Gianni Viola | Uncoded

The project Uncoded is concerned with the complexity: the complexity of cities, the complexity of signs to express it. It’s a project of street photography and a work in progress. First, the technique used, “shooting from the hip” to capture on the fly what you “smells” in the streets. This apparent causality in the shot results in the photo composition as something “uncoded”, precisely.

This is not the first time that the street photographers use this technique, but in this context, the language becomes a kind of visual free jazz that dismounts our securities on watching and judging. “Sampling” life on the streets, at night I look at whatʼs left in the “web” of memories, the wanted photos and those unexpected. What emerges is an unpredictable mixture of signs, sounds and even smells: the complexity precisely. We live, explore and experience every day this category, from small towns to big cities, from managers to workers, all linked by a network of transnational relations. Really the heartbeat of wings of a butterfly here can cause a hurricane on the other side of the planet (or the man who dies burned in Tunisia can defeat the Arab dictators).

I prefer to portray the “foreigners” in Italy because I find an international dimension to these faces. Where were these pictures shoot? The where no longer makes sense, anywhere! The bearded passer I have seen today? I might have seen him in New York City subway station or in Rizzoli street in Bologna. The girl’s face in the foreground? I might have already met her in Paris… Today there is much talk in political terms of this complexity, in the form of new racisms. As a photographer, I remain fascinated by the street life that is always ahead of the politics.


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