Freedom Under Control

Giacomo d'Orlando

2020 - Ongoing

Italy

"Freedom is like air, you realize its worth when it starts to fade"

The freedom of choice was an undisputed concept, almost obvious until recently. The period of forced isolation we have gone through has profoundly dented this belief, radically changing the perception of the control we have over our lives. As a result, this has influenced our way of thinking and acting. During isolation, each person has coexisted with different emotions and moods, which have inevitably left within us psychological aftermaths that will hardly abandon us in a short time.

The sense of uncertainty about our future increased due to the impotence of being masters of oneself and one's actions. Now we feel like our freedom is under control. An inescapable pragmatism has supplanted our spontaneity and carefreeness. The sense of community is crumbling away day by day, in favour of an increasingly distrustful and individualistic society. The enormous amount of free time we had recently, made us reflect. In some cases, it changed our priorities, contributing to the rediscovery of what really matters to us, what is indispensable in our lives. It led us to find out what we desperately need in our daily life. What we missed the most when our basic freedoms were denied.

I want to analyse those who were mostly affected by this psychological backlash: the young people from 23 to 35 years old. During this phase of life, the young people go through a particular process of inner awareness that lead them to realize what they really want to do in their life. The inability to act freely and the prospect of an uncertain future are subverting the plans of thousands of them. Through a 12 questions interview realized with the help of psychologists expert in the field, I wanted to dig deep into the feelings that accompanied young people from all over Italy during the isolation. I later chose to link this interview to two photos for each subject. The first picture shows where their isolation took place and with which psychological conditions they went through this period. The second picture portrays what they missed the most when their freedom were limited.

Ideally, I will continue this project across several Countries of Europe in order to give a more complete panoramic of how this historic crossroads of our time have influenced our subconscious. Its aim is to demonstrate how this unprecedented event has changed the way we see and live life, creating an archive of psychosocial changes that have taken place within the new generations.

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  • Alessandro, 28, Napoli.
    I think I’ve never had total control over my life and I don’t think I will have it in the future either. I stopped chasing news about the outside world in order to lose the conception of time and focus only on myself.
    It was shocking to see what was happening outside, because it was something new never happened before. Since the pandemic broke out, I’ve noticed that people have changed their habits drastically, becoming more wary and less expansive. My predominant emotion was bewilderment.

  • Alessandro, 28, Napoli.
    I am not someone who has missed the worldly life of the city. The thing I missed the most during quarantine was painting in my studio in close contact with nature, to which I am particularly attached. As an artist, I consider my atelier an extension of my person, and not being able to go there made me feel incomplete.

  • Elisa, 29, Torino.
    Generally I have always had the feeling of being in control of my life. During the pandemic this feeling of control collapsed. I experienced my period of loneliness really badly. I have perceived changes in my character, such as the sharpening of my hysteria and sometimes losing control over myself.
    I no longer have confidence neither in the Government nor in the media, as I have always felt teased by their lack of coherence. I personally continue to behave as I have always done, so I can say that my personality has certainly not changed. Instead, I recognise a change in the other people that is unlikely to be erased. My predominant emotion was insecurity.

  • Elisa, 29, Torino.
    Being a professional acrobat, unfortunately all scheduled shows were cancelled.
    The thing I missed the most during quarantine was my job because it’s also my passion.
    I had an extreme desire to train, go to the gym and practice for the shows.

  • Pietro, 30, Verona.
    We live in a system where we feel like we have the freedom to do what we want, but we are actually operated by people who live on the so-called “upper floors”. Before the pandemic I thought I had more control over my life, then I found that this sense of control is only fictitious, because we have to submit and respect the rules that are imposed on us, without any choice.
    I spent this period of loneliness quite well, except for a few moments of depression due to segregation. I was coming from a moment in my life where I had already decided to make some changes in my daily routine and this period of isolation gave me the opportunity to put them into practice. My predominant emotion was relief.

  • Pietro, 30, Verona.
    Being alone for a long time made me realize which people are really important in my life. The thing I missed the most during quarantine was going out to drink with my friends. I missed sharing those moments made of comparisons. Talking about frivolous things but also feelings, sensations and how the world around us is changing.

  • Giulia, 28, Milano.
    This period had questioned the sense of control I had over my life. Before the pandemic, thinking that I had total control over my decisions made me feel reassured. Then I realized that this control is ephemeral. This has changed expectations for my future, increasing my sense of uncertainty.
    I didn’t feel part of a State or a community. I felt very lonely. Without the sensation of being protected, the trust I developed towards the Government is very low. My predominant emotion was resignation.

  • Giulia, 28, Milano.
    The thing I missed the most during quarantine was the music in all its nuances, from playing, to concerts, to teaching. Most of all I missed the opportunity to compose and play songs with my band in the rehersal room.

  • Corrado, 28, Siracusa.
    I felt pretty well during this period of solitude given that I have always been an introverted person who loves to be alone. I used this time to study myself; finding out that I am a much more responsive person than I thought. I scheduled carefully every day, reading a lot, following online courses and working on my computer.
    I have never had anxieties and concerns. I felt a major change in my life that has brought a breath of positivity that I feel strongly even today. My predominant emotion was tranquillity.

  • Corrado, 28, Siracusa.
    For the first time in my life I missed the sea. I’ve never had a deep connection with it, but quarantine has brought so many changes that I felt the desire to tie myself to an element like water. Suddenly it made me feel free.

  • Irene, 27, Bologna.
    Suddenly I completely lost control of my freedom of choice. I have been forced to think and act according to a global perspective and no longer to myself alone. I feel that from now on, before planning something I will always have a feeling of uncertainty that will be difficult to remove.
    It’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to be alone with myself and sort out my thoughts. My predominant emotion was estrangement.

  • Irene, 27, Bologna.
    The thing I missed the most during quarantine is daily social and cultural life. I missed going to public places of aggregation, especially to the cinema. There, I can meet new people and share my greatest passion with them.

  • Homero, 23, Roma.
    It was like my fears were confirmed, or rather that our freedom is very fragile. I would not be surprised if in the future we faced another period of forced isolation. Seeing my freedom being denied without notice, made me think a lot about what I really want to do in my life.
    My quarantine has been full of ups and downs. Some days I felt very good, it seemed that time was slowing down giving me more moments to dedicate to myself. Other days instead I went through long periods of depression due to the impotence to act and change the state of things. My predominant emotion was bipolarism.

  • Homero, 23, Roma.
    I felt more than ever the lack of my connection with nature. Living in a big city, I often feel trapped by my daily routine. Being locked up in a concrete cage for so long has made me realize how much I need to be in contact with nature. I missed so much the freedom to go to the parks near my house where I could lay down in the grass and breathe fresh air.

  • Valentina, 26, Verona.
    In my case, loneliness was filled with my work. I spent about 12 hours a day doing swabs to people, and providing health care. I felt useful, but above all, responsible. I always been a person who likes company and confusion. During this time I begun to appreciate more the silence, distancing myself from things not strictly necessary.
    When I was doing swabs, I was going into people’s home with PPE suit, mask, gloves, socks, being careful not to touch anything. Despite this, I always felt “dirty”. Sometimes I felt afraid that I forgot some steps in security procedures. I felt like a possible contamination vehicle. My predominant emotion was diffidence.

  • Valentina, 26, Verona.
    More than anything, I missed my mother and the contact with her. Even though we lived under the same roof, due to our work (she is also a nurse) we could not touch or hug each other for fear of a possible contagion.


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