Letters to the moon


“A visual registration of a different, more interesting reality.”

Words by & photos by Carla Castadiva

‘Reality is just as magical as the magical is real’

Ernest Juenger, in Sicilian Letters to the Man on the Moon

There are experiences that most people avoid talking about just because they defy rational explanations or don’t match the established idea of reality. But what is reality and what is so ‘real’ about it?

We can call ‘reality’ that dimension where the laws of physic operate, where there are concrete objects made of matter, mass and gravity. A dimension to which we reference ourselves to, to be able to engage with everyday life, fixing our concentration on activities in the environment we live in.

A reality that we can define as ‘objective’.

However, we can also call ‘reality’ that dimension that transcends gravity, matter and mass, that is subjective and corresponds to the way we experience or perceive events. A reality that is made up of ideas and beliefs that we generate by decoding all the signals that come from the outside, by processing culture, education, memory and emotions. Also a reality that we create when we chase a vision or a dream. It represents and communicates an inner picture of the world that we create, personal but nonetheless valid and the ‘objective’ reality we all refer to.

This duality makes the definition of reality as one single concrete condition a paradox. Reality is indeed a very slippery dimension and to value our own subjective experience is essential not to seek oblivion but to enhance the ordinary, to engage with an everyday that otherwise, with time will be dulled by habit. Somehow the process of creation, of any creation, is what helps to find the balance between the objective and subjective perspective, by conveying into matter the inner vision. This can be the making of a life project, of work of art, or the simply bringing into practice the things we believe in.

So if there is any chimera I am chasing, it is this: a constant long term process of transforming the invisible into visible, questioning this slippery territory between the outside and the inside, the way things are and the way things can be or are perceived through my art practice.

This project ‘Untitled (Chromatic Landscape)’ in a subjective representation of an urban nightscape where, by playing with the wave length by which our eyes recognize ‘object’, I aim to verge into abstraction an ordinary experience of reality.

The project was originally made to record the way my eyes would naturally see things without the use of glasses, this summer, just before going for a laser eye operation that would enable me to see perfectly. I wanted to photograph a sequences of events as I perceived them: blurred, so blurred that all the elements of the picture itself seem as something different. My visions, my inner picture was expressing colours and patterns and music and dots and how the perception of it could creates a whole new reality. A visual registration of a different, more interesting reality. I was obviously aware of what it was in front of me, as we do recognize, thanks to experience, what things are and their function, but I was also aware that everything is a construction made by knowledge, technology, culture, and a process of the thought. I wasn’t interested in that, but the opposite: expressing and conveying a more unexpected interpretation of it, something that could express different emotions. And somehow that was also as real as it was what my eyes would really see.

Once I had my operation done I wouldn’t be able to look at the reality in front of me in that way and this becomes also a reminder for me to keep using my eyes to transcend things.

What seems to be only an illusion or a fantasy or an unrealisable dream is indeed as essential as fire, water, air, and heart are, as it keeps alive the capacity we all have to realise our  desires, questioning what it has been established and imposed upon us and for us. Our hands, our thoughts and hearts should be the tools to create our own reality, bringing the dream of utopia into existence.

Letters to the Moon picture 2 - Carla Castadiva

Letters to the Moon picture 2 - Carla Castadiva


Letters to the Moon - Carla Castadiva

Letters to the Moon - Carla Castadiva


Italian artist based in London working mainly with photography and installation. At the heart of her research is the use of the artistic process as a tool to investigate the invisible part of the experience and the way we process emotions. In touching on these themes she creates an interplay between visual and metaphorical images where personal elements and social elements, exist side by side to create material reminders of the contingency and chaos of life.