Momentáneamente Para Siempre

Nola Minolfi

2019 - Ongoing

Argentina; Italy

Argentina, 1983. One very early morning the red pocket radio of my grandfather William was crackling from the kitchen table about new possibilities for governmental political negotiations. Thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate that historical moment. After years of dramatic social repression the return of democracy was announced. At the age of twenty-six, my father was ready to vote for the first time in his life. It was the fall of the military dictatorship.

Despite this, Argentina was totally damaged and unprepared to approach and solve its drastic economic and social issues which had been generating new problematic consequences and continued to mark the country for decades.

Economic inflation was skyrocketing and there was no guarantee that anyone could withdraw money from personal bank accounts overnight. At the same time the strong individual and collective instabilities increased social insecurity and expanded criminality. Even with a good job and a good apartment, every day it was an uncertainty just to return home each evening.

I was born in Buenos Aires and at the age of two, in the early 90’s, my parents decided to leave Argentina to move to Italy. They wanted to live peacefully and wished for a better environment in which to settle our future.

Everything worked out and they succeeded to settle down in Milan. With the passing of time I grew up accustomed to living at a distance from my closest relatives who were still based partly in Argentina and partly in Brazil.

At that time, distances and absences were dealt with by sending postal letters and everything that could be folded and fit into envelopes was done so to their fullest.

I remember my parents checking the mailbox daily and that specific feeling of waiting to hear back or the feeling of surprise when we received family news which had travelled so far to be delivered to us.

Even before learning to read and write I was learning to relate to my family sphere and deal with my intimate emotions through the reading of photographs. Looking at printed pictures, for me, meant to meet, identify and recognise family members. Framed encounters were surely not enough to replace the feeling of absence, distance and longing, but those photographs were magical for me and were all that could speak to me about family. This is from where this work originated and why today I am a photographer.

Momentáneamente Para Siempre is a response to the urge to answer some of the questions that came along with me after my father passed away. How does photography function - or not - as a catalyst for remembrances? How can the medium of photography challenge and represent the tangibility of memories?

The work aims to reflects on the role played by family photographs especially when they appear to constitute the only access to deal with distance, absence and loss.

It aims to convey how photographs can become a tool to better understand and deal with the meaning of remembering and what is after for those left behind, by reshaping and negotiating familial remembrances and identities.

The whole project observes the relationship between memories and photographs and focuses on how to put in conversation the role of photography with the essence, the reliability and the tangibility of personal remembrances; both as a tangible translation of individuals’ mind projections as well as, on the contrary as a framed limitation in depicting the entire substance of remembrances.

Momentaneamente Para Siempre is the result of my research studies in relation to inner reflections on the meaning of photographs as transitional objects of memory which assert themselves as immutable substitutes for loved ones who are far or gone and as representations of eternity and immortality.

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