• Personal


    2016 - in progress

    Personal is a photographic project about seasonal work and workers every summer heard in tourist destinations along the Adriatic coast in order to seek employment and work for several months to supply the need for personnel, only to return to their place of origin at the end of the season. Also, in this work, the artist depicts the spaces inhabited by the workers which create a parallel topography of the place where they are located. 

    Often, seasonal work is connected to physical work, an overload of working hours, a small salary, and practically no mention of the psychological consequences of the workers. There are also all sorts of testimonies about the mistreatment and exploitation of employees by their employers. It is also not rare to give negative connotations to these people from the members of the local community, they are often depicted as lazy, promiscuous, uneducated, coming only to go to the beach, etc. 

    Luckily this is not always the case but stereotypes are hard to get rid of. Seasonal workers are in fact an invisible army that allows tourism, the biggest source of income for the whole country, to remain functional so it is quite absurd that the very same workers, often coming from eastern, poorer areas of the country, are seen as necessary but not necessarily welcome. 

    Of course, there are many exceptions. There are several cases where, back in the time of the ex-Yugoslavia, workers from the different areas of the former country would find employment on the coast where they would meet their future spouses and stay for good. Luckily there are such stories happening today as well.

    Through this photographic documentation, I am trying to tell the stories of the workers, narrate their condition of temporary migrants, living in two or more places in order to work and always trying to build their status and identity as citizens and members of the community. 

    The title “Personal” has a double meaning, personal as Croatian for personelle and as the English meaning of private, which is something that often lacks in the common areas they inhabit during the months of seasonal work as well as their personal stories, of the life between two shifts, two or more places they live in.

    If it’s true that everything in life is temporary, that all places are temporary, the question is how is it possible to build a life on sold grounds and how does all this interfere with the perception of someone’s own identity. Seasonal workers are leaving their homes at least once a year, often leaving family and friends behind in order to secure better living conditions for themselves and their families. This recurring duality though, takes a toll in the building of an identity and personality as well as in building lasting relationships.

    What we could see in the last years, is a change in the trend - because of a chronic lack of workforce, the salaries are getting bigger and the contracts are getting better. The workforce is being imported from foreign countries and the employers are slowly starting to pay for the bad working conditions they put their employees in. It is obvious that people will go to Austria, Italy, or other countries with higher salaries and better working conditions. 

    Since the trends are in constant change, this work is also constantly building and adding up so it is a long work in progress. Recently, with new immigrant workers coming to fill up positions mainly in the hospitality industry and in construction, there are new stories to recover, and different, yet similar life patterns to understand.

  • Sounds in Deep Silence 2016

    I was interested in exploring the effects of cultural and political conditioning and processes that affects the creation of  memory. While walking through the city of Daugavpils, southeastern Latvia, I have created a connection with the collective memory I shared with the inhabitants of this place. I focused on children's playgrounds as the games happened to be very similar to the ones we used to have as kids, and that were later replaced with modern, plastic ones. While rethinking about games from childhood we used to play it was impossible to recall their rules or ways of playing them, leaving me only with the reminiscence of strong feelings, like the smell of rust and steel on the hands, the cold from the metal and the bright colours of the paint. In this moment of déjà vu I figured how collective remembering often lead to collective amnesia. Enlarging a detail to the point where the sign itself disappears is a way to regain the focus on that very detail, on an isolated feeling that later enlarges slowly to makes us see the bigger picture. By enlarging parts of color and rust, working on their overlapping and focusing on a not always recognizable detail, I wanted to analyse the amnesia, when the only thing we remember are just certain feelings or fragments, solicited by what we see or hear or smell. The surroundings offered a monochromatic, silent landscape, interrupted only by sporadic batches of bright colours and very isolated proofs of human activity. A topography of real artefacts is conducting us into a circle of thoughts and without offering any definitive answers, making us approach to the archipelago of the world.
  • Unfolding landscapes: Infinite horizons 2013-14

    A work made from scrap cut outs of photographs I made in the past eight to ten years. I was collecting and categorizing them by color and size but I often don’t know any more which photo they used to belong to or where it was taken. In the specific case of Infinite Horizons I am dealing with pieces of skies and occasionally pieces of the sea too, although sometimes it is difficult to say which one they belong to. The cut out is an object for itself but the consciousness that it was once part of a whole make me imagine more different images connected to that little piece of photograph. I can see infinite seas or infinite skies or far more things. On the other side the cut out makes me think of photography and the photographic matter and process itself as a printed matter and as an act (the photographic act/action). When taking away the subject, its connotations and indexes of significance, when discarding the actual image, all that remains is color on photographic paper. It can be related to a pictorial ready-made or photographic writing. Speaking of which, it can be connected to Dubois discourse on photographic practice, and more specifically, on the language of photography. He describes it not as a coincidence between the image and the referee but as a way of production of the sign (photographic sign) itself. Infinte Horizons are such only at their imaginative stadium. These are scraps that I decided to leave out from the photograph, sometimes there are visible pen signs that told me what I had to keep and what to throw away. Some others are white borders I didn’t like on the original photographs. By placing a piece of scrap as new object and not as trash, it lives with a new life, gains new meanings and become the ‘main act’ of the story. It’s the photographer’s choice to show only one part of the bigger picture, but which one is not yet disclosed.
  • Altrove 2012-13

    “But this road doesn't go anywhere," I told him. That doesn't matter." What does?" I asked, after a little while. Just that we're on it, dude," he said.” - Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

    In a time where the Internet and mass media are readily available, where Facebook overthrows regimes and the ‘YouTube attention span’ defines a whole generation, words such as migration and identity are subject to renegotiation. In this world that is dominated by globalisation, we are facing a continuous shift in what constitutes an identity, semantically as well as contextually. Foucault described identity as being a continuous discourse in a shifting communication with others, implicating that the wide access to these means of mass communication have a substantial impact on the very core of our identity. Furthermore it also suggests that our identities are more and more shaped individually, and that increasingly we can take control over the shaping of our identity. The combination of globalisation and the increasing individualisation of identity is causing cultural products to merge into a more global society and distances between countries to diminish. Interestingly enough our increasing online presence simultaneously feeds our desire of being somewhere else, and actually experiencing our online findings in real life. It stimulates the idea of being able to live anywhere at anytime, creating a feeling of restlessness and an urge for adventure. The threshold that once kept us from migrating seems to disappear, and however people in the Western world may have their own personal economic reasons, the idea of migration seems especially an adventurous idea, an indication of a fresh start, the ultimate path to find and explore the self. But if this is true then how do we account for the sense of being lost and the longing for home? Aside from the obvious absence of family and old friends, the answer to this may lie in the fact that cultures and societies nowadays are mainly shaped by immaterial circumstances: the values, morals, habits, and laws (although they can have a direct impact on the material). It is often the case that only when placed outside of our own society and culture we start to wonder just how much our identity is actually shaped by the place we grew up in and if there is an autonomous sense of self to be found independently of location and others. Leaving us to ask ourselves, how much nature can there be found in all the nurturing? Migrating, whether this means from country to country or community to community means adapting, often this means making a change in your daily routine, whether this may be as primal as the speaking of a different language or any other social interactions for that matter; surrounding yourself with people that may have different values to yours may lead you to reconsider your own, a transition or confrontation that is easily underestimated. In this body of work Damiani captures the sense of restlessness that accompanies the chasing of dreams, the portraits are intimate encounters with migrants that she met when she herself was living abroad. Each of the works consists of a double portrait, where one photo portrays the person in his or her house, each of them trying to make this their home away from home. The other photo shows us an object taken from his or her personal space, ranging from something brought from their home country to something they bought with their first salary, sometimes even something they made themselves, but always unmistakably essential in creating the feeling of being at home. Together these photos create works that offer an up and close insight into a contemporary lifestyle that applies to many young people, especially in the capital cities of Europe. These portraits could have been taken anywhere in the world, simply because they were taken in the individual’s personal space, hereby disconnecting person from location. Instantly it doesn’t matter where they are, where they came from or where they’re going.
  • Absent Memories 2011

    A series of photographic considerations on personal and collective memory. The project started in 2011 as part of my MA Photography final work. The written project was a general analysis of unofficial art in certain Eastern European countries from the Sixties until now. Led by the idea that memory was an issue that artists from that area have very commonly treated in their works, for the practical part of the diploma project, I have also started an analysis of personal memory , yet linked to the territory and the collective it also belonged to. It consists in a series of photographs taken out from various archives, either from public institutions or private/family albums. Those are typical moments of a common person’s life during the socialist period in ex Yugoslavia. Situations like collective trips to hystorical monuments, celebrations and barbecues for May day, the Party’s anniversaries, workers collectives, etc were different moments, mixed between public and individual, but all worth of staying in someone’s family album. Some of this photos are also taken from my family’s album and as I was born later, my memories from the past seems to be different form theirs. I was born when already a different era started. And I have noticed how their memories, even in different generations, are quite similar; they had the same holidays, the same way to spend their spare time, same activities, same trust in certain values. I can’t say the same for myself or my generation. We have another history, another past, even if this ‘collective’ past somehow belongs also to us. My work here consists into introducing myself in each photo I considered important for a person’s life and growing up, in all the moments i couldn’t be present but i know about them through stories i’ve been told. It’s a way of feeling part of that past myself. That’s also a history of a country, seen through personal memories. Memories from an era that seems to be far far away. But it’s not been so long since the last baton for Tito’s birthay. That’s not suppose to be a nostalgic view, just a way for understanding values which are really far from the nowadays reality. I wanted to go through an imaginary past and by doing so, it’s becoming really mine, as it belongs to the country I was born. The operation I did through this project made me reflect about the role of history in our lives. By learning about certain facts from the past I was also learning how to relate with the present and what considerations has to be made in order to have a vision of what is going on.
  • Dove da qui 2011-ongoing

    A project that is a note about abandoned bus stops and waiting rooms. It literally deals with time and the phenomenon of transition (traffic) with multiple connotations commenting a silent disintegration of once unique Istrian peninsula, and cracked connections of people who inhabit it. Spiritual community of a bus was, to a large extent, replaced by a deceptive sense of individual, automotive independence: waiting rooms actually become informal monuments of architecture of an overrun industrial era…until they collapse on their own. There is a sense of emptiness I tried to capture with this project. A lost bus stop where no buses ever come, an infinite waiting for a Godot (or for a better time) that never comes. I was also interested in non-places as Marc Augè depicted them, an impersonal, transitional space that we only see as we go by, we never stop, never think, never meet anyone.
  • Sovrapponendo 2010

    Sovrapponendo (Overlaying) “Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young In a world of magnets and miracles…” Gilmour A project made through 2010 and 2011. It is formed by photographs made with a Diana F mini Lomo Camera. The film was entirely taken in one place, rewinded and shot again in a different place. It’s about growing up and memories of places, seen from the outside, like through another pair of eyes. The retro component is clear in the medium itself, the Lomo camera. It is not an old camera, but a new one made on image o fan old russian one. Those cameras were the cheapest and of worse quality (entirely made of plastic, lenses included) but now are quite pricey and fashionable. Young people from all over the world use them,; there is a Lomo Community too. The technique of overlapping films was also used a lot in the past, but I have found it perfect for my goal. The surrealistic flow of consciousness, the overlapping of two worlds – childhood and adulthood, the places from the youth and the ones we found ourselves living in, not always because of a clear choice, etc.. all this double features are represented through the double exposure. There is a certain incognita as well, you don’t know which photo is going to be overlapped once you rewind the film, you sit and wait for it, it’s always a surprise.
  • In Memoria 2009

    Forgotten images on old tombstones. If it's true what is often said; that a person is alive as long as the memory is preserved, it becomes difficult to preserve a memory when all it remais, an image, is faded away too. This project is a visual interpretation of Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology, where every poem is an epitaph on an imaginary cemetery in a provicial american town. There is no nostalgia in this work, just a deeper thought about our identity and place in this world, as well as about the paths we follow to the very end.