Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Michele Cera's Dust

Dust by Michele Cera is a series of landscape photographs, almost all of which feature a human somewhere in the scene and quite a lot of dust. The pictures are from Albania (where Cera's grandfather was stationed during the Second World War) and are a recreation of an Italy that Cera imagines existed after the war (an Italy that Cera saw in Italian cinema from that time).

It's not an idealised Italy that Cera imagines. It's an Italy in torpor, an Italy emptied of people. And the same goes for the Albania he photographs; it's a precarious Albania where people wait by dusty roadsides and stand by half-finshed construction sites - all the locations are in between and the things that people do are in between as well. People talk on phones, or hang around billiard halls, we pass from the empty cities to the empty countryside, and all the time there is a sense lethargy about the place, that whatever is happening is happening somewhere else.

Which perhaps sums up the dissatisfaction of the human condition, that we must always be restless and look elsewhere for our livelihood or our fun, that happiness can never be truly attained except somewhere else, that there is always more to be consumed, experienced, seen or photographed. Ah, that's the photographic condition isn't it, the all-consuming all-seeing nature of photography that we imagine exists but doesn't really exist. So perhaps I could take Dust as an antidote to that kind of photographic desire; as a call to sit back and enjoy life while the sun shines - and the sun shines a lot in Albania! I don't think that's what it's about at all, but it seems to fit

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