I "prepared” 7 images taken in 3 operating theatres of southern Italy. The shooting method, as in most of my work, was based on rigorous planning: the shots were made with a large-format camera, attached to a tripod, exactly 5 minutes after the end of surgery and the exit of the patient, and 10 minutes before the nurses put the room in order for the next intervention.
Therefore, in that time frame, there was opportunity for one shot only. It all started at 08:08 on March 21 to finish at 09:00 on 27 March 2009. I had also been waiting for interventions up to 8 hours long.
What did we expect to find at the end of each intervention, me and the "apparatus" with which I would have to situate myself inside the room, without touching anything around me? I had to make decisive choices in terms of time and space.
Operate a simultaneous hand-to-hand fight, between the photographer-machine and the elements of a place similar to a battlefield: with speed, determination and precision, I had to intercept the 'remains' of the hand-to-hand fight between surgeon and patient. A "highlight" of the suspended time of hope: this also was the direction. The result to be achieved: a picture, "devoid" of the human body, where the occurrence developed in a time just before my entry into the scene left a tangible trace of itself without forcedly determining any subsequent progression.
The choice of black and white would avoid any immediate recognition of the elements of easier spectacularity (blood, traces of the combat), avoiding accents that would give another meaning to the work. But I wanted the 7 images, already exhibited and acquired by prestigious foundations, to be part of a book which remains for me the space more compatible to my work.
I did not mean, however, to make it a "photobook".
In photography books, even in the most articulate, there is always a main structure of the story even if it is often split, broken down, resolved with complex references.
"_08: 08 Operating Theatre" instead is a note, composed of ecstatic variations, of 7 images (like the 7 days of our week).
With Antonello Scotti, curator of the design of the book, we decided to take the responsibility to accept this suspension, this not definitive act of reasoning and so not treating this object of thought as any other subject. We determined the book as a "room of thought."
We then built the path with textual breaks that would allow a continual entry and exit from the images and compel the looker of the book to focus on the mix between organic and inorganic (what is the one and what is the other?), to investigate the interior of the stage machine, to recognize the traces of the fight left on the field of battle. But the textual pauses should have been meaningful to the "organized chaos" of the images, to the oxymorons contained in them. We then assimilated to the project a playwriter very dear to me: Antonin Artaud, who had made "inorganicity" and the dialogue with the human despair of being vulnerable the cornerstones of his poetry. Pino Musi