After 1989: A Trip To Freedom

‘After 1989: A trip to freedom’ is my husband Simone’s debut solo album, and an emotional journey. I documented it with pictures and created two music videos.

While working on his debut solo album, my husband Simone embarked on an emotional journey. He retraced his grandfather’s steps going back to Berlin, where he was imprisoned for four years during World War II.

After 1989 is the story of how a young man escaped Germany in 1945, while his grandson made the other way round, looking for answers that he could only find in 2017.

Simone Silvestroni – Minutes to Midnight

I was beside him all the way, including the visits to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The photos and videos I took were both for private documentation and for the album’s launch.

Before taking different professional paths, Simone and I used to work together, and having a project where to converge our skills was terrific.

The journey

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The videos

Helping with the videos was a challenge. Video production at a professional level is something I’ve never done, and I wanted to keep up with the great storytelling Simone expressed in his songs.

After 1989 is a concept album that follows the journey of discovery of a young man: through the historic events of the Cold War period, he gets in touch with the history of his family.

Simone made great use of famous speeches in his songs, restoring and sinchronizing them with the music: I wanted to replicate that in the videos.

Skinny Kid

The first single of the album tells the story of the grandfather’s imprisonment.

Using Final Cut Pro, I alternated my footage of Simone arriving at Sachsenhausen in 2019 with stock videos and photos. The intent was to render the uncomfortable and unstoppable journey the grandfather probably had before arriving at the camp.

The video is disturbing, like the thought of someone close to you going through an unspeakable experience. The skinny kid loses control, imprisoned in a foreign dictatorial country.

To me, the skinny kid is also Simone, who was only 16 when his grandfather told the story for the first time, leaving everyone speechless.

At the end, we can hear that Berlin has fallen. A few days before, the grandfather managed to escape the camp together with a Soviet inmate. His quest to go back home in Italy had just started.

Love Field

I love all the songs in the album, but Love Field holds a special place in my heart. One reason is because it is musically beautiful, another is because of its story.

The world was shocked to learn that JFK was killed: it’s an event that changed many lives, for years to come. Many times Simone imagined what would be like to be in the shoes of the people involved.

By the time I made this video, I had acquired confidence and proficiency with Final Cut Pro, thus was able create something more sophisticated. Most of the footage comes from the JFK Library, which houses a vast collection of photos, film, audio and documents.

Initially, I used copyrighted material, and was dismayed when I realised that I had to start the work again, from scratch. Luckily, the JKF Library footage is mesmerizing as well as free to use.

What started like a faux pas turned out to be what I needed, to convey the message: it feels more personal, closer to their protagonists, from angles rarely or never previously seen.

The video wants to tell the story from different point of views: the crowd, the Kennedys, the bodyguards, the assassin. And through different moods: joy, fear, confusion, sadness.

After 1989: the CD

Except for the cover and the image on the CD, all other photos are mine.

Conclusions

I loved to contribute to a great project like After 1989. It gave me the opportunity to measure myself with a medium I wasn’t very familiar with – video – while also appreciating how important storytelling is.

Whether it’s music, photography or UX, storytelling plays a crucial role. Without it, what we do doesn’t travel far, as it’s difficult to capture people’s attention and get messages across.

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Contact

✒️ Get in touch for comments, feedback or if you wish to work with me.

About

About Silvia Maggi - UX Designer
Silvia Maggi, UX Designer

I strive to create meaningful, user-centric experiences. A member of the Interaction Design Foundation, I’ve lived and worked in the UK, where I co-founded the web agency UI Farm and worked in many fields, including the energy sector.

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