“I hold workshops for teenagers since 2008 (see workshop list below). I’m 58, but I feel like an eternal teen: my identity is perpetually under construction and I keep an innocent and insecure core inside me; emotions are under the skin, and explode easily; rebellion is often the preferred choice”. Cristina Nuñez

Nowadays, SPEX can be a powerful tool to fight what we call an identitarian emergency. Since the selfie boom in 2012, we delete our ugly pictures, those pictures in which we don’t recognize or like ourselves. We all delete those pictures that don’t conform with the market’s standards of beauty, or with our own. Adolescents have become masters in the control of their self-image to conform to certain styles, in order to feel that they belong to their groups, to keep up with their peers.

But if it is true what Lacan says that the process of recognition in an image in which we didn’t recognize ourselves, is crucial for the construction or re-construction of identity, how are teenagers going to construct their adult identity if they are rejecting these great opportunities? How are we going to re-programme our identity in times of crisis or change, if we keep on rejecting parts of ourselves?

In SPEX workshops, adolescents produce images with their smartphones, but also collaborative self-portraits in Cristina Nuñez’s studio, and we work on the multiple perceptions of these images, in order to broaden their self-perception and their perception of others, and find value in images they would have rejected.

In 2015 Cristina collaborated with the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Cinisello (Milan, Italy) in a project called #Closetome, with 250 adolescents in high schools of Milan and province. Above is the project’s backstage video, and below is Cristina’s video work “Two minutes”, for which 40 teens stood silent for two minutes, alone or in couples in front of her video camera, just listening to their emotions.

List of workshop for teenagers held by Cristina Nuñez:

2019-20 – SEJAC, Centre de Jeunesse, Moutier (Switzerland), on-going.

2019-20 – Centro Maria Letizia Verga, Monza (Italy) for a group of teenagers with onco-hematologic cancer.

2018 – Deakin University, Melbourne, Alfred Deakin Research Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. “Preventing violent extremism and building youth cohesion through creative production of grassroots online counter-narratives: a pilot intervention and impact evaluation”. A SPEX workshop for a group of adolescents in Dandenong, Melbourne (Australia).

2017 – Taller Ginebrò, Cardedeu (Spain), for a group of teenagers in high school.

2016 – three workshops for three high school classes of Granollers (Spain).

2016 – Impro Gentianes, Grenoble (France), for a group of 26 teenagers with learning disabilities.

2016 – TNG Granollers (Spain), for 60 teenagers with risk of social exclusion. Exhibition at Roca Umbert Fàbrica de les Arts.

2015 – Maison de l’Image, Grenoble (France), for three groups of teenagers in a school, a youth center and a shelter. Exhibition at Ancien Musée de Peinture, Grenoble.

2015 – Hospital de Dia Nou Barris, Barcelona, for a group of 10 teenagers with mental health issues.

2015 – #Closetome, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Cinisello, Milan (Italy). Exhibition in the Museum.

2013 – Sono Io!, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Cinisello, Milan (Italy). Exhibition in the Museum.

2010 – Istituto Besta, Milan, for a high school class of 24.

2009 – Waldorf School, Milan, for a group of 14 teens.

2008 – Waldorf School, Milan, for a group of 12 teens, with exhibition at Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan.