Great fortunes do not always manifest themselves through the appearance of facades. In Switzerland, unlike elsewhere, most powerful corporations do not seek to look flashy from the passer-by. Their power, though, goes beyond money. Their self-representation in images, though, have strict internal rules that are often attempted to impose to others. When framed randomly, photography plays a controversial role in the jungle of these rules, threatening privacy of people and irritating those responsible for the security.
Photographer Giacomo Bianchetti decided to engage himself into a performance of taking pictures of facade entrances of the Top 20 Swiss corporations. In “Can I?” (2012), he was interested in the relationship between an individual person and legal persons as economic powers, symbolically questioning the companies in the SMI (Swiss Market Index), an ideal classification parameter for assessing economic power in Switzerland.
In traditional photographic terms, these pictures can hardly appeal to anyone. The artwork has two stages. First of all, comes the gesture of confronting a company during the act of photographing that often results in a discussion over property rights, etc. Giacomo photographs the main entrance of headquarters by placing himself in the public domain at its intersection with private property, on the very edge of their territory. His photographic gesture is equivalent to a simple request for information, something that is both commonplace and lawful, with his mere presence inducing reactions that are sometimes surprising or disproportionate, in several instances leading a lawful citizen photographer to an encounter with police.
The work is composed of 20 couples, made of image (above) and a textual sheet (below) that provides an extract of the conversation with a person who questioned the lawfulness of the presence of the photographer and his act of taking pictures.
Ultimately, the work is a way of questioning the balance of power and influence behind Helvetic tranquility, an apparent calm that is based on anonymity and discretion.
Born in 1982 in Locarno, Ticino, Giacomo Bianchetti studied took a number of workshops with well known artists and studied at CEPV (Vevey). Cross Country Show at KAUNAS PHOTO festival is one of his first international participation.
Textual part of the image shown above.