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FRANCESCO NONINO
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by Alexandria Ragsdale



What was your perception of Houston before you started this project?
A place somewhere far away, linked to my childhood memories on space missions.

What did you do before to start this project? Did you research Houston or just jump right in?

The curators' suggestions of using second hand clues as firsthand research material, and to focus on new information technologies were very stimulating for me. So I researched the Internet extensively before starting shooting.

How difficult was it to find images that represent a city you've never been to?
It was relatively easy: I immediately got caught by webcams. Webcams are information technology providing real time shots of ordinary places which I think are the real portrait of a place. I like to think that a banal webcam image is extremely familiar to Houston commuters driving past that place every day. I think that the image of home that everyone of us carries inside is of an ordinary place, not of a monument, or of a famous location. It's your street, the store where you go everyday, that damn railroad crossing always closed when you come back from work....

Did your perception of Houston change while you were working on the Never Been to Houston show?
It surely did. Now I feel Houston as a place where I have been, at least with my spirit. This feeling inspired me to combine Houston's real time images with pictures I took during my everyday life.

Do you have plans to visit the city anytime soon?
Sooner or later I'd love to.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about Houston or the show?
Jon Rubin and the Aurora Picture Show people had a great idea. "Never been to..." could be a framework transferable to other places for other similar projects that will never be boring or repetitive.

22 march 2007
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Francesco Nonino was born in 1960 in Udine (Italy)
www.francescononino.com