The “Fourth Freedom” is a reference to the four cornerstones of the European market: the freedom of movement of goods, capitals, services and people. The people portrayed in this project belong to a generation of Italians who were promised wealth and happiness, but have instead found unemployment and despair. I travelled through Europe to meet and interview some of those who have packed up and left. In doing so, I wanted to understand their motivations in making that choice, how this experience changed them and their opinions. As I moved forward in the project, I noticed an unexpected similarity in the stories: the reasons to leave were always the same and even the things to be missed were identical.
As a result, I realised that the fundamental question was how to negotiate between established roots, on the one hand, and the new construction of inter-European identity eased by the facilitation of movement between EU members states, on the other. Given the strength of regional identities in Italy, the question I needed to ask was : “Are you Napolitan, Italian or European?”. Is there any such thing as a European citizen?
My outlook, as that of many of my subjects, is not positive. While, like many of them, I would like to dream of a bright future of integration and wellbeing — whether you stay in your home country or not — I realise that there is a great deal yet to be done. Europe continues to be divided between North and South and, if anything, the current crisis has only made the differences more evident.
Carlotta Cardana is an Italian photographer specialised in portraits and documentary photography. In 2007, after completing a professional photography course in Milan, she travelled to Buenos Aires to document the still lingering consequences of the 2001 crisis. In 2008 she moved to Mexico, where she focused on editorial and commercial photography and started shooting music videos. She is now based in London and develops projects which investigate the issues of identity, belonging and community.