PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Giacomo Infantino

Roberto Caielli: We have started working together, you as a photographer and I as a printer. We have begun this mutual dialogue  which has become more and more a confrontation about themes and contents. In fact printing also for other people and not just for myself gives me the opportunity to look at the photos I print more deeply and in detail. It is impossible for me as a photographer not to enter the themes and the aesthetic values of an image. In the end rereading this dialogue, we met above all on the deep themes of my photos and yours.

Giacomo Infantino: it is true, printing has somehow fuelled a dialogue that has touched very interesting and deep fields, and  the common  points of a speech have been  very stimulating. Your work on the cinema, Film Landscapes is something original which has impressed me also for my way of thinking and  seeing. I clearly  remember when we first met in a hot August day, when every place  was shut by schorching iron bars, while I   was desperately looking for several prints for an exhibition at the earliest. It was there that we started working together, and I’m saying this, because I realized that after the usual compliments, you left the role of the printer and we both started a real editing and reflection on the images that I took to your studio.I think that  the prerequisite for a fine art printer consists of being able to read an image in its depth. A very rare dualism which lead me to to reflect upon, as I consider both process to be  a sort  of  essential algorithm.

PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Roberto Caielli

RC:  let’s start from these concepts: idea,  print and landscape: printing your latest photos I quite  had the feeling of an original glance at a landscape , which is instead usual, habitual and I compared it with my glance as a photographer and printer on it. What is your idea  of this landscape that we printed together?

GI: that is right, Roberto, I focussed my work on the Lombard province and the places at its borders.
I wanted to talk about those lands at the edge which apparently seemed plunged  in an outward limbo, but  which on the contrary reveal a lot of contemporary Italy. It is a liquid landscape, to quote Baumann, where the town itself decentralises its focal point to  more and more flexible and changeable new landscapes. It widens into  the province, expanding  and resulting in  changes, innovations, opportunities, but  also deterioration at the same time. As a result we are being led to a constant  change which is actually flattening. As a consequence the landscape is changing, like an inner psychosis between man and and the environment. My landscape loses its identity. It  could be everywhere: Nebraska, North Dakota or anywhere , but it is Varese. For these reasons  every landscape can be another place. With my photos I am going to communicate my sensation and view  of this status quo, apparently under control whose tension, nevertheless, lots of us feel.
 A lot of  alienated and emotionless characters merge into this landscape. I often play the part of the actor and I feel like I am in a film by Antonioni, whenever I shoot. At the same time I see my photos printed throughout your interpretation. We chose matt cotton paper which conveyed smoothness to the tones, in order to objectify  the underlying idea. It gave concrete form to an idea and an image. It gave back its function. Hence the dialogue with your work on the cinema and video arises.
PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Giacomo Infantino

RC: Film landscapes  are very simply the photo of a film. I consider the film literally a landscape that has a spacial dimension ( the monitor, the movie screen) and the duration.
At the beginning I tried to photograph the whole film, from its beginning to the end with one shot at a very long exposure. Then I started working on fragments, on video art, on amateur videos and on short self made videos. Why the film? Because it is a part of my story and my culture more than  the places. I grew up by watching Fuori Orario,  hosted by Ghezzi on Rai 3 at night. It broadcasted amazing films, pearls of the 1920s, or Tarkovskij’s epigones in Eastern European countries. For me the  arrival of the video recorder was something exceptional, It had a key role in my life. I  could record and rewatch my favourite film at any time.
This gave the film a nearly superior value, because you were fully involved. The landscape created  on television,  which you could always reach , where you could always come back if you needed, or wished, was much more interesting than a beautiful real landscape.
Whereas,  the use of  pinhole  was merely a  technical requirement , not the only one I made use of, to have the chance of very long exposures.
The meaning of creating a film landscape is also to take possession of a landscape you desire but don’t have. I can photograph Alaska, or Antarctica even if I have never been there. Moreover, the film Landscape gives the film a continuity in addition to its existence while you are watching it. You can hang up the whole Shining in your sitting room, or you can say you have watched porn in a single glance without knowing it. I have hung a classic film with Brigitte Lahaie  on my bedroom wall, over the bed and it works very well.

GI: but why would you  photograph a film and print it, giving it an its own substance beyond?

RC: Reality is fluctuating, contemporaneity is fluctuating and in some ways the landscape, as well. The photographs of Film Landscapes are for example a timeless landscape, because I can photograph a film from the fifties and it becomes my absolutely contemporary landscape. The film landscape, if you like, is abstract at the same time, but this abstraction is not distortion or  pictorial interpretation of reality. It is rather an answer of the subjective look on the landscape. I want my photo to be itself  a disturbing landscape that has some relation with unconsciousness, dream, with something secret, interior, silent, unrestrained.
As Sergio Germani, the great film critic wrote about my photos to films,  the bodies,  hectic  and  disturbing soul of  the film scene, fade away (think  of an actress with an overwhelming personality and look) it remains a visual trace determined by what in the film is instead a visual background, less mobile. And this is often the landscape. They are landscapes, like the Amazon River in Aguirre the Wrath of God , or in the case of the latest Film Landscapes, obtained by short videos I made  along the Toce river. They are mountains, like in the photo to Johnny Guitar by Nicholas Ray or The Shining by Kubrick, in which Jack Torrence’s family long double steep ascent by car across the mountains  highlights the floating and cryptic landscape full of omens.
The meaning of the relation between the film landscape / monitor and the photograph/print is even clearer in the act of extrapolating single frames from a film or a video , manipulating them digitally choosing only a small part of the frame that identifies individual and photographic characters and then print them on fine art paper. In this case printing  the manipulated frame acquires, in contrast to film Landscapes, a nearly fetishist value, transforming a static object into something born to be movement.
Then it has come out also for you this idea of a landscape which is mediated by the habit of watching a monitor, a film , the web, an eBook. As you know I am interested in this, because I consider what happens in the monitor a landscape itself. How does it happen in your photos?
PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Roberto Caielli

GI: for me photography has always been affected by cinema and viceversa. You just have to remember Antonioni films , i.e. Deserto Rosso (1964) a feature film of the utmost importance, which contributed to giving shape  to the new Contemporary Italian landscape.
It  is about a symptom of alienation and fear of the landscape, which has become difficult to understand and unrecognizable.
Today thanks to new technologies, photography has become a usable means, mainly by a monitor and it has modified our way of living and reading an image completely. Therefore, it is unavoidable for a digital native like me or even more  for the new generations to approach to the screen and the film world. We are more and more feeding ourselves on it and are completely absorbed by it.
In my photos there is the function of breaking away from reality and an objective landscape. Hence there is the need to  mediate between an often intimate idea and the space of the film in which we project ourselves. For this need, in a lot of cases of the self portrait in which I  try to have a less objective and more  introspective idea of myself. A liquid landscape without any borders and virgin. This space is in itself the landscape in which we can alter time and the most straightforward dynamics and approaching to it we can dive into  what we want it to be.
PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Giacomo Infantino

PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Roberto Caielli

PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Giacomo Infantino

PHROOM magazine // international research platform and online exhibition space dedicated to contemporary fine art photography and video art // project

Giacomo Infantino

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