The Silent Land
The Silent Land is a journey through a country, Jordan, whose landscape, both geographical and human, is inhabited by a manifold, yet ubiquitous, silence. That is the silence along roads, across valleys and mounts, the history’s silence, the poverty’s one, the silence in the sea, in the snow and then in the desert, the people’s silence, their hospitality’s one, the silence of prudence. The silence all over. The lens is guided by the hearing of a composer, John Cage, who chose silence as the paradoxical keystone of a musical research hinged on a de-construction of sound in pursuit of the natural sound, the silence. The images, blended together with Cage’s scores and notes, build in this manner a place where bodies, natural and not, arrange, silently and respectfully, in reconciliation with the space.
‘Persona’ is the result and the synthesis of a four-year journey, the landfall of a personal and professional experience, a laborious process of self-understanding. Who are we? Why are we what we are? Why are others not what we are? Who are the others? It recounts, without the presumption of being able to understand it, the reality of youths whose aspiration to normality conflicts with the social world, that has always been little inclined to accept any abnormality. It wants to reveal the inconsistency of a stigma that is hatefully responsible for hindering dreams and ambitions from the beginning. It is a path that proceeds by removal, to the point of rendering the mask invisible, which, at lasts, resists. Do not want to depose it. The photographs are the result of a project conducted at an educational facility for the reception of minors. The masks, crafted by them with waste materials, narrate the subjectivity of youths whose identities are too often lost behind the label of ‘community children’.
I am seated on my couch, my ears and thoughts ready to grasp, and interpret, whatever is happening around me: a wavering stream of feelings, the sound of silence echoing across an emptying space, that is deconstructing itself. Time is still running out, the space is closing in on itself, and the house walls mark a boundary with an outside world that I do not recognize. My heart is frightened. Sitting on the couch. In the hospital’s parking. Queuing at the grocery store. Waiting at the traffic lights. And now I recognize this world, within those same walls, among my thoughts and the thoughts of others, my emotions and others’ emotions. And I see it there, on hold. This is how Grave Times originates: it stems from a feeling, an intuition, first intimate, then rational, and ends by becoming empirical. It is the abrupt awareness of a space and time put on hold, through the daily exposure to the gravity such an interruption entails; it is the transposition, first as a feeling, then as a thought, and then depicted in images, of an inedited uncertainty, unexplored, unexpected and undesired. It is about our own life that has been interrupted, our daily habits hanging by a thread, this same thread that holds the objects fluctuating in the space surrounding me; and that become, through my photographs, a metaphor of the interruption that has affected everything; omens of an ineffable, sometimes incomprehensible immobility; that freezes the present and distances the future, whilst waiting for these Grave Times to pass, and for levity to triumph again.