The core of these autobiographical projects is the fact that when people reveal their vulnerability to each other, this can foster an improved sense of mutual understanding, which leads to a feeling of connectedness.
WE EXIST is a collaboration between Spanish artist Cristina Nuñez and a group of students of the Oslo Fotokunstskole trained to use Nuñez’s method The Self-Portrait Experience® through a series of self-portrait workshops aimed to stimulate their creative process. Through training and experimentation, they are invited to develop and expose their personal self-portrait projects as a tool to explore their own inner self, to express their existence and to use the power of their feelings as a therapeutic strategy.
Students have also being taught how to apply the very same method on others, and put it into practice in three Norwegian prisons with the goal of helping inmates to improve their public image by sharing their vulnerabilities and strengths. Indeed, the core of The Self-Portrait Experience® is the fact that when vulnerability is revealed to each other, it can foster an improved sense of mutual understanding, which leads to better interpersonal skills and relationships and feelings of connectedness.
During their training, the young photographers gained an important human experience and learned to use photography as a tool for social activism and social change in a shared space of engagement.
What mattered in the whole process was the social and personal interactivity. Nowadays, indeed, it is agreed by many cultural agents that the artist is like a social worker and the art object is more a documentation of the work rather than an endpoint in itself. This ‘relational aesthetics’ model provides a significant impulsion towards understanding how social forms of intersubjectivity operate and the value of the art project come along the abundance of relational conjunctions it makes participants and visitors develop.