Italians living in Berlin explain their perception of the concept of alienation.
The subjects are portrayed in their private space, like a nest, where the intimacy of personal space acts in contrast to the outside world.
The reportage is accompanied by audio interviews, excerpts of which are included here.
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"The alienation is detachment with reality and self-perception, it is not based on our identity but on finding ourselves as spirits.
If this alienation causes negative thought patterns, all that comes is destructive.
If instead through alienation I find acceptance it inspires my creativity.
I do not pretend not to feel like an alien, as I understand this is how society perceives me.
This world is on complete transformation, and I fit in the alien, only if I like it though."
"Every time we approach something new, even the experience of going out of our comfort zone and being an immigrant in a foreign country, basically every time we have a new experience, we feel like we are a little alien. Alien is what is outside of your knowledge and experience. Once you experience something and that becomes a routine it is no longer unknown because it gets into your knowledge and is probed by your mind. While anything you do that takes you out of your comfort zone and your practical knowledge is alien.
Despite that, there are still things that continue to be inconceivable tho I have lived here for three years."
"Alienation is the inability to share a burden or a problem. In a cohesive family unit problems are shared amongst members because of their shared sense of belonging. I never felt at home in Italy. I experience the same feeling here too, there are absolutely no differences.
For me, a home is made by the people within. My parents love me but they are not my home. They have been separated since I was three, so I never had a home. I have always been between my mom and my dad. When you grow up knowing that people are your home and people aren’t always there, you develop a much more abstract concept of home.
In Germany I am not recreating my home, I am creating it.”
”In my job, it is easy to alienate. Programming is communicating with a machine. When your practice is communicating with a machine and not a person, you develop a sense of alienation. In my reality, this is the meaning of alienation. When interacting with Germans, I have experienced great cultural differences in their approaches to friendship. I always feel an emotional detachment. Fortunately, I never had to adapt or integrate necessarily because as an engineer, I was enough. I never needed to speak the language, I have been able to avoid experiencing those situations, that effort to overcome alienation, that effort to adapt and integrate into that culture, because basically I don’t need to. As an Italian, I´ve experienced being judged by stereotypes. It simplifies a person, takes away their individuality and places them within a category. However, as an Italian, we also judge Germans based on preconceived notions without a true understanding of each individual.”
”Alien, in context with alienation, corresponds to this inner being who has detached himself from his physical body and therefore lives alongside it. We are all a bit alien when we are in extraneous situations, situations in which we do not feel comfortable. Everyone has felt alienated in some way. I have also felt this way in my life. The feeling of alienation is as if you no longer see yourself from the outside and you lose control. Helpless, you cannot control yourself, because you are so disconnected from your being. A defence mechanism of the soul that in order to avoid the human tendency to experience malaise, tends to detach completely from our emotional and sentimental sphere. Berlin has many people who come from all parts of the world, and are in the same situation. So I never felt this kind of alienation here. The places we frequent are populated by people who come from other countries. It is a product of globalization, the effect leads to confrontation. So I’m not often reminded of my personal concept of alienation, and the lack of the place where I come from.
In addition, a person can also feel alienated from their place of birth, from Italy in this case.”
“At work, people don't talk to me. I think it's due to the fact that people who were born and raised here never left the city. People who judge us because they believe that we come here to be supported by Germany.
The Germans like to know the world, but they don't like to know people. Here we talk about work but not about feelings. Maybe we, as Italians, give greater value to friendship, affections, family. On the other hand, the German system is a much more honest system. Things are like this, they have to be done like this, that is, without errors in between, and the result is that things work.”
"There are a lot of nuances in the concept of alienation. I alienate myself every day, wanting it. I am a musician, music takes time because it is the art of the time. It develops over time and occupies all the time in my life. So I alienate myself every day, I find it necessary.
It is a desired suffering, but it is also enjoyable.
You can alienate yourself badly or alienate yourself well. Bad: you go crazy. Well: you can do many interesting things for yourself and for others. I live in this limbo. I have lived as an immigrant since I was 15 years old, after Italy, Spain and then here in Germany, I have travelled a lot.
I am very used to all the difficulties of being an Italian abroad, since adolescence.
I don't feel like I belong anywhere, but I do miss my mother. I find Italy a country where people worry too much about pleasing others.
I need to please myself and communicate through my art.
I feel free, alienation can also mean freedom."
"It doesn't often happen that I feel alienated. Likely due to my tendency to frequent environments where I feel at ease. There were situations where I wasn't in my typical environment, but I didn't feel lost.
I recreate my home in the places I frequent, where I work or the restaurants I go often to. I always tend to prefer environments I know and trust, rather than experimenting with something new. In the last five years when I lived abroad, I pulled myself out more than I ever have before. Confronting myself with different realities and different cultures has helped me to better create and understand my personal identity. This is slightly due to the fact that in Italy I lived in a place I didn’t enjoy. I lived in a situation where I was an unwanted immigrant in my own country. I have not yet experienced this here (in Berlin). However it is true that in Germany the Italians are not perceived well, we are still part of that kind of Italians who have no acceptance problems."