Salviamo la Luna
Save the moon
Cinisello Balsamo (Milano), Italy 2005-2007
"Salviamo la luna" is a manifestation.

As with every artwork Salviamo la luna is a manifestation of an artist. But Salviamo la luna is not a manifestation of one artist alone. It cannot happen without the
people who accepted the invitation to realize a work of art. If you, the public,
had stayed home, if you were too shy to come, perhaps for the first time,to an art museum and to have your portrait taken by young artists, if you were afraid to go into the street for an hour at night with
your portrait and demonstrate alone in
the street, Salviamo la luna could not exist.You made this work possible. Now the first part is over. 2734 portraits have been realized and there will be no more.

So it is true that you also are the artists, the authors of Salviamo la luna. Everybody who walks with his or her portrait out of the museum into the streets of Cinisello Balsamo creates Salviamo la luna. You can walk alone or you can stand still with others, or you can do both. The sun will have set and the night will surround you and with the night comes the time of the moon. You may be alone. For some of you this hour will be long. Perhaps you will only realize later what you are doing, when you have returned from your demonstration to the museum. Once the portraits have been returned to the museum they will be exhibited during the summer. This exhibition will be so big that the museum alone cannot host it. This is the reason, that for the first time, you will find an exhibition of the museum all over the adjacent Villa Ghirlanda.

Thanks to the many contributions this exhibition will be confusing, and you will need some time to find yourself. Do not forget when you visit this exhibition: you are the authors. You will discover yourself in the midst of many other portraits of people from here or elsewhere who wanted to find out what art is like.

How will Salviamo la luna end? Two years have passed since the first invitations were issued and answered. On the last day of the exhibition you will once again be invited to the museum where the photographs will be distributed and the participants will depart with their portraits. They will hang them up on the wall at home. For many it will be the first artwork. It will be their portrait though each participant will receive the portrait of another person. The image they display in their home will be the portrait of a stranger. All of the 2734 portraits will remain in the collection of the Museo de photographia contemporanea. They are on permanent loan from the museum to the authors of Salviamo la luna.

It will be a truly public collection.

Now let us go back to ourselves, here and now, at the beginning of the demonstrations in the streets of Cinisello Balsamo. During the 20th century many people have been engaged in demonstrations. They remember the songs, the marches and slogans. People fought for the institution of a working time, legal holidays, health insurance. They demonstrated for pensions, retirement, justice, equality, freedom of speech, child care, the end of violence and tyranny, for the rule of democracy, here and elsewhere. It sounds so evident if we hear this today. We should not forget how many dreams were needed to make this happen.

I know this is not an ideal world. But why is this the case? What are our contributions? Do we really care about ourselves? Let me ask this: when do we ever speak about ourselves? When do we share with others? When do we dare to manifest ourselves in public? Did we ever go into the streets for ourselves? Salviamo la luna is such a demonstration.

From the very old stories of people, the moon is a companion, friend, witness and mirror of people. Let us continue these stories. Let us save our oldest memories. As long as we care for the moon we look after ourselves. Let us continue our own story, so that our children find life on this earth."

* Save the moon
* Speech of Jochen Gerz to the participants of Salviamo la luna, May 12, 2007

Publication:
- Salviamo la Luna/Save the moon, Electra, Milano 2008 (Italian and English)

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Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea