1 / 5       From the series Blue Sky Days. © Tomas van Houtryve.
2 / 5       From the series Blue Sky Days. © Tomas van Houtryve.

3 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition Blue Sky Days. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

4 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition Blue Sky Days. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

5 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition Blue Sky Days. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

Blue Sky Days

To attempt to understand the meaning of the work of Tomas van Houtryve it is good to begin from his words recorded in the apparatus accompanying the exhibition at the Old Hospital. We have related this in full: «According to several investigations by journalists several thousands of people have been killed since 2004 in attacks by undercover United States drones. Though we live in the most interconnected era in history, there is little visual evidence, which is accessible publicly of the drone war and its victims. So I decided to attach my camera to a small drone and to travel to America photographing all kinds of gatherings mentioned in reports of attacks in Pakistan and Yemen: weddings, funerals, groups of people while they are praying or training. I flew my camera even over places where the drones are used for less lethal purposes, like prisons, oilfield areas and the border between the United States and Mexico. My intent is to draw attention to the changes taking place in the field of privacy, surveillance and modern warfare».

The long quote is necessary to account for the sense of the work that otherwise could result only as a boring sequence if zenith images when, once you understand the mechanism of the graphic games created by the shadows, there is an unavoidable drooping of the eyelids in extreme defense of the psychological well-being of the visitor already tormented by the heat and the slightly unbearable atmosphere that hovers in the Vecchio Ospedale (Old Hospital).
In fact, however, Van Houtryve’s work has a breath far more conceptual than one would imagine whilst approaching it absent-mindedly. It is a feeling of boredom and expected normality, which emerges at the viewing of the third or fourth shot, reinforced by a black and white alive with compressed grays towards the base, it is an integral part of the planning. If on one hand we have not satisfied the expectation of the observer invoked by Gombrich through the use of a resume point, which overhangs on the subject vertically, the other is difficult to see, beyond the graphical refinements, the raison d'etre of the images. This is the core of the matter, because he also shoots an identification process in which the viewer cannot help but recognise himself sooner or later in the commonplace activities represented. Then you realise that these are the same conditions that gave rise to deadly drone attacks, we understand that having all been participants in similar situations, we could all be subject to lethal actions not necessarily based on real reasons. For sure, this is a show that evokes reflections on the management of justice and freedom internationally, but perhaps it is not to be recommended to those who have already expressed overt paranoid symptoms or worse, paranoiacs. [ S. I. ]

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by Tomas van Houtryve
Vecchio Ospedale | until September, 27th 2015
admission fee: 6,00 €

published on 2015-07-20 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS



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editor in chief Sandro Iovine | sandro.iovine@fpmagazine.eu - senior writer Stefania Biamonti - web developer Salvatore Picciuto | info@myphotoportal.com - linguistic coordination Nicky Alexander - translations Nicky Alexander, Rachele Frosini - contributor Davide Bologna, Mimmo Cacciuni Angelone, Laura Marcolini, Stefano Panzeri, Pio Tarantini, Salvo Veneziano - local Lazio correspondent Dario Coletti local Sardinian correspondent Salvatore Ligios - local Sicilian correspondent Salvo Veneziano - editorial office via Spartaco, 36 20135 Milano MI | redazione@fpmagazine.eu - phone +39 02 49537170 - copyright © 2015 FPmag - FPmag is a pubblication of Machia Press Publishing srl a socio unico, via Cristoforo Gluck, 3 20135 Milano MI - VAT no. 07535000967 C.F. (TAX code) 07535000967 - Copyright © 2015 FPmag - Registered at Tribunale di Milano No. 281 on the 9th September 2014

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