Theater, Body and Diversity
A photographic workshop was held in mid-October in the ancient Florentine botanic garden as part of “Theater, Body and Diversity” program. Leon Jones, 1st year SACI MFA in Photography student, led the group of patients and staff from the Fili e Colori daily center in Florence, equipped with handmade pinhole cameras.
The group met up at the Giardino dei Semplici, an important ancient Florentine botanic garden. Everyone was equipped with a shoe box transformed into a single-shot camera. Paolo Luzzi, biologist, showed them around. “It is a living museum,” he said about the garden, “where parts of collections get sick and die, or get cured and live for centuries.” Everyone chose a subject to photograph. One shot only, not an easy decision. 18th century oak, carnivorous plants, rootless tillandsia, a giant Japanese platanus…
In the meantime, Leon loaded the “cameras” with photo paper, and they were then ready to go. Some chose to be in the photo. Pippo performed a theatrical hug and stood still for a 4 minute exposure. Giancarlo instead went for a less dramatic pose. He chose his tree and waited patiently for Leon’s instructions. He stood still for 5 minutes, but could not help looking around, left and right. He was warned that he will have not only one head anymore, but perhaps two or three. Vicenza chose a fountain. She liked the motion of the water. So they set up the shoe box camera and she talked about her new book, about a world she imagines. It is an excellent world without any sickness or wars. Later they all talk about the plague, which will be the theme of the final project-performance for the Body Archives course. They agree that the plague is “something that arrives,” something deeply connected to the fear of the foreigner. Vicenza reminded them that madness has been called the plague of our time. “Therefore, we, the psychiatric patients,” she sais, “should have a lot to say about the plague.” It was a great day, in spite of the weather forecast. Not a drop of rain, even the sun came through the clouds a few times.
See the photographic results of the pinhole camera workshop: “Theater, Body and Diversity” group visits SACI’s Body Archive class, sees results of pinhole camera workshop: Part II