BY PANAYIOTIS LAMPROU.
Your project is very specific. However, you chose to call it “Untitled History”. Can you explain the title and how you chose it?
I worked on two subjects. The museum of Dr.Guislain [http://www.museumdrguislain.be/en/home-maintopmenu-63] dedicated to psychiatric history and the organization De Kreek [http://dekreekvzw.be/] which organizes summer camps for people with handicaps. Dr Guislain museum is in the city of Gent in Belgium. The camp is located in the Belgian countryside.
“History” is for the first part of the project in which I follow as a viewer the important collection in the Museum Dr.Guislain. It explains the ways they treated and the quality of logic they used in western European civilization to understand people with physical, psychological and mental disabilities.
I suggest a way to look, a distance to approach and a point of view to reading history. Photography, being the explorer of the fact, emphasises the irony of reality.
“Untitled” is for the second part of the project in which I participated in the summer camp of the organization ‘De Kreek’, it specializes in taking creative care of people with disabilities.
“Untitled” in art is normally used for works that don’t try to give a direction in reading them.
Primarily, I had a personal story to investigate [http://panayiotislamprou.wordpress.com/untitled-history/] in which “untitled” was a very first sentiment describing my unexpected will to follow my way to Belgium and with a sure instinct in wanting to do so.
As a photographer, I have been influenced by the photographer Diane Arbus who had already approached people with disabilities in her work “untitled“. Her sensitivity, kindness and pure intentions broke the distance with the unfamiliar. She expanded the limits giving a clearer view to the understanding of the meaning of existence. Her work was a secure base for me to do my research.
My intention is to present the variety of sentiments, the quality of touch and the form of appearance of the people participating in De Kreek creative summer camps.
A kind surrealism appears so interesting as an icon for reality. A fact of truth, describing the way we share life depending on the system we follow.
Photography can reach the core of a subject only without any judgement, reality then reflects its character in clarity. And that clarity is still “untitled” as a definition.
What do you think are the most common misconceptions about people with mental health issues or mental disabilities?
I have only seen fear for the unfamiliar. Knowledge itself can create obvious reactions of communication.
You must empty your brain from any ideas you have.
You need to accept life
You have to see with your heart.
Then, any category we use to explain all the different forms of people with disabilities is not important. But what remains important is the willingness for communication with people in general.
How have you found out that most of this prejudice is totally wrong?
It is not prejudice.
It is a history of treatment, it is a habit of thinking in order to accept fear, but not analyse what you see. This is part of western culture because of Christianity, the Middle Ages… e.t.c It is good to read “The history of Madness” of Michel Foucaul.
On the other hand, few know that there is a museum of a hospital which was built in 1488 in the Othoman empire in Edirne, Turkey [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayezid_II_Külliye_Health_Museum]
What a beauty of mind! How much advanced it still is.
Nature gave us the charisma to investigate life. (including tools such as logic, experience, research, thought, sense). I just wanted to know for myself. Life gave me that opportunity. I followed it.
When you went to the De Kreek summer camp what were the most important experiences for you?
The spirit of De Kreek:
The quality of freedom to be.
The richness of creativity to share.
The variety of possibilities to communicate.
A rare sense of feeling human goodness.
You live in Greece. How is the situation for people with mental disabilities and mental diseases at the moment?
Please follow the link [http://psi-action-en.blogspot.gr/]
In a few words the state keeps on collapsing because of the new financial politics. People only survive. Nobody thinks of a future.
It is a new type of war. The system changed rapidly without caring about the democratic law. They created laws for a day, just to do business. They are using fascist groups to gain power from the lower class of society. They create fear, unemployment, violence, racism. Finally sadness and misery is a result.
The new system does not exist, it is only those numbers running on a screen. It seems to me as the beginning of a new medieval period. But the new God is called Financial Market. Hidden numbers and hypocrisy affects the life on earth.
There is resistance. If you keep your eyes open, look at the miracle of life. It will connect you as you wish to go further or to die in peace.
How has “Untitled History” changed you as a person? What have you learned about yourself as a person?
Act by your truth speaking heart!
Accept your result!
Try till the end of the world!
Interview by Emma Elina Keira Jones