End-of-life, the documentary approach
A thorny issue, that of the end-of-life and more generally of the rights of the patient suffering from degenerative diseases, capable of touching raw nerves in public opinion: in Italy as well as in many other European nations and in Switzerland itself, one of the few countries that admits foreign citizens to the practice of assisted suicide. How to address it and tell the story with all the necessary objectivity, to inform people about a subject that very often is not treated with the clarity and lucidity it would require?
Parallelozero began covering the end-of-life issue in 2012. It did so by starting with the so-called Swiss clinics that offer assisted suicide to both compatriots and foreign nationals, with an in-depth report on Dr. Erika Preisig, a Basel-based physician who is also the founder of one of three nonprofit organizations that carry out this practice on the territory of the Swiss Confederation.
Soon after, the narrative shifts from the doctor to the patient. Thanks to extensive preparatory work, one of the agency’s photojournalists follows step by step the journey of an Italian man who, suffering from a neurodegenerative disease, has been cleared for an assisted death. The patient leaves from a location in southern Italy and, 48 hours later, ends his life in a recliner in a two-room apartment in Basel, where the “clinic” is based, on a spring day in 2013. Assisting him by his side is Dr. Preisig. The narrative takes the form of a photojournalistic report published in major international newspapers.
From that work came a series of lectures, one of the narrative chapters of Destination Hope, a traveling photography exhibition organized by Parallelozero on the theme of the right to health, and, in 2019, the book Su questa pietra (Mondadori), which served to stimulate public debate on the issue and a few months later contributed to the Constitutional Court’s decision that ruled in favor of Marco Cappato, charged with the crime of aiding and abetting suicide in the case of Fabiano Antoniani known as DJ Fabo, while at the same time urging Parliament to revise the law on the matter.
In 2022, when Parliament was only addressing the issue of end-of-life in a partial way, the story of the patient who died in Basel in 2013 became a successful podcast, Ti scorderai di me, which climbed the Spotify charts staying in the Top 10 for many weeks, won the third prize in the Culture category of the Italian Podcast Awards 2023 and – more than a decade after the beginning of our narrative journey – brought the topic back powerfully into the public debate.
Concept and curatorship
Exhibition production and staging
In collaboration with: Paolo Buzzone, Giovanni Savarese, Giulia Bassi, Anna Poli (AudioTales)
Original theme song and music: Sergio De Agostini
An organic approach to communication
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