Collective projects

This section is dedicated exclusively to our group activities.
A permanent showcase on themes and social issues that we will face photographically over the years.

Even before I had the opportunity to see the body of work from which this selection would be made, I felt that I had to ask what it was all about, what the theme was. It was a question I asked without thinking, spontaneously, and certainly without expecting that any answer could completely satisfy my curiosity to see the actual images.

The “Night”, this is the answer I got, is part of a very peculiar category, made up of subjects which are very simple at a first glance, but which force me to question what photography means to me, every time. They’re contrasting feelings: I see the most sincere attraction to unknown territories, those offering infinite possibilities of a practice which is still very young and constantly evolving, opposed to the consciousness that even the mundane, those less relevant things and facts, are by their very nature subject to change, always showing up in different forms.

Curiosity is therefore an elementary part both of a creative urge and of of the act of observation itself. The photographer chooses where to stand, chooses his own role, even before deciding where to point the camera. This means that he might limit himself to watching, being confident in that mechanism where everything takes shape for the first time in front of us.

At this point the “Night” becomes a universal subject, one of the stages of the human experience. This selection, and the body of work from which it was taken, is the representation of the way it decided to appear at that specific moment, and at the same time it reminds us that tomorrow it will be something completely different, something new, never seen before.

David Wilson
curator

SPontanea’s new photographic project – “The same place” – once again addresses a subject which allows the authors to play on the blurred and fleeting edges that define Street photography’s approach, allowing them a large extent of freedom of interpretation in addressing a topic that represents an essential coordinate for the human experience and existence, for its thinking and acting: the place – a lived and vital space where being-in-the-world develops and articulates itself.
Hence the idea of carefully and meticulously observing a ‘same place’ intended not only as a physical and spatial location, but also as a space for social interaction, a global awareness structure, both at individual and collective level, a core of meanings constantly evolving and developing over time.
In fact it is precisely the vision of the photographed people – undisputed protagonists thorughout the whole of the project – rather than the photographers’ personal interpretation, that gives to a particular place the value of a unique reality, with its own history, memory and defining meaning. It is the man itself who recognises a place through his thoughts and who names it.
The images highlight the deep and complex ties between place, culture and identity; they also reveal the author’s deep emotions toward a particular environment.
The many different facial expressions, the repeated unconscious gestures, objects, shapes and forms of urban landscapes – with their indistinct outlines and their elusive and surreal atmosphere – talk about the many possible ‘same place’.
Places where the origins, memories and traditions of the city intertwine, expressions of an ancient culture; ‘transitional spaces between the domestic intimacy and the Street’, where time seems to stand still and the solitude of man is merely apparent, because – just behind the door – stories are meeting and embracing one another; spaces like the home, where the soul resides, stays, or can be dramatically evicted.
Places of belonging and of collective identity, where the energies and tensions of a group grow and focus, turning into deep and liberating emotions, talking about music, sounds, people who live and share a passion; or places like parts of the city – places inside places – crossroads delimiting not only spaces but also a precise human condition.
A place can be imbued with profound spiritual energy, and the space becomes sacred: place of transcendence and medium between the worldly and the divine dimensions.
Places where it is possible to reflect upon the human condition, insofar as one is able to understand and respect the other in all of his diversity, for example the animal nature; or places where people, with all their frailness, not only physical, reveal themselves and gather.
The photos well describe the authors’ reflections and personal journeys and point out how the places, in their everyday life, have the prerogative to be identity-giving and relational, showing all their affective and emotional force, until such peculiarities are overcome and a spatial dimension defined non-place, where individualities meet without entering into any relation with each other, is shown and immortalized.
The material-I does not reside here.
These authors’ boldness and irony show the sky as an imaginary and abstract place where unlikely coincidences and accidental connections are accurately captured; another author spies the individuals inside their vehicles, expressing their solitary thoughts; or another non-place, such as a bandaged eye, in its physical simplicity has the capacity to lead the research of the photographer who, driven by an subconscious urge, frantically pursues a seriality that gives sense and meaning to the act of photographing.
It appears clear that the places we live in, often ignored in the hurry of our days, are very important. They are not just recognized elements of a urban landscape which have always represented reference points inside our own living space, but they allow an orientation in time to our existence, serving as constant points of reference through all the stages of one’s life, revealing themselves depositary of memories and profound experiences which, once settled, become memory.

Lia Amodio

Projects

“Cities are mixtures: mixture of memories, of desires, of signs of a language: cities are places of trades, exchanges […] but these exchabges not only involve goods: these are exchanges of words, desires, memories.”

Italo Calvino – Le città invisibili

Spontanea collective project “City Limits” stems from the desire of the authors to face a subject that is inherently open to multiple interpretations, as the concept of limit itself embraces many aspect of the human life, acquiring from time to time different connotations, depending om the meanings that are given to it. In fact, the concept of “limit” encompasses pshycho-existential aspects as well as urban and territory related aspects. Facing the concept of “City Limit” has therefore meant – first of all – a personal and deep analysis that led to deciding which sphere of the human existence to analyse, using the medium of Street Photography that by definition usually favours the more common and everyday aspects: guises that surround the human being and that become integral part of his life.

It is for this reason that the photographs of each one of the authors linger on everything that for the human being could represent a “limit”, either real or ideal, either as an obstacle, or as a line to cross or a condition to coexist with. The City is an absolute protagonist, with its emptinesses, its intrusive presence, its decay. It becomes a real place in which the existential limits spill out, that materialise in silence, loneliness, anguish and in the decay of the soul. The City reveals its material limits, it becomes a prison, with its walls, its grating and its delimitations in which the human being must learn how to lose his way and then orient himself. But the City also become blurred space, when the urban borders fade in the night and melt into hopes and dreams.

The beyond pushes the human being to overcome his own physical and ideal limits and make him the main character of the city life, living within all its contradictions and its emotions.

The photographs in the project represent very well a collective effort whose validity is mainly in their homogeneity and coherence, as every author portrays unique but at the same time essential aspects of the “City Limits” concept. Furthermore, the photographs push the viewer towards further considerations, exceeding the limits suggested by the authors and bringing him to wonder what is the right relationship between human beings and the environment in which they live, which type of synergies generate and how one could influences the other to give to this symbiosis a positive and constructive outcome in the present as well as in the distant future.

Lia Amodio

Projects