JEST: the project and the book

JEST is a photography project by Ilaria Turba and a book released at the end of 2016 by Peperoni Books, Berlin.

JEST originates from Ilaria Turba’s exploration of her own family photo archive: five generations of images dating from 1870 to today: a brief history of photography through the author’s family archive

JEST – meaning ‘playful act, joke’ – started with the accidental fall of two images: the launch of Apollo 11 and a woman embracing a shotgun. Their association created an unexpected visual paradox.

In JEST, the author photographs and manipulates photography, duplicating and staging images, thus creating a ‘constellation’ that intertwines universal and private stories.

The original prints are the starting point for a visual search that evolves like a game – at times whirling – full of cross references, repetitions, pitfalls and transformations. At the end of it all, it won’t even matter whether what you see is real or not.

JEST is a memory game, playing with imagination, challenging our visual perception and unveiling its deceitfulness; we see what we expect to see and recognize what we already know.

Playing with irony, unpredictability and absurdity, experiencing a new way of seeing and feeling things, JEST aims at re-awakening our ability to look.

JEST becomes a series of ACTS of performance and installation.