The Big Issue : Edition 457
26 THEBIGISSUE2–8MAY2014 MODERN TECHNOLOGY HAS made global connectivity a reality. As people everywhere gain access to the same information and material, differences between us all can become less and less. Shared interests connect people across the world. This is particularly true of teenagers, a digital generation immersed in a global network. Olivier Moeckli is a Swiss photojournalist who has become fascinated by this concept. He has embarked on a project to create a photographic series that showcases such a connection between teenagers all over the world. Moeckli says: “I think this generation of teenagers is the first one of a new world dominated by internet, social media and digital technologies. I thought it would be worth documenting. I’m basically trying to see...if the globalisation and instant connectivity can be felt among teenagers – through their style, fashion, hair, tattoos and looks.” His plan is to visit 50 different countries; he has already gone to many in Southeast Asia. Recently he spent 10 days in Melbourne, where he concentrated on areas popular with local teenagers, including skate parks and Federation Square. After Melbourne – where he was assisted (and pictured at work) by local photographer Eric Jong – his plan was to go to Myanmar, then Japan, China and Mongolia. Europe, North and South America and Africa will also be visited as part of his Worldwide Kids project, which started in 2009 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Moeckli became intrigued by an openness to experimentation he sensed in teenagers there. “The beginning of it was extremely personal,” he recalls. “I find teenagers very interesting. They are all about experimenting; not yet pigeonholed in a role the society expects them to play.” He hopes his work will provide a counter-balance to what often seems to be negative depictions of teenagers today. “There are three main pitfalls I am trying to avoid,” Moeckli says. “Journalism, sociology and psychology. I am not trying to do a study, but to open small emotional windows on their world, minds, hopes and also their uncertainties. I hope my photos will not be too literal, but universal and mysterious enough to leave space for everybody to tell their own stories.” He hopes to complete the project by September next year, and his plan is for his photographs to be displayed on an interactive website. This would be an appropriate medium, he argues, as his subjects are completely immersed in a digital world. He also has high hopes for an exhibition and a book. by Kirsty Imms (Twitter @k_imms) See also ericjong.com.au.