Break [into] me. Come with me, Listen to me, Enfold me. Like a dug-up wreck, an ancient trail, an extraneous thing. [“I am Asan, Who the hell am I.”]
What happens when a circle begins? You know the circle will end. The matter is how is it gonna end. (The matter is, how can you know how is it gonna end?). A photographer meets an subject, not that she thinks he his, but it’s the only thing he deserves to be. And he knows it, and he likes it. Skin is a boundary [then] skin is an opportunity.
I met Asan in Paris. I was caught by his mental universe of anxiety, straying and questioning. With him, I felt immediately messy but complete. I entered his nomadic life and his persistent tension with spaces. I found myself in it. I started to take pictures hanging over him, in every street, light or wall he was leaning in. But he kept asking for more. He was viscerally attracted to me. He was obsessed with me.
For over one year, I denied him but I came back in an endless and tense tango. Following him across Europe and Asia, in a bipolar courtship, I was led into intertwined, overlaid worlds: erratic, liquid cities, revealing then hiding themselves; and Asan, more as an entity than a person, a mentor, a spiritual guide. As we chased each other, he took me away. When I found my own vision and language through our photos, I was already gone from his life, as he from mine.
And what am I looking for, there, in the night? I’m looking at my own thoughts laughing in my face.
What happens when a circle begins? You know the circle will end. The matter is how, is it gonna end. (The matter is, how can you know how is it gonna end?). Skin is a boundary [then] skin is an opportunity.
Almost like a secret, almost like travelling undercover: when I move, the city clings to me like a web, and like a spider-web she can’t contain [me], she only taints me.
I never move for pleasure. And I move very often. I move to run away, I move because it’s the only thing to do when you don’t know how to stay. I move to tire me up, and sometimes I hold on to hear me breathing.
I should look more or less as you look to me right now. How do your thoughts sound like? How do you think my thoughts sound like? And what am I screaming, there in the dark?
Sometimes I don’t understand if it’s day or night. Of course, I remember. But the fact is that I don’t understand it. If I take off the meaning from a letter, what do I have? Just a mark, just a sign.
You can give names to any place in the world, this way. You could lose details: it’s true. But at least you have a form to look at; a form to try to comprehend.
I’ve lost and found myself on a path that – now I see – he was leading. Our overlapping, crossed worlds.
Suddenly, I’m not taking pictures of the streets of Paris anymore. Suddenly, Asan is a trip.
And I hope that this thought could be seen from outside too, I wish you could watch and read this thought from the outside, then maybe I would be able to understand that wandering, as well as I remember it.
But now I lie still. Lie still in front of this door. Still. Still, ’cause this is your home. I pick you up. I bring you back here.
You slightly go away, winking your eyes. You see a form, and you name it: home, Bishkek.
I take a picture of him following his eyes: [get lost in the sky of Bishkek] his gaze is now his own reflection, and his reflection is what he is for me.
As if it’s here that you smoke your first cigarette, as [you] are looking to the memory of your-child-self, lying on the grass, lying on the ground, lying under your eyes seeking above, being caught by the smoke.
How many times I’ve been here before. Of course I’ve never stopped here, but it doesn’t matter. When you’re slipping away, places are so similar, and you only have a lot of slivers clingin on you, trapped by yourself.
Then I’ll catch you, my ghost, and I’ll keep you here. There close to you? Here in my hands. I’ll let you contain me and you won’t succeed. You’ll let me get closer to what I can’t feel.
There isn’t something fake, here, it’s only myself scratching the air with a flashing light: how could you see what I see, otherwise?
You stand, steady as a stone, a sculpture. You don’t even gaze at me – how dark is this dark? Did I ever meet a dark like that?
Martina Cirese was born in Rome in 1988.
From 2008 until 2009, while studying History at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, she also enrolled at the institute of photography “ISFCI”, collaborating at the same time with the “AGF” photojournalistic agency and with the organization “Shoot4Change”. Completed her Bachelor’s degree in 2010, she has moved from Rome to Paris to finish her studies, winning a scholarship to do her thesis abroad and receiving her Master degree in Contemporary History in 2013.
Her first publications have been about the student movement: in 2008 on “PeaceReporter”; in 2011 on the book SpringTime: The New Student Rebellions by Verso Books; in the German magazine “Rosa Luxembourg” and in the Italian newspapers “La Repubblica” and “Alias – Il Manifesto”. In 2012, her first reportage assigned and her first cover were published in the Italian magazine “L’Espresso”, with an inquiry about the power of Taxi’s lobby during the Italian economic crisis.
Between 2011 and 2013 she has been working about the human search of identity: with this project, named “Asankojo”, she has been selected as finalist for the “Emergentes DST 2012 Award” and the “WinePhoto International Contest 2012”. She has won the scholarship for the “MasterClass 2012” held by Enrico Bossan, head of photography department in Fabrica.
This year, she has been selected in the “New York Portfolio Review”; she was among the shortlist of the “Bourse du Talent Reportage” and of the “Prix Pixpalace-Visas de l’Ani”. “Asankojo” was also nominated as “Honorable Mention” in the “Photographic Museum of Humanity Grant 2013”, and awarded with the first prize of the student category in the “Fotoura International Street Photography Awards 2013”.