Massimiliano: 'Inspired by my background as an architect and my interest in environmental psychology and neuroscience, I focus my research on the aesthetics of the urban space. The built environment – the city is for me the theater of an ongoing quest of the absolute pursued by means of monochrome photography. I am profoundly fascinated by all that “built” solid matter of the spaces around me, the spaces I’m in, the spaces I cross, whose systemic aggregation granularly shapes our identities and nurtures my obsession.'

 

Aan welk project/serie heb je gewerkt in de vrij werk coaching groep onder leiding van Maarten van Schaik?

'During the workshop with Maarten I could develop the series I was working on called “The good, the bad and the ugly” that is a research on the dualistic identity “victim-hero” of the urban dweller in a study case vulnerable neighborhood of Eindhoven – the neighborhood where I live. As citizens, we often deal passively with governance and planning decisions because we are not part of the process and do not master the art of decision-making. Yet as humans, we are genetically and evolutionarily programmed to adapt or change what surrounds us to meet our needs. In this way, in addition to helpless “victims” of urban planners, developers and architects, we also become “heroic” protagonists and reclaim our own daily spaces. By photo shooting the public liminal spaces of “my neighborhood” – cars-asphyxiated streets enclosed with blind brickwork walls, sound barriers or honeycomb-facades – I allow myself to release my own inner “hero” and rescue all that pervasive ugliness into the majestuous beauty of the morning light caught brushing the surface of the stones, etching the shadow of a tree on a flat wall or amplifying the vital embrace of the sky on a car hood.'

 

Wat is jouw ultieme doel met dit werk? Bijvoorbeeld een publicatie of expositie?

'Now that I am about to wrap up and reflect on my work on this neighborhood, I intend to extend (and I’ve already started) this research to other vulnerable areas of the city and explore their specific spatial features.'

'My ambition is to promote this research by involving city makers and governance, as well as cultural organizations, in order to enrich the way we look at and think about the urban space – beyond the accustomed financial, political and technical matrix we are sadly used to.'

 

Op welke manier heeft de coaching van Maarten en het groepsproces bijgedragen aan de ontwikkeling van de serie?

'Maarten’s coaching and the interaction with my fellow participants challenged me to refine the content of my project, confronted me with certain misleading easy way out of my images and spurred a more open and bold approach to the urban scenes I want to focus on.'

 

Wat heb je geleerd, wat was een belangrijk inzicht?

'This workshop endowed me with a sharper awareness of my photographic mission and a braver confidence in my approach. Maarten has been able to reveal compelling narratives underlying my work and to push me to further develop them. I am genuinely grateful to his frank and authentic, knowledgeable, passionate and gezellig coaching.'