we coupled René’s images on one side of the card, with the number and meaning on the other side.

The publication consists of two perforated sheet with a total of fourty-two different cards.

Smorfia is published by The Eriskay Connection.

—2014