• NEOs

    NEOs explores a new cycle of capitalization that has been unfolding practically unnoticed for nearly twenty years. The work was prompted by the government of Luxembourg’s announcement of SpaceResources, the first-ever space program designed to mine asteroids and near-earth objects (NEOs), thanks to collaboration between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and various private companies backed by leading investment banks. Shortly after the United States, Luxembourg established a legal framework to permit the appropriation of minerals in outer space (currently subject to an international treaty of 1967 which prevents the national appropriation of these resources), therefore becoming the leading research and construction centre for the commercialization of raw materials extracted from space. The argument is that the programme will improve living conditions for human beings, but in the hands of private prospectors it is set to become one of the most lucrative businesses of the second half of this century. Based on remains, debris and memories, Ezio D’Agostino is gradually constructing a visual and political hypothesis about the possible repercussions of this new cycle of extractivism in our late capitalist times. On one level, this archaeology is a visual analysis of the development of new capture devices, but at the same time it is a practice that questions the potential role of photography—not as a portrait of what has been, but of the gestures that are unfolding. In the porosity of his images there is one question that resonates inexorably: how do we materially inscribe that which has no space?   What we see is not so much a photographic document but a visual essay, an experiment that explores the ability to materialize quasi-real forms without images; an archaeological project in which a fragment is not only a ruin but rather a seed that enables us to test our understanding of new formations.  […] Images that emerge from highly complex and contradictory movements. Embracing a certain sensitive knowledge that has nothing to do with the ways in which modern reason is articulated. How do wealth creation processes work? What are the methods of growth? What role can images play in questioning ideas about progress and economic development?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Andrea Lorena Soto Calderón      

    (Complete edit available on request. With the support of Centre National de l'Audiovisuel, Luxembourg)

  • True Faith

    It was May 1987. My mother took me to a grove close to our home, in Calabria: after a strong and unusual snowfall, the branch of an olive tree was broken. In the wood, people soon recognized an image: the face of Jesus Christ. From all around the region, people started coming to see it with their own eyes. I was brought in face of the olive tree. Despite my efforts and the indications of the people, all I could see was a broken olive tree. At that time I was seven years old. I didn’t take any picture.

    In 2014, I began a research on the phenomenon of the apparition of religious images in Italy. Based on a newspapers archive and a collection of witnesses, I constructed a “map of the invisible” of the nation where one can record two thirds of world apparitions‘s cases. Following the cartography previously established, I asked the inhabitants to show me the place of the apparition: thirty years later, I was in front of the apparition again.

    The images appear on the most common supports: a wall, a tree, a car window, a lamppost, a gas pump, a door, a cave... Most of them represent the Christ or the Virgin, whose iconography has spread widely through pious images, churches, calendars, television and films. More recently there have been the appearances of a very popular Italian monk, Padre Pio, whose image has been codified in the last thirty years. The apparitions often cause changes in the physical space of the village: construction of walls to prevent too many pilgrims from reaching the site, reconstruction of the facade of a building, change of windows or doors, cut of trees... But community social life changes too: wedding dates get anticipated, people move wishing to live nearer to the apparition, relationship rise or break because of the jealousy produced by the image appeared on the house of one person rather than another.

    Where I keep seeing only a wall, other people perceive an event that transforms the the whole configuration of the village. By photographing these places where people tell me they see the apparitions, I ask the photographic image to become proof of an unpredictable fact, to become document of an event that will always remain invisible to my eyes.

    (With the support of CNAP - Centre National des Arts Plastiques)
  • 14.644

    Almost twenty years ago, I was flicking through my parent’s wedding photographs album. In one of the picture, there was a young man, smiling alone. I’ve never seen him before, so I asked my father about him. He told me: “He's Umberto, your cousin; a few years after the marriage, he decided to disappear”. Nobody knows what he did, and nobody knows where he could be today. We have just our “last Umberto’s picture”, smiling behind his 70’s glasses.

    In 2010, I started the project 14.644. 14.644 is the number of people who have disappeared in Italy since 1975. Approximately 400 per year, more than one every day. Until now, none of them have been found. The reasons for the disappearance remain undetermined, but all of these cases fits one definition: voluntary estrangement. On any given day, at any given hour, anywhere, men or women decide to cut their ties with the past, with their social and family roles, with their image. Thanks to the collaboration of an Italian journalist and the study of documents from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, I constructed a map of the places where missing people had been seen last. The idea was to locate these territories, which had become places of a processual truth (it is from these places that the police investigations began) following the testimony of a person who had recognized in the portrait, submitted by the family, the missing person.

    I photographed these places to create images that contained a possible truth through the gaze: an old photograph of a missing person, a witness, a photographer, an observer. This stratification of gazes could thus generate a new reading of a territory, which until then was banal and unnoticed: a geography built on the recognition of an image and on the belief in this image.

    The photographs of this project did not escape this construction of a visual truth. But if these images are to be considered as documents, then they should be regarded as “weak”, temporary documents, valid only until another witness thinks he or she has recognized the missing person in another place. At that moment, what will become of these photographs? What is the nature of these documents? What truth do they hold? Is there truth in an image only if it is shared by its observers?

  • Alphabet

    The Forum des Halles symbolized in the '70s a new and ambitious architectural vision in the heart of the historical centre of Paris. In place of the Baltard's Pavilions and the general markets, it was created a new futuristic space that had to contain the trade, the leisure, the work, the education, and the art. A monumental cement complex with subterranean layers brutalized the Beaubourg district. Today, a new vision takes place: a new complex satisfying the contemporary aesthetic requirements will replace the Forum. These 26 pictures were took during the first phase of the demolition of the Forum des Halles, developing an idea of temporality about this place. 26 as the letters of the alphabet through which the Forum, thirty-two years after the construction and by this time esteemed as old, declare itself at the moment of its falling and its oblivion.
    “That it is not about 'hurried' photography, not really about contemplation, but as Ezio D’Agostino says himself, 'about a photographic process which derives from my archaeology training'. This means confronting time and pacting with it. The archaeologist, such as the photographer, divides the territory so that he can better explore it. The archaeologist digs it, then, with a layered and depth approach, he reveals the layers that will provide elements of interpretation and knowledge. Through his frame (which belongs only to him and which seldom has the scientific knowledge of the archaeologist), the photographer, too, divides, slices and cuts the space we know and we experiment so that we can see it differently, with other perspectives. This lack of spectacular reveals a cut tree trunk surrounded by dying grass, which still resists while a poor plant, leaning on a green fence, tries, whereas dying, to climb out from a metallic gate. A bit further, in-depth, by the pool numbers define a podium, a winner and his runner-ups. Then, soft chalk houses on a blackboard, half erased, a child's drawing, a small bird lost on the red back of a plastic chair, waste behind a transparent and red plastic garbage bag, chromias and signs. A calm reading of a world which is not, sharp angles, material meeting, reflection and, as always, light such as the one that makes drops of water vibrating when they get away from some humble string lights.”

    Christian Caujolle