Gatti Massimiliano

Italie / Sélection du jury / 2014

" Lampedusa or the extended desert "

“You feel the infinite in yourself within the extensive desert that is human life”
(P. Pasolini)

We are used to the sad images of the landings in the island of Lampedusa: dozens of desperate faces, without a name, without an identity. “Migrants”, that’s what they are called. As an indefinite mass, as if nobody counted as an individual. Extended desert is an attempt to give dignity to people through those objects -personal, in fact- that were lost during the landing and that the sea has accepted and returned.

A teapot, a cup of tea, a piece of cloth. A radio, a box of cous cous, a torch. Small unimportant things, here are loaded with meaning. From an aesthetic point of view, I created simple images: choosing to let me by, I wanted to give voice to their urgency to tell. I portrayed these objects floating in a white limbo that almost devours them, immersed in the undefined, because the fate of their possessors is indefinite: did they survive? Did they arrive at their destination? Did they go home? We only know that passed from Lampedusa, nothing else.

Every object has a story that evokes a reality, but also opens to different hypothesis: my intent is to build a story, staring from these fragments of life, the images are all on the same level. I will not forget anything because I do not want to forget anyone.

The title is borrowed from a quote by Pierpaolo Pasolini who speaks of “extended desert” as human existence opposed to infinity within. I think this definition fits into the existential condition of these people, who escape from a real and physical desert to cross the sea, another desert. And in the end, they land in a place that does not welcome them, and that becomes an extended desert from a human and social point of view.