On the International Day Against Racism, Dialogica aims to investigate the ability of images to contribute, through an action of intercultural visual literacy, to the elimination of preconceptions related to the phenomena of migration or cultural diversity.
Since Gordon Parks began telling the poverty , social injustice and marginalization experienced by African Americans in the United States with dignity and sensitivity, a new narrative model has joined the assault photojournalism, contributing to outline a new iconography capable of restoring a de-colonized, more realistic and less stereotyped vision of the figure of the migrant or, more generally, of the black communities.
To a merely documentary approach, capable of producing hundreds of images that run the risk of feeding clichés and cheesy stereotypes, the new generations of authors working with images they prefer an investigation that focuses more on the place where they live through the use of more sophisticated languages or a insight on the social implications of the migration phenomenon.
The work “Nowhere Near” by the author Alisa Martynova focuses precisely on the need to return a peculiar identity to the erroneously unified vision of the migrant. Alisa uses metaphors and similarities to tell the stories of young migrants, interviewed in Italy (and beyond) for over three years. The groups of migrants, protagonists of exhausting journeys, are metaphorically compared to constellations of hypervelocity stars, that’s to say celestial bodies trapped on the edge of black holes, a kind of limbo from which they can escape only thanks to a clash between two black holes: an exceptional event that projects the stars away from a precarious balance to reach unknown destinations.
Thus, the Dream of a better life, trying to achieve an Eldorado imagined for a long time, but never really displayed, is poetically rendered through night shots in which light reveals for a few seconds what is hidden, showing fabrics and clothes iconographically linked to Afro/Oriental culture, but captured in other places, where the sea often bravely crossed to reach a better life is often present, or the forest/forest to hide in to become ghosts in a foreign land.
A visual short circuit that reaffirms the presence of another culture in an unknown territory, and that moves a reflection on the inner world of migrants with the intention of arousing reactions in those who look and to emphasize the individuality and peculiarity of each portrayed subject, bearer of experiences and unique and unrepeatable stories.
The project “Black skin white algorithms” by the Angolan author Alice Marcelino focuses on the danger of the black communities’ cultural flattening. Alice, whose work explores the dimension of belonging starting from the concepts of culture, tradition, migration and identity, she denounces the anomalies present in facial detection technologies when they interact with subjects with dark skin. Being mainly programmed by Western Man to detect light skin, these technologies do not equally accurately identify darker skin tones, returning summary or approximate views of the recognized subjects.
The inferiority of the black population is therefore perpetrated not only in such unconscious bias, but it’s also fueled by technologies, programmed by white Westerners, resulting in the provision of potential false statements.
To underline this leveling, Alice replaces the subject’s mug shots with the ASCII code one (a standard character set included by all computers) – which reduces their identity to a binary result, devoid of meaning and complexity: the reading of the face is thus totally canceled and made unreadable by both man and facial recognition system.