• 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.