Saturday, 18 October 2008

Question Time with Giorgio Barrera

Giorgio Barrera ©

Few months ago I asked Giorgio Barrera , who has an interesting mix of projects, to take part in our question time. I was delighted when he agreed and after a period conflicting commitments we arrange to talk about his work.

Ph39 - In the project "Through the Window " do people in the images lives in those houses or are they actors?

GB - Both things are happening and that the two things coexist in some cases.

Ph39 - What kind of involvement do they have during the seen? What kind of feedback, if any, do you get when they see the final image?

GB - It does not happen often that I have a feedback from people. The people who participate in the photographs they do enjoy it, because of curious situations that occur during the shooting and sometime they like the act of being themselves. Once I asked a girl to foot the person in front of her and she told me that this was something she had never done and that would have liked to do.

Ph39 -In this series you seems to have an inner and an outer frame. In the inner frame we are seeing private life moment, while on the outer frame you define the context. How do you build your own own idea and the narrative to combine the two frames?

GB - It depends, however in general I would say that the shape of the windows, the architecture of the place and the location of the house suggest to me what will happen. In some occasion I want to represent a circumstance and therefore I have sought a place for this imaginary situation.

Giorgio Barrera ©

Ph39 -In the outer frame we often see neighboring buildings, gardens, bricks detail of houses and to me they all seem to define a social pattern and a way we live in today society. How important is the context of the outer frame in your images?

GB - Earlier research would be especially anthropological, sociological. The places belong to a platform, which accepted a certain social class that I had identified as the middle class that was also the object/subject of my previous work. Later my research has moved on to languages and therefore homes had to be closer to the idea of a scenic container.

Ph39 - I some way by just looking at the final image, this project could be seen as a theatrical practices of representation with carefully staged seen but also as a mere representation of reality. Was this the intent and could you tell us more about it?

GB - There is a sentence of Gilles Deleuze that I am found of "you are in the world in a sound mind and pure." My Pictures want to remain on a threshold where it intends to represent the reality, the everyday in an objective and truthful way. On the same threshold, however, want to deny to the image the opportunity to represent and then tell in a comprehensive way a certain event. I believe to be a representation everything that exists outside of a direct experience of real.

Ph39 - Would you consider your project "Through the Window " as documentary photography and how do you perceive the decisive moment in this work?

GB - In this work for me there is not a decisive moment. The image is not the interpretation of a random moment. I would say that "Through the Window “ is a documentary work and to some extend is looking at the cinematographic photography of Jeff Wall that invites the viewer to ask questions about what we can see and experience.

Ph39 - In your project "Battlefields", you are dealing with historic sight, what inspired you to do this work and can you tell us more about the motivation behind it?

GB - I started this project somewhat randomly and gradually (it took me three years to finish it) I have enriched it with conceptual reasoning. With this series I visit the sites of Battle of the Risorgimento. It is a photographic work that looks at historic landscapes and investigates those sites avoiding the commemorative, epic or didactic. It was mapping a visions of the Italian landscape.

Ph39 - I saw on you website some new interesting narrative work on video. How did you find the transition and is there more to come?

GB – Yes, I hope so. I do not think there has been a shift from photography to video. Sometimes I find myself more comfortable when I prepare and execute a video that a photograph or a series of photographs. If you refer to window # 1333 °, a work made for Jarach Gallery in Venice, almost the opposite of what happens in the series Through the Window took place. The setting is in a foundations in Venice and except for the three actors who play the part no one is allowed to know what is really happening, when the story began, when and how it ends or why. This is another way to emphasize that with images you can say and not say, and above all you can conceal a truth assuming a different one.

Ph39 - I understand over the summer you have spent sometime traveling around northern Europe and working on your projects, any anticipation?

GB - I worked on a project presented for the prize Baume & Mercier. The project aims to collect a series of works showing places within Europe that for geographical, political or cultural reason they are defined as on the borders. In most cases I tell the story by watching what happens in the home through that inner frame that is the window.

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