It is a project conceived as a book and would like to be presented as such: an object as big as a hand, to be held in the hand, to leaf through, look at, possibly read.
It was conceived with a name: manuscript, a work written on the hand, or better yet on the hands of those who accepted the provocation, but it is also the work of those who refused it. And with one’s hand, symbol of encounters, of first contact, but also of being man (who in point of fact distinguishes himself from animals with his brain certainly, but also with his hand and with his hand’s dexterity), keeping to the game and using the instrument hand as a slate, turning it into its own hand-page, i.e. manuscript.
It is a situational work, carried out on the street, on the streets of Europe’s great cities, Berlin, London, Paris, Athens, Barcelona, Lisbon, Sarajevo and Milan, carried out with the people one meets every day walking through parks, in city squares and centres, but also on the outskirts, the people one would like to stop, about whom one would like to know more, people who have never heard of art and who would never enter a gallery, but on the other hand with those who do and who are interested as well.
Begun in October of 1997, in black and white during the day and in colour at night, it brought me to clasp the hands of 379 with my camera, to stop again at least three times as many, to take close to 1800 photographs, to speak at least 4 languages and to mimic roughly the same number, to exchange opinions and information with 66 different nationalities, to picnic with families of Palestinians in the Tiergarten in Berlin, to exchange recipes with Kurd cooks in the market place in Athens, to discuss politics with Angolan and Guinea immigrants in the cafes of Lisbon.
And with all of that it doesn’t mean to be a sociological inquest, nor for that matter ethnological, and not even a photographic opera, but rather an action of art. Just as art has already given us its story, now it wants to let itself be seen.
Maria Teresa Gavazzi