Western Culture is more and more apprehensive towards child sexual abuse and exploitation and we have recently seen a rapid development of the legislative apparatus. Much of the modern discourse on such a legal topic is based on the social construction of a “protected category”. In what terms children have to be protected is still under question. We can’t go back to the old notion of the child being pure as far as psychoanalysis pinpointed children do have a sexuality, although unfledged. The adult is asked to stand as a guarantor and to prevent the child from expressing his own premature desires. With no exception, the integrity of this fragile virtual space should be preserved. The factual danger occurs in the dialectic between ban and transgression when the keeper betrays his own role. As an outcome, certain forms of behavior towards children are condemned by the moral even when they don’t seem to mine children's security in a direct fashion. So far, the contemporary concept of childhood is built upon a visual experience denial. Any unnecessary encounter with a child outside of an institutional context is to be avoided, and even more it should not be represented.
With “Childhood encounters” I present instead a different scenario, out of the comfort zone of surveillance.
Children are not in the frame, whereas their belongings stand still in the midst of the rooms. By showing at a close distance a pristine territory, namely an empty nursery, I wanted to convey a diverse vision of childhood. The mere presence of a grown-up stranger in the surroundings elicit anxiety. All the more, this happens when the observer realize the stranger is a photographer; one whose activity have bearing upon our privacy; one who silently registers our coordinates. In turn, a new vision is generated, which engages with the dominant discourse by challenging its core norms.
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