“In the Pearl of Antilles: in the Drift of the Iris”, critic text by Alberto Zanchetta | eng

…it results that the photographic image - omnivorous mytho/techno-logical process – is located at the apex of the Cyclopic eye. Our culture is obsessed with recordable knowledge and by its diffusion, which then becomes reproduction of the real. For A.M., photography is much more than a simple means of communication. It is an experiential practice. This “communication” is intended to establish a transmission-relation with respect to the world. Thus, it wishes to delineate a direct relationship between the photographer and his medium, and between these two and the people, objects and landscapes represented, until they identify with each other in perfect osmosis.

As much as McLuhan recognized an extension of our perceptive faculties in the medium, the Canadian sociologist recriminated our inability to see ourselves in it, that is, our inability to accept the fact of being capable of belonging to it and it to us. A.M. proves that he has understood this, without minimum reserve. A.M. does not accept to be subjected to the passivity of the snapshot, for which a click of the shutter suffices. Rather he demands the aware participation of all the factors that contribute to the definition of the event. It is this “participatory gaze” which does not permit him to document in a detached manner. The artist’s frame of mind, in fact, does not accept any type of disengagement. Eschewing aesthetic traps, A.M. avoids falling into stereotypes. From the pearl of the Antilles, with untiring willingness, the artist captures the pure and simple joy of the children, the routine of work, the serenity of the people, the calm of daily life. 

In this Cuban reportage, he chases after a “being in/with the world” in first person, in order to interpret it from within and not be obliged to illustrate it from without. What matters in his research, first and foremost, is the conceding to be watched. This, at times, is the key to entering into contact with the subject. It permits the possibility of a face-to-face dialogue – no matter how voiceless – with that round eye - in the definition attributed to Cyclopses - which gazes with famished curiosity and amused complicity. The quiet intrusion into the lives of others is further enriched by another factor, a nomadism that literally goes out to face the world, without ever judging or celebrating it.

From this mobile and humble attitude, an evident shooting skill emerges. Though dependant on luck and valuing contingencies, each photograph holds within itself the rigour and precision of a technique in which the selection and framing always make the difference. The peculiarity of anonymity, just like the randomness of the encounter between subject-context-situation, succeeds in immortalizing the spirit of a nation. Through A.M.’s photographs, we move from one neighbourhood to the next, from one individual to another, and from one to a thousand different situations, discovering contradictions, dreams and hopes, by means of which it becomes possible to delineate a psycho-geographic postcard. They are retinal stimuli that reconnect to the encephalon in order to return to the observer - the quality of - a gaze capable of triggering an amicable process, which then climaxes in empathy.