Exhibition Z2K generation


A photographic exhibition dedicated to those born in the year 2000 (2k), who live in San Marino and are members of Generation Z2K: digital natives, born in the 2.0 era and who are now the focus of the project created by Simone Maria Fiorani on behalf of the Cassa di Risparmio della Repubblica di San Marino. A generation of girls and boys who have grown up intellectually in a “virtual” territory of digital technology and social media; a territory that is shaping a new model of the “World”, with new ways of interacting, communicating and living.

Unlike previous generations, “post-millennials” were born in a historical period of full digital technological expansion and had no experience of what existed previously in terms of technology. The internet, social networks, sharing and on-line platforms are “constitutive” elements for this generation. A specificity that makes them unique: singular individuals who arouse social and cultural curiosity in the eyes of adults.

Simone Maria Fiorani, a photographer born in Rimini in 1965, has made photography his means of expression since the 1990s. Since then, Fiorani’s initial interest in travel photography and landscape documentation has evolved into a focus on photography that pays particular attention to human beings, people and their relationships. It is thanks to his interest in a “special” person, who is very near and dear to him – his son Leonardo, himself born in 2000 – that he began to reflect on this generation. Simone immediately recognised the special nature of these young people and tried to understand their specificities, needs and values in greater depth. Through this project, he wanted to highlight their thoughts and what relationship they have with the ancient land of freedom, San Marino. His analysis is not intended to be exhaustive, but merely a stimulus for vital future investigations.

At this unique and critical juncture in history, it is of fundamental interest to take care of those who will go on to build the society of tomorrow in San Marino; to better understand who they are, how they live, what opinions they have on the “Land” of their birth and which they call home, what aspirations they are building for their future, especially if the socio-cultural conditions in which they find themselves are so different from those of the past. Knowing a little more about this is therefore a civic duty for our community, and the project aims to address this.

GENERATION Z2K is a cultural and artistic project: a photographic project, but much more besides. The exhibition also features the results of discussions with these young people over the past months, so it is not merely a visual survey. Not only photographs, but also thoughts and points of view resulting from a collaboration in which Generation Z2k played a leading role and for which there was also an incentive: each of the young participants received their own photographic portrait. It was a sort of exchange between generations, which was intended to open up this dialogue between them, with the hope that it might be followed up. A dialogue that highlighted who they are, what relationships they have with each other, what they think of San Marino and what they expect from their lives. It was interesting to see whether or not they see San Marino in their future, and in what way.

In total, there are 106 black and white photographic portraits, printed in square format and digitally produced, displayed together with content from the discussions with the young participants. Portraits that intertwine with the “self-reflection” expressed by these young people. Photographs that Fiorani took by looking into the faces of each of them, combining his own stylistic preferences with elements that belong to the social and behavioural habits of this generation. Each face is associated with the place, even if it appears blurred, in the background, so you can only sense that it is the Republic of San Marino. These are local places, both institutional and non-institutional, that Simone imagined would be frequented by these young people. Recognisable places, even if out of focus; related to the person portrayed, on which our gaze rests. As I said, Fiorani chose a square format and to frame the faces of these young people only halfway, vertically; choices that correspond to those that the young people themselves adopt when posting their images on the web. As for the visual language used, the approach chosen is not descriptive, but abstract and series-based; an approach aimed at bringing out not so much the individuality, the personal character of these young people, but a generic collective identity. The individual faces, portrayed in such an expressionless way, also reveal their different somatic forms, although this is not the focus of the work. The work on display at the exhibition is in fact intended to make us reflect on the importance of the social structure that these young people represent for San Marino. For our country, understanding and making the most of their unique characteristics will allow us to optimise the innovation that this new culture brings.

Giovanni Vincenzi