YOX photography

Andrea Merli

Inside Out

Inside Out

What if boundaries could establish links among people, rather than pulling them apart?


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Inside Out looks into this paradox. Whoever we are, wherever we are, we confront ourselves with the human experience of limits. Limits are very different in their nature, indeed, but still they participate in a shared background of the human condition.



My open hands touch invisible walls. They challenge the barriers affecting my life.

Here, you seem to break through the glass with powerful confidence. There, he looks at the ground in search of a track. Another one digs into memories which won’t fade away. She screams, she stares. He doesn’t know what’s coming up next. But hopes.

Our backgrounds are different, and so are experiences. Perceptions may vary as problems may change, across places and moments in life. But facing high barriers, whatever their nature, is not open to choice. Touching the wall prompts tangible contacts with intangible limits.

Here, in the occupied Palestinian territory, barriers are plenty. They look very solid, made as they are of metal and concrete. But physical obstacles to physical movements are few of the roadblocks we face in our walks.

Barriers take innumerable forms. Young men and women meet with all kinds: some stand up right ahead, some grow inside, some are built all around. Some, sometimes, are dismantled and fall into rubble.

Barriers may last a day in a checkpoint, a month in a bed, a year in a cell, a minute in a phone call, an entire life in a tidy office, a refugee camp or a silent room. Certain barriers divide for a while, others unite forever. Barriers are borders, fears, doubts, pressures, ambitions, languages, prejudices, powers, expectations, worries, traditions, permits, limits, memories. It happens, at times, that some can be overcome. But not avoided, even there where barriers seem not to belong: imagination.

Inside Out aims at capturing the ways I relate to my barriers, at this very point in my space and my time. Ask me not what exactly is my barrier. What matters is nothing but my inner awareness. It’s me and my wall, clear to the eyes of my conscience alone. I can call it by name, I can leave my fingerprints on its surface, I can see what’s beyond, at times. But if I’m ever to move from this spot, I must deal with my wall. Perhaps it’s the same as yours, perhaps it’s mine alone.

Here, in the midst of the most fragmented land, whatever the case, I know we’re all with our hands stretched out in search of our crack in the wall.

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Supported by Bethlehem University, DAAD, AGEH and VIS, between 2008 and 2009 Inside Out was exhibited in Bethlehem, Koeln and Rome. I wish to extend my special thanks to Inge Tiemann for having turned an idea into an international project, pushing our limits a little further.

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