Questions On is a video interview format created by C41. Three are the ‘simple’ questions asked to our network friends, partners and creative minds. They tackle the current situation: How do they see their future, what kind of changes do they expect and how they are going to react to this unusual situation that we are living these days?
The thirteenth episode is with Maria Teresa Salvati. Personal branding consultant and C41 Magazine contributor. She helps photographers and creatives to find their own “spot of beauty” and personal vision, advising them on how to build their identity, and communicate via the most appropriate channels.
You can watch the interview on the C41 YouTube channel and also read it below.
1. Future — How do you feel about your future when everything will be back to normal?
So first of all, for me on the work side things haven’t changed much, in the sense that I’ve been working remotely for years as soon as I work with authors and photographers, creatives around the world as well as teaching at UAL in London, so this hasn’t changed anyway. I certainly miss a lot the interaction with students, because it’s a very nice thing and let’s say that the passion and what you exchange in a class is very different from what you can do remotely. But I trust that we will find new ways of interacting with students even during a condition which is a little bizarre and strange as this one happened to us in this fantastic 2020. I think that for a while we should get used to a new normality, but only for a while, and I also think that this forced imposition of having to stay a little far apart made us strongly appreciate the importance of hugs. As human beings, we tend to take many things for granted until we lack them, so now we are learning to communicate with the glance, which is very important, we are learning that an hug is fundamental for an exchange of energy, it is fundamental to somehow hold us also referring to the confusion that can reign during this time, so actually another very important thing that we have learned during this pandemic is that in reality no one is useless in this world. Honestly, through union, through the shared and conscious action of all of us, we can really change things. Now, I don’t know if this can really happen, but I have a lot of faith in the future also on a personal level, on the work side I mean, but regarding trust, trust is not considered as passive but trust as linked to the fact that on a collective level we can become aware that individual actions can have a much greater effect than we thought we could have, instead this pandemic has shown us that in reality we can connect to people all over the world, we can think of collaborating, doing things together, joining forces to really make important changes. Obviously, that is hope.
2. Change — What kind of changes will affect society, work environment and world itself?
Actually I don’t really know, so I’m talking about hope. I am a person who has been working for a long time both on the individual consciousness, therefore my own personal evolution to try to become a better person, and work wise. The work I do with authors and students is that of working on the creative consciousness and to become aware of why at an author level a person produces what he produces. In reality it is also a level of individual awareness, and I think it is fundamental to work on this also in order to counter the unique thought. We need more and more thinking minds, clear minds that have the ability to narrate the world from their point of view, to narrate a possible world, to criticize the existing, to make structural and important changes regarding the society we live in today and that we have seen as almost a slap in the face, to realize how everything is connected, how our being careless about the environment, climate change, everything that happens around us has led us to a kind of rebellion of nature that says “you’ve gone a bit too far”. So if there was an important collective, political communication on the connection of these elements we could hope for an improvement on the course of things. We could hope for some change, but I think that the transition from this to really seeing changes presupposes the work on the individual consciousness, so everyone working on the evolution of the self, on understanding their position in the world, working on emotional intelligence, because they are fundamental elements, from my very modest point of view, it’s the only way, the only hope we have to shape a collective consciousness that can lead to real changes for an improvement of things as we know them today.
3. Reactions — What are your reactions to this essential process of adaptation?
It’s all linked with what I’ve said so far. I am working on my individual conscience for a long time and let’s say that from a personal point of view I think that you can’t think of living detached from everything else. I think it’s fundamental to feel all connected to each other and the others to the world, the world to nature and to the universe, but starting from the own self-awareness, of being connected to the onerself, I think it’s the only way to try to have a slightly better world. Another very important thing in which I strongly believe is the need to collaborate, but not only strategically to realize projects, but just in order to join, to merge visions, to contaminate languages, to honestly work together to change the world as we know it without even having the fear of overturning it. This is quite an important element.
We tend to stay in our own world because it’s the world that we can somehow control and instead I think that this pandemic brought us face to face with a reality that needs to be overturned, and it can only be overturned by overturning our individual beliefs. So just expanding, going further, looking for strong collaborations that can expand the potential and can really change things. That’s what I’m actually doing, I’m doing it on different levels and I really believe in visceral collaborations, the real collaborations that make you expand even on the cerebral level the possibility to really see things differently and in a different way. I would like to conclude this little speech with a passage by Chandra Livia Candiani from the text “Il silenzio è cosa viva” that says: “the receptive awareness opens to life, the escape into distraction is a path of death, who is aware is totally alive, who is distracted is as if he were already dead”.
Featuring: Maria Teresa Salvati @myspotofbeauty
Curated by Riccardo Fantoni Montana, Luca A. Caizzi, Barbara Guieu
Words: Riccardo Fantoni Montana, Stefania Zanetti
Editing: Vittoria Elena Simone
Line production: Alice De Santis
Thanks to: Alessandro De Agostini, Robin Stauder