I’ve been invited to testify to ‘cut off’ (link) a challenging project from the artist IMPREINT about homelessness. “Cut off” really opened my eyes to the reality of what was happening in London with the homeless and how we take a warm bed for the night for granted. Take in a view of London in the early hours of the morning and you will see all sorts of characters but most importantly the scenes you take in will challenge you. The artist invited me to shoot the 24th of December and view how he approached the subject and then I had the opportunity to ask with him about the project.
Q: How was it to run this project for one year?
A: I haven’t realized it yet, once finished I need to take a break and then make full considerations.
Q: Did it affect your life?
A: Well, I used filters to preserve myself from too much pain and implications but is impossible to not be touched. I’ll give you a simple example, before when I was going to sleep and there was rain I was just enjoying the sound. Now I think of those that are in the street and have to find a place to cover themselves. The sight is reflected in my memories that I’ll never forget and that I live with.
Q: You asked me to come specifically between 4 and 6 am, was there a specific reason?
A: Because I consider this the most genuine time to understand the issue. There is no lie and it is silent, surreal.
Q: I always found the pictures of this project so powerful, do you plan to exhibit them?
A: I haven’t planned anything since the beginning, it was just something that I decided to do in an open and resolute way for one year. This project in itself is finished in its aesthetic, silence and meditation. I’m working on other things, but is too early to talk about that.
Q: Did you expect so many positive reactions?
A: You don’t start a project like this one to please or be pleased, you start because you strongly believe in what you are doing. I thank you with gratitude whoever kindly gave his contribution in whatever form to what I’m doing or I’ve done and fortunately most of us still have sensitiveness, but I don’t base my work in expectations or having necessarily pleasant feedbacks. My work finishes in the moment that I’ll propose it, the rest is something that doesn’t have to concern me and I don’t personally manage. My answers are ultimately my artworks.
Q: What did you realize regarding this issue during the project?
A: That we are distant from our emotions. That we forgot our original purpose and that we need to pay more attention. We are lost, we try to escape from the reality thinking that this will protect us, when we just escape from ourselves we are creating even more damage. What is happening is our mirror, but we don’t want to look at. We become indifferent, we classify and categorize everything because this give us ‘safety’. We defined a person with needs that is in the street: a homeless person. This is ridiculous, the earth belongs to us and is the home of all of us! Personally I’ve listened to enough words that doesn’t follow through with actions. But I want to believe in our souls, so let’s learn how to be in contact for real with our emotions, stopping, observing and acting. We shouldn’t accept as conventional that someone is sleeping in the street. Let’s rid get rid of our fears, preconceptions, habits, rules and proposals of a pre-packaged society and let’s show this famous love that we are talking about. Collective action is made by individuals. Let’s start to take responsibility without waiting for others or blaming something or someone.
Q: Do you have suggestions of how to approach this?
A: By doing the experience with open arms, by being present, sitting with them instead of looking at them and using the same good manners that you’ll use if you’ll visit a friend of yours. There is not a homeless person in front of you, but there is a person like you to treat with respect and kindness starting from the simplest things. If you want offer a coffee for example, don’t forget to ask which type and with how much sugar. It can look obvious, but believe me it has been one year that I’m in the streets and it doesn’t seem so. I’m seriously concerned about our attitude and we should feel ashamed of how we treat each other, remembering that there is no love that is wasted. A beautiful garden doesn’t exist if the people die outside starving.