Throughout November and December of 2018, I have been travelling within Mexico, the United States, and Germany as part of a new project which attempts to combine multidisciplinary practices to counter-map the purported ‘Global Migration Crisis’, which is too frequently described as ‘a permanent challenge to the 21st-century states and world order’. This has resulted in a collection of the portraits of migrant individuals and families whom I met and who agreed to be photographed and to draw and comment on the map of their migratory experience. I attempted to create a participatory representation of individual experiences, to reintroduce the personal narrative, and to counter-map the mainstream depiction of contemporary migration. This paper discusses the elements and methodology of my work; it also explores the theoretical and practical challenges affecting the representation of the ‘refugee and migration crisis’ as well as how the visual regimes of the news and governments participate in global perceptions of the ‘migration crisis’.
"The Silk Road was established during the Han dynasty, beginning around 130 B.C. Markets and trading posts were strung along a loose skein of thoroughfares that ran from the Greco-Roman metropolis of Antioch, across the Syrian desert, through modern-day Iraq and Iran, to the former Chinese capital of Xian, streamlining the transport of livestock and grain, medicine and science. In 2013, President Xi Jinping announced that the Silk Road would be reborn as the Belt and Road Initiative, the most ambitious infrastructure project the world has ever known—and the most expensive. Its expected cost is more than a trillion dollars. continue
Richard Avedon's "In the American West" is widely regarded as a landmark project in photographic history and a definitive expression of the power of photographic art. For "In the American West", Avedon traveled throughout five summers, meeting and photographing the plain people of the West: ranch workers, roustabouts, bar girls, drifters, and gamblers. The resulting book includes 120 exquisitely printed black-and-white photographs, published in 1985.30 years later, whit this images and concept in my mind I want to emulate Richard Avedon work in the Russian East. Inspired by what Avedon made through the photographic language of the portrait, my project aims to map Russia faraway from Moscow, starting from a purely geographical sense. continue
In March 1917, Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov (Lenin), leader of the revolutionary Bolshevik Party, left his exile in Zurich. Eight months later, he assumed the leadership of 160 million people occupying one-sixth of the world’s inhabited surface. On April 9th, with the support of German authorities, at war with Russia at the time, he travelled back to his own country on a train across Germany, Sweden and Finland to reach Finland Station in Saint Petersburg on April 16th where, after a decade in exile, he took the reins of the Russian Revolution. continue
In the month leading up the presidential election in Russia Davide Monteleone and Noah Sneider (Moscow’s Bureu Chief for The Economist) teamed up to interview dozens of 18-year-olds across Russia. “They are the first generation in Russia - call them the Puteens - that has no memory of life before Mr. Putin. Some of 28m children have been born in Russia since he took power. Their living conditions differ widely. Their view on politics, history, religion, rights and national identity range across a broad spectrum. But certain trends do emerge”
[...] "Chechnya has won, Russia has won". Perhaps the losers are the many Chechens who chose to go into exile as a matter of honour. Those who stayed have returned to a normal life and can satisfy their basic needs after several decades of hardship. Such a “normal” life, however, requires them to make major compromises and often hold their tongues. continue
“Odyssey is a travel with a lot of trouble. Maybe this is also how life is” Edison, AB (able seaman on board of the vessel)
“Life is whatever we make it. The traveller is the journey. What we see is not what we see but who we are” wrote Fernando Pessoa in his novel “The book of Disquiet”. Pessoa was an outstanding personage of Portuguese literary modernism who spent most of his life in Lisbon. This book is a result of Pessoa’s phlegmatic nature and rich imagination together with interest in philosophy and mysticism. His text, mixed up, seemingly unedited and disrupt, with different parts appearing one after another without any reasonable (rather sensitive) order asks why a human being is disquiet and how one tries to cope with it, in most cases vainly. continue
It takes a brave man to jump off a moving train for the sake of a sale, but the clothes hawkers had the easy courage of men who did this on the regular. I watched as they leapt off the front carriage as the train chugged into a station with no stop, bundles of cheap Chinese jeans and jackets on their arms, exchanged hurried words and cash with waiting Russians, and jumped back on the last carriage as the Trans-Siberian trundled steadily toward Moscow from Ulaanbaatar. continue
"My ancestors…encourage me to govern by the same policy of transferring to this city all conspicuous merit, wherever found. And indeed I know, as facts, that the Julii came from Alba, the Coruncanii from Camerium, the Porcii from Tusculum, and not to inquire too minutely into the past, that new members have been brought into the Senate from Etruria and Lucania and the whole of Italy, that Italy itself was at last extended to the Alps, to the end that not only single persons but entire countries and tribes might be united under our name. continue
“We betray it approaching it from a Eurocentric perspective, to see the Mediterranean as an entirely Latin or Roman creation or from a Hellenic viewpoint [...]. The Mediterranean has never just been Europe – it has been much more for so long...they cannot be one without the other.”
P. Matvejevic, Mediterranean.
At the beginning of the Arab Springs I was covering the upraising in Tunisia and in Egypt. As soon as the war started in Libya I was in Benghazi and then in Tripoli. continue
Russia to the edges of the Empire, where Europe becomes Asia, and the birch trees give way to redwoods. The mountain range stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea traces the restless, misunderstood mosaic of the Northern Caucasus, which features in the media predominanty when the endless sporadic wars turn into massacres or genocides. In this inaccessible and inhospitable land, enclosed between two seas, Monteleone has found his theme. A scrupulous narrator, he follows the line drawn by “concerned photography”, and by linking images he constructs a narrative of places and people. continue...
By the time Davide Monteleone and I arrived in Kiev last month, the Maidan had become a kind of living museum, an open-air theatre of dramatic but unfinished political and social change. Behind the barricades—made of paving stones, or chairs, or the carcasses of cars—people had built makeshift altars, with votive candles, incense, and framed pictures, to commemorate killed protesters where they had fallen. There was fresh-cut firewood stacked up to fend off the lingering winter; there were self-organized encampments, complete with night patrols, stoves, and tents; there were soup kitchens open to anyone who was hungry. continue
Dusha, the Russian word for soul, has the same root as the verb to breath: the soul therefore becomes a long breath, a desperate clinging to life in moments of oppression. But Dusha is also a synonym for man. Dusha is the title of this endless journey through Russia. continue
If we want to draw a partition line on a map, a stroke of the pen is enough. Countries, regions, people and forests are cut, apparently without consequences, except for that improvised drawing. Different is the case when that line matches with a curtain, with an ideological clash, two blocks in conflict involving economic interests and geopolitics. Different when that rift expands itself with time, changing depending on the fronts, strong for the lack of tangibility that renders it more elusive as well as more redoubtable. continue