Two weeks ago, my friend Salvatore, who was very sick with AIDS, passed away. He had called me last summer to announce that he had finally got an appartment from the City Hall, and he was very happy about that. I didn't hear from him anymore, untiil my friend Claudia wrote me to say he had died. Salvatore was extremely passionate about Homer's epic poems, especially the Illiad, which he continued to read throughout his whole life. He used to see himself as Achilles. Salvatore wasn't very good in his relationships, he was hard to handle, too proud, too enraged. He was very proud of his collaborative self-portrait, he wanted the world to listen to his rage and despair. He once told me "Rage keeps me alive".
For Salvatore's sake, and for all those who are now suffering I am determined to continue producing collaborative self-portraits on the expression of extreme emotions, and to divulge my project. I have held many workshops this winter in Barcelona (women over 50, women inmates in prison, top managers), Milan (for teenagers, fashion designers and photographers), Savignano, Turku (for photo-therapists), Luxembourg (for students and the general public). A HIGHER SELF exhibit was shown at The Private Space in Barcelona last november, and another one will open at the Casino of Luxemburg on May 14, during the Mois de la Photo in Luxemburg.
In September and October, HIGHER SELF will show the underlying emotions of the city of Turku, at the Peri Photographer's Gallery at the Waino Aaltonen Museum during the European Capital of Culture, Turku 2011, and my autobiography SOMEONE TO LOVE will be a personal show at the Mois de la Photo of Montréal, curated by Anne-Marie Ninacs at the Skol Centre of the Arts.
The Department of Psychology Research of the Cattolica University of Milan have just started a research project on the effects of THE SELF-PORTRAIT EXPERIENCE on my workshop participants. I've been wanting this research for several years, and it just happened, when I was least expecting it... My method has been involved in other two research programmes of the University of Roehampton in London, regarding photo-therapy in prisons.
My book SOMEONE TO LOVE has been published in November (English version) and February (Italian version), and is selling very well, although it is not distributed in bookshops. I am very glad that Salvatore's photograph and story are included in the book. His silent scream will live on, so that we will never forget that rage and despair.