“The Contact Zone”
The Contact Zone is a project that investigates the relationship between colonial ideology and the imaginary processes of reconfiguration of the Other. Inspired by the Age of Discoveries and by Columbus’ chronicles of his first voyage toward the Americas, the series aims to explore the pathways that lead Occident in producing differentiated conceptions of itself in comparison to what has been defined as “the rest of the world”. The project investigates how technologies of power such as maps, measurements tools, navigation diaries and of course photography have been used to mediate the experience of the unknown, the exotic and the non- familiar. By means of staged photographs, texts, videos and archival footage, the artwork offers itself as an imaginary and anachronistic journey through the geographies of Occidental’s desires and ambitions. Besides, it questions the gestures of supremacy and violence of colonial power embedded in the images of the Other and in travel literacy. The Contact Zone points to determine the shape and the borders of these spaces of colonial encounter, highlighting the asymmetrical and permanent relationships of power, that individuals separated by geography and history, establish among them. As consequence, the imagined Other, the voyage and the conquest became pivotal topics in this exploration trying to decipher the role of western gaze in the creation of imageries of idealistic civilization.
© Bianca Salvo