“Milan New Mexico” is an ongoing series that explores the phenomenon of North American towns that are named using the borrowed names from other cities of the world. This project uses photography, research and mapping to explore the connection between these new cities, as well as their relationship with preconceived notions concerning their esthetic, North American culture and biculturalism.
As a Canadian-Italian, Bigras-Burrogano interrogates his own sense of belonging and bicultural identity in this body of work. These towns can be seen as a metaphor for the children of immigrants. There is a parallel between how we perceive these individuals and our expectations of these towns. Similarly this project examines how we expect and project certain cultural elements based on their provenance.
Influenced by the works of Joel Sternfield, Alec Soth and Stephen Shore, these images serve as a way to explore North American culture and a sense of longing and nostalgia. Using road trips to produce the images – a definitive symbol of our continental culture – to re-examine our relationship to the land, its architecture and ethos of where we live. How did these hundreds of towns appear all across North America? What connection can be drawn between these cities? How are expectations of specific cultures shaped? How does this play in a broader sense of stereotyping visual cultural identity? How do these images shape our understanding of North American spaces?