Starting with labor and its need for privacy and darkness, parenting is primal. There’s so much talk about methodology, but we’re animals, relying on instinct. Sure, our kids can take Mandarin, but at the end of the day, we’re just trying to keep them alive. I’m angry that I worry about sending you to school, but at the risk of paralysis, I relegate this fear to a subconscious level. I read that bullet-proof blankets have been invented for school shootings, and I wonder: is this fear more than, equal to, or just different from the fear of mothers throughout history?
Photography became my life. It has helped me greatly to express my feelings, and to connect with the world around me, when I need it the most. Through photography, I have been able to express what is going on in my mind. Anything that touches me and is important to me makes me want to capture it in a photograph. The world is a loud place and feels overwhelming to me, but my camera helps me to deal with that.
Sharing other people’s homes means negotiating a balance between intimacy and the characteristic eagerness of the photographer. It also means bearing in mind the photographer’s power, taking care to name the people in the photographs and to bring them prints, as well as heeding their wishes regarding public exposure. For instance, she has never published or exhibited a stunning shot she made of a mining woman taking a shower, and recalls a remarkable scene with a mechanical mower, which she could not photograph because the man operating the machine did not wish it.
I realize that the commercialization of the art market is obscene. I understand it must be really difficult for artists who want to have a critical voice. But one must have some kind of a belief. One thing that I mentioned in a piece some time ago, I don’t know if you ever saw it, is that the museums and the artistic institutions can still play a role today. I referred to something that Boris Groys once wrote, that maybe the museums could be the places where one could, let’s say, extract art from the market.
The relations between divine and earthly economies of violence underwent a significant transformation with the emergence of the modern state and its consolidation as a totality (of spaces, people, associations, etc.), a multi-apparatus that strives to control everything it contains and to contain everything it can control. On the one hand, the state has become a potential or actual generator and facilitator of large-scale disasters, and the destructive power of some states has been brought to perfection. On the other hand, the state has also become a facilitator, sponsor, and co-ordinator of assistance, relief and survival in times of disaster.
Reality is not the point of departure for Guidi but the destination he strives to reach. He works not so much on an idea of the spirit of a place as the spirit in a place. Like Baudelaire’s flâneur, the photographer is a wanderer, who strolls around the city as if it were a postmodern forest, observing the cracks of history and the traces of contemporary life, focusing on the signs of a fragmentary, polymorphous landscape. These images allow him to read — recount, interpret, explore, experience — Milan like a human body (at times desirable, at times standoffish, at times repugnant).
Poetry and reality seem to combine with the winds that coalesce into spirit possession on the islands in the Strait of Hormuz, at the extreme southern tip of Iran. There it can get to 45 degrees centigrade, and nearby US nuclear powered submarines and oil tankers make their way into and out of the Persian Gulf. The concentration of power and history in this narrow waterway is astonishing. To adopt standard nomenclature and call it a ‘choke-point’ seems insufficient unless you take it literally.
When I pick up a written book, escapism comes from the overlap between the narrator and myself. It’s an act of observation, critique, connection and, ultimately, of submission. How much do I identify with the voice? Have I been subsumed or am I intact? When the book is one of pictures, the escapism is more like walking through a mirror and ending up in another world. I am always only myself, but I am in another place or world, another time period, or a different dream. I am seeing through the artist’s eyes, but I have been transported, not subsumed.