"Who was that person? Was it me? It might be someone else too! That person could actually be anybody"
Luigi Pirandello One, No One and One Hundred Thousand
In the north-eastern Italian Alps, every year in February villagers welcome the arrival of spring with carnival celebrations and masked parades. Originated as apotropaic ritual media, masks are now an excuse to get society reunited to celebrate the beginning of a new agricultural season. The same wood villagers burn in the winter to warm up is the same wood used to build their houses and to carve masks. The photographer was born in this village of three thousand people, where her parents opened a small restaurant, always keeping their passion for literature alive. Her mother used to write poetry, her father liked to read, and they both would take down heavy art books form the high shelf in the night to let her look at them. The place where they were living was far away from the other villagers, and you could walk for hours without meeting anybody. In this lightly populated environment, children don’t ever feel lonely: mountains and trees are their friends, the first day they are a plane, the next day they become camels. Curiously, in modern dinosaur sized cities with huge populations, where it’s almost impossible to be alone, everyone is feeling lonely.
The modern man knows the others are constantly wearing colorful masks, and feels himself is every day playing different roles to meet others expectations. When dialogue between people takes place, it’s hard to say either if the talkers really understand each other or are they just able to see an illusory appearance. The writer Luigi Pirandello was obsessed by a doubt: The Me I see is not the Me you see, nor is it the Me seen by others. Most of what a person perceives comes from his or her own consciousness instead of the object of perception itself, and is unavoidably embedded with illusion and misunderstanding. The author asked the subjects to wear one particular mask, which actually represents just one shade of their multiform complexity. Masks completely obscured the subject’s true faces, and the audience just sees the appearance of a fictional image. What the real image is, does not seem to be important.
When I go back home, I still like to walk in the mountains by myself, sit down in the middle of nothing and listen.
Giulia Pra Floriani was born in the Italian Alps in 1992. During her studies of Chinese language, culture and anthropology in Venice, she took part in the Erasmus exchange programs, studying in Changchun and Barcelona. After a master’s in Chinese Studies at the Xi’An Jiotong university, she is currently focusing her reaserch on Chinese history of art at the Art department of Peking university.
She speaks Italian, Chinese, English and Spanish. She took part in the Dali international photography festival and in the Pingyao international photography festival as a curator. Her articles have been published by the magazines Chinese photography, Artribune and Arteallimite.