It’s always very cold, at night, when I’m out taking photos. But I like being there, looking at the lights and the big road signs.
Terminal 1, Cargo City… It reminds you of the destinations painted on the facades of old ports: Borneo, Java, Sumatra. Ships and storms, spices and pirates. The sound of distance.
Usually, after a while a police car appears. Can I see your I.D.? How come you’re taking photographs? Have you got a permit? As I reply I pretend to myself that the person asking these questions is a Japanese origami fanatic. I hope they’ll say that I’ve no choice, Captain Bryant wants to see me.
Beyond the railway tracks you can see a dark motorway being built. Shrubs grow at the verge of the carriageway, interspersed with car park and motel signs. Behind an embankment, planes leaving on normal commercial flights, evanescent in the glare of the lights, are departing for the “extra-world colonies”.
They take me to the entrance of the spaceship, slowly, climbing up gigantic access ramps. I have to prove my identity, I’m outside my sector. But it’s only a routine check, after a few minutes they let me go. I am innocuous, at most slightly eccentric.
And so I go back and clamber up a hill of black mud that the guards will never dream of coming to check, and gaze from a distance at the planes, the parked cars, the shining roads.
I’ve no desire to remember where I am, I never have had.
I see the passengers appearing quickly, a few at a time. The trafficker who’s bunking off overcome by his debts. A lover abandoned. A friend betrayed.
Photography bewilders the heart. Memories become confused.
I know you will understand if I confess to you that I too would like to leave and try to start a new life.
from the exhibition catalogue Atlante italiano, 2003