On the outskirts of a rural town in an impoverished area of Palm Beach County, Florida, lies the small community of Miracle Village – home to over 100 sex offenders. Florida legislation requires offenders to live a minimum of 1,000 ft. from any school, bus stop or place where children congregate, yet many municipalities extend this law with local ordinances that increase the distance to 2,500 ft. In reality, this becomes extremely difficult to abide by, and many offenders struggle to find housing and re-establish their lives in society. The village, founded by a church ministry, seeks to help offenders that have no place to go.
The range of crimes committed by the residents varies from serious offenses to consensual teenage relationships that had an age gap. The men are mixed in age, from various ethnic backgrounds, and they are all coming to terms with the permanence of living with this label.
For over a year, Sofia Valiente has immersed herself in Miracle Village, where she has befriended, photographed, and lived among the residents. They have shared mementos from their past life along with their stories of estrangement, solitude and rehabilitation. The isolation and stigma, which cause both a physical and psychological distance from society, was the heart of her curiosity.
In January 2015 a selection of images from Miracle Village is on show in Daniel Blau Gallery, London and in February 2015 the project wins the 1st prize stories, Portraits, of the World Press Photo.
Fabrica is a communication research centre. It is based in Treviso, Italy, and is an integral part of the Benetton Group. Established in 1994 from a vision of Luciano Benetton, Fabrica offers young people from around the world a one-year scholarship, accommodation and a round-trip ticket to Italy, enabling a highly diverse group of researchers. The range of disciplines is equally diverse, including design, visual communication, photography, interaction, video, music and journalism. Fabrica aims to inspire a specific creative category of young “social catalysts” who, at the end of their experience at the centre, will continue their work independently. Today more than ever, Fabrica’s research is a cross-disciplinary commitment wherein communication interacts with other vital sectors like the economy and social and environmental sciences and, through continual experimentation, is alert to the changes and trends of modern society.
FABRICA’S EDITORIAL AREA
Directed by Enrico Bossan, Fabrica’s Editorial Area, investigates social and cultural change through researching. The challenge is to cover the unseen, the forgotten, and the invisible. The area publishes and distributes books, journalistic reportages, photography projects, narrative works, multimedia and video documentaries.
Exhibition curator: Mauro Bedoni
Designer: Gabriele Riva