Imago Tour Sicily is a photographic project that seeks to use images to portray the unseen face of Sicily, which recoils from the stereotyped image on postcards and of tourism. We interviewed the project’s founder, Graziella Russo.
What I like about this project is that it uses cultural means (photography, with all the creativity and technology that comes with it) to comment on a cultural identity. Even more, the artist in question suggests that this cultural identity somehow hides the ‘real’ identity of her people.
That resonates in my view with one of the main ideas of theologian Philip Hefner (see his book ‘The Human Factor’ on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Human-Factor-The-Theology-Sciences/dp/080062579X), namely that culture hides part of who we are by hiding our connection, our relation with nature. What both mean, I think, is that culture is a powerful human ability to order the world around us in an environment we can survive and thrive in, and that this power can become over-powering. That is, we can trust too much on the cultural order we build, and loose sight of the constructed nature of our human ecological niche. That results in an attitude of taking things for granted, believing they just are what they are.
But that of course is never the case. Becoming human means learning to become cultural, and that entails the ability to be critical, to take a distance, to be creative. I’m highly critical of Daniel Dennet’s view on cultural evolution (see his ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: http://www.amazon.com/DARWINS-DANGEROUS-IDEA-EVOLUTION-MEANINGS/dp/068482471X), but I do appreciate that he pointed at the danger of culture taking over our mind (by using the concept of ‘memes’). So a photography project like this, or discussing the classics of our culture (not only western culture!) in class, are of vital importance. And both are also just fun, of course…
See on www.swide.com