Simone Massera

This is the final post exploring the work of the Fiveleveninetynine Collective of London, the creators of the Broken Train and A Royal Wedding.

London based photographer, Simone Massera, was born in Rome and claims that he once walked from coast to coast in Italy (even though it’s a short distance). Prior to pursuing a career in documentary photography, Simone studied sociology, psychology and communication and spent some time working in marketing and advertising. All of these interests have led to exploring “what it is to be a fucking human being.” He is interested in portraying the subjective perceptions of social issues and looking at how online life affects our psyches. Simone received his BA in Communication Sciences and his MA in Marketing and Brand Management at the Università degli studi di Roma, La Sapienza and an MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography, Distinction, London College of Communication. He has exhibited across Europe.

I am not what you see and hear [2011]
Loneliness is not a function of solitude. It’s not about being alone; it’s about feeling alone. Our world is mediated through our individual and always subjective perception of it, giving us the illusion of being the absolute centre of the universe. This makes us feel we are special and unique. With this uniqueness comes a sense of being always lonely. We seek love and acceptance wherever we can find it in order to transcend our loneliness. Filling our lives with online friends and pursuing these kinds of relationships, we often use the superficiality of digital interactions as an anaesthetic against this condition, this existential angst.

I am not what you see and hear is a project about these very connections. The use of the webcam on video chat websites that randomly pair strangers, allowed me to freeze brief moments of waiting and expectation right before the appearance of another new face on the screen. Through the gaze of hundreds of people portrayed on these websites the project aims to give you an imagined access to other selves, in an attempt to provoke reflection and compassion. Looking at these private spaces, these empty rooms, desks and beds, lets you peek into these strangers’ lives, see what they see everyday, imagine their thoughts, their fears and expectations.

This project owes much of its inspiration to the work and truly compassionate vision of life of David Foster Wallace.

Since I believe the experience of a work of art being strongly influenced by the medium we use, I specifically designed the digital output of this project to be viewed on screen.