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Carlo Traini


Flowing Memories

Flowing Memories is a photographic project inspired by a recent scientific study about brain activity suggesting that life may actually flash before one’s eyes just before dying. As of now, still a work in progress, this project consists of more than one-hundred images, all taken during my business trips.

It seems like the brain doesn’t stop working until a few moments (or minutes) after the heart has stopped, firing up the same neurons that are also reserved to memory recall. This could possibly mean that, when our heart finally stops, a new time begins.

This makes sense to me since, many times in the past, I have heard stories from people witnessing a loved one’s departure who, on the verge of death, started pointing at (beyond?) their feet, presumably at hallucinations of flowering meadows, the blue sea, huge mountains, and so on.

I’ve immediately become most fascinated by this report of after-death body activity especially since I think daily about the hows and whys it might… happen to me.

I think about it during the hundreds of thousands of miles I drive every year, when I’m about to fall asleep, when I’m happy, when I’m somewhere far from home, or when I’m feeling particularly disheartened.

This process of reliving the memories of one’s life in a few seconds during a near-death experience, this “recall of life”, is the leitmotif behind all these images.

With my feet stretched out in front of me (a pose I’ve been practicing since I first started taking pictures in the ’80s), I share my habit of actively recalling some memory of mine, as if it were a flashback.

The pictures in Flowing Memories represent my guess in what I think will flash before one’s own eyes just before their passing. I leave the viewer to speculate on their own for questions such as whether life ends the instant their heart stops beating, or what actually happens in our brain when we die.

Carlo Traini

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