June 20, 2007

Barbonato


I'd no friends, no home, no job, no girlfriend and no money. One fine day I decided to drop all this nothingness and leave for a place I knew not where. I let myself be carried by the flow of events, opting to use this "absence" as a strength rather than the stuff of desperation. I left the day before the 1st of January, 1996, and allowed myself to be fed and housed by the people I met by chance; initially people I already knew and then others they introduced me to and to whom they entrusted me. With no set programme to respect, with no certainty of sleeping in the same place twice. During the course of this "trip" it might happen that talking to someone they would decide to participate in my project, inviting me to stay in their home for a few days, or simply offering me a cup of coffee.

Barbonato is a kind of study grant to be obtained by way of self-congratulation. Anybody can get one without any great trouble. It fights unhappiness. Allows you to observe how others spend their time and to meet their friends. I've lived in dozens of different homes in Milan, Trieste, Gallarate, Bologna, San Lazzaro di Savena, Rome, Genoa, Rivara, Como, San Maurizio Canavese, Turin, Lanciano, Mostar.

I bought a camera with a date function and each time I slept in a new place I photographed the first thing I saw when I woke up (usually the ceiling or parts of windows). The dates stamped on the slides serve as memoranda.

I sometimes took notes on the people I met and the phrases pronounced in certain circumstances. Then, after exactly nine months, all this freedom sickened me and for a while I rented a room in Milan.