The message I want to convey with my work is the feeling of “modularity”, “interchangeability” that this system of employment gives us. Photography will be the main instrument in this project. Subjects will be young women and men

Why the title “Structurally recyclable. Basically disposable”?

Structurally recyclable: internships are a way into the labor market, the symbol of market flexibility. Structural is also a synonym for “essential”, “basic” and that is what I think is our current perception of internships: a natural, almost compulsory way to enter the labor market for skilled workers. We are expected to be flexible, humble and accept to work for free for a period of time in the hope of getting the foot in the door, hoping to be among the “elected” ones.
Recyclable is an important term nowadays. We pay more and more attention to our consumption, knowing that the kind of items we buy and use directly affect the environment. Recyclable means reusable, an object that can be allocated for further use, whose flexibility is of course seen in a positive way.

We are expected to be flexible, humble and accept to work for free for a period of time in the hope of getting the foot in the door, hoping to be among the “elected” ones.

Basically disposable: basic stands for “of primary importance”.
Disposable is often used as an antonym to “recyclable”, to indicate an object that can only be used once and is to be thrown away. However, there are things that are reusable and disposable at the same time (disposable cameras have a very high recycling rate, paper cups, and other normally disposable objects made of recyclable material are an example).

It is important to try to render the feeling of “not being essential” along with its contradictions: as said before, where the interns can be essential, along with the services they provide, they are not, individually, indispensable. The other thing is, interns are often used as skilled but very cheap labor to cut with labor costs.
But mainly, with the word “disposable” I want to pay tribute to the general feeling of interns of being merely “used and thrown” away.

The association of these four terms, mostly at odds with each other, is also a way to take into account the fact that the phenomenon of internships does not have the same characteristics in all the European countries. Whereas the element of flexibility is always present along with the idea that internships are important, the diffusion of the phenomenon itself and the future after an internship changes a lot, not only from country to country but also from sector to sector.

It is extremely important that one understands how these kind of experiences affect us personally. It causes loss of self-confidence, inevitable feeling of failure towards our families that have supported us through university and the internships. It ultimately becomes, a form of “schizophrenia”, because even hating the system, we are forced to go back to it for fear of a “blank” in our CV. In the end, many tend to reproduce the same social norms which have served to their exploitation.

The subjects

Since the ultimate aim is to give voice to the interns, the project is made for them.
I am currently in a phase of research of the subjects, interns who find themselves in this situation, who have gone through one or more internships.
The subjects come from different European countries. In fact, the internship phenomenon is not only very diverse according to the country (different legal conditions, different level of flexibility of the economy, different statistics), but it is first and foremost a very widespread one.

How to participate

Spread the word

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See the exhibition

Berlin: Go to exhibition’s archive

March 5th to 26th, ACUD Galerie, Veteranenstraße 21 (see ACUD press release). Tuesday to Sunday, 2 to 8 pm.
The exhibition in Berlin is over – thanks to everybody for coming!

Hamburg: Go to exhibition’s archive

April, University of Hamburg – April 16th to 30th, University of Hamburg, Foyer des Unigebäudes VMP8, Fakultät für Erziehungswissenschaft Von-Melle-Park 8. Mondays to Fridays from 7 am to 9.30 pm and on Saturdays from 7 am to 4 pm. The building is closed on Sundays. See the exhbition post and the CampusGrün announcement for more information. The exhibition in Hamburg is over – thanks to everybody for coming!

Naples: Go to exhibition’s archive

May 10th to 31st, Archeologiattiva, via Duomo 228, Napoli.
Mondays to Saturdays, from 10 am to 20 pm.
Vernissage on the 10th of May with readings on the topic of internships by Raffaella R. Ferré, author of “Santa Precaria”. More about the exhibition.
The exhibition in Naples is over – thanks to everybody for coming!

Geneva: Go to exhibition’s archive

June 12th to 18th, University of Geneva, Uni Mail Bd du Pont-d’Arve 40, 1205 Genève; Horaires: lundi au vendredi : 7h30 – 23h; samedi : 7h30 – 17h30; dimanche : fermé. The exhibition is over! Thank you all for coming.