The Flower Within 2017-2021
In 2016 I was diagnosed with a rare chronic disease called Mxxxxxxxxx Gxxxxx. At the beginning, the symptoms were connected with the muscles behind my eyes and were giving me sporadic problems in seeing, especially when I was walking fast. But at first the changes were so mild that I could barely understand if it was my eyes or my glasses that weren’t working properly.
One evening going home, sitting in the front row of a bus, I started to notice that the road in front of the vehicle was splitting into two separate lines going in opposite directions. The vision became clearer and clearer, the two lines diverged at the point of leaving me completely disoriented and in panic.
Slowly but steadily, things got worse with the vision, everyday objects in front of me were magically duplicating, landscapes became unrecognizable from distortions or mirrored like in a mirage and faces reminded me of Francis Bacon’s portraits. After sometime my memory began to echo those new images, dreams reconstructed this new reality occasionally re-proposing me kaleidoscopic pictures of my daily life.
In those moments I wondered if in the future, those memories will also have these visually distorted features, or I will just remember the physical dizziness connected with the experience.
After some time, because of another photographic project, I found myself walking around the city restlessly. Some days I would walk from one side to another of the city just to prove myself that I still had the strength that I had before getting ill. I was pushing myself very hard, trying to create new images and walking was somehow helping me to ease the stress and the depression caused by the new condition.
But when the situation worsened at the point of transforming even a short walk into an odyssey, I started to feel also uncomfortable about the meaning and the result of my work. Most of the photographs didn’t represent me anymore, I felt like if somebody else was taking them. What was in those images wasn’t what I had seen or what I had experienced. It was just an automatic reaction sprinkled by the habit of a well-known practice.
The Flower Within is my attempt to reconstruct memories perceived in a totally unique and intimate way. It’s a personal documentation of a human condition seen through the filter of the condition itself. But the project tells also about a state of anxiety and fear triggered by the disease, by the sense of helplessness and the realization that changes in life are sometimes uncontrollable and cannot be reversed.
The end result is a utterly subjective, intimate study of the fragility of the human nature. A diary of a compromised, sickened visual experience, but in some sort also a proof of strength and stubbornness, a reaction against adversities and the unknown. For the very first time I found myself working on a theme that looked at me personally instead than at others. Here I was describing my true personal experience, my struggle to keep narrating stories with a medium that little by little loses its concreteness in my every day life.
Here I am the fundamental subject of my own human and photographic research.