New blood (part II)

Benjamin Freedman

Statement about the project: In November 2014 I began a two month residency in northern Iceland where I became interested in the countries unique topographic features. Its low mountains and fascinating geological specimens inspired this sci-fi photo book that is meant to playfully illustrate a fictional story about a lunar phenomenon taking place in a sleepy little town. As a medium that boasts power and authority, photography remains a complex tool that inherently elicits the truth while simultaneously hinting at the possibility of fiction. These images, constructed using rocks found from the surrounding landscape, are playfully rearranged and photographed within the context of a scientifically ambiguous narrative. Like images mined from forgotten archives, the photographs borrow reoccurring elements from space and forensic photography. Collectively, the work creates a mosaic that re-presents situations from a research project performed in a remote town. Weaving together photographs of possible lunar samples, scientific machinery and cosmic landscapes, the book forms an eclectic visual journal of a man and his relationship with the cosmos.

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© Benjamin Freedman, selected works from the project OFORT(Observation of Foreign Objects in a Remote town) More can be seen here.

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Jordanna Kalman

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© Jordanna Kalman, selected works from the project The Hole Sea. More can be seen here.

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Anna Snyder

Statement about the project: ‘Symbiosis’ .

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© Anna Synder, selected works from the projects 1000 Islands (first three photographs) and The Gatherer (last three photographs). More can be seen here.

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Mara Gajic

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© Mara Gajic, selected works from the different projects. More can be seen here.

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Rachelle Bussières

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© Rachelle Bussières, selected works from different years. All unique gelatin silver prints. More can be seen here.

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Imagine you’re a tree

'Platan', from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d)
‘Platan’, from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Cherry Tree' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Cherry Tree’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
Weeping WillowLight box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d)
‘Weeping Willow’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Weeping Willow' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Pollard Willow’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Weeping Willow' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Oak Tree’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Weeping Willow' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Poplar’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).

Temporary Trees is a collaboration between Make a Forest (founded by Joanna van der Zanden and Anne van der Zwaag), Raw Color (design studio by Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach) and Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters‘ studio.

This series was presented during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in 2011.

More about Temporary Trees and Raw Color here.

New blood (part I)

Richard Gosnold

Statement about the project: ‘Voices’ conveys a tale of traumatic events, questioning how the perception of reality, for a mentally ill person, is influenced by past experiences. Based on the theory that we invent reality to suit our emotional state, I have considered how photographs may be viewed, re-contextualized and reconstructed, to fit within a personal narrative. Photographs made during my youth act as a metaphor for the fragility of memories from adolescence, which continue to influence how we perceive reality in adulthood. Found images signify how events, witnessed outside our immediate sphere, find their way into our memories, as if they actually happened to us. These images, contrasted with photographs made recently, suggest that earlier life experiences influence our understanding of the world.

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© Richard Gosnold, selected works from the project Voices. More can be seen here.

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Benedetta Casagrande

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© Benedetta Casagrande, selected works from the project Wet Dream. More can be seen here.

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Samuel Kaye

Statement about the project: ‘Symbiosis’ is an exploration of the relationship between bacteria and the human body. Though invisible to the naked eye these microorganisms make up about 90% of the cells in our body. Bacteria carries out many vital takes without which we would find it much harder to function, from digesting food to protecting our skin. Every image is the result of allowing each subjects own bacteria to grow on, and chemically interact with, their portrait.

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© Samuel Kaye, selected works from the project Symbiosis. More can be seen here.

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Matt Glover

Statement: This body of work explores the space between maturity and immaturity. It is an ongoing documentation of the current situation of a group of teenagers/young adults living in the UK today.

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© Matt Glover, selected works from the project.

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Singto Gauvain

Statement: The Thai phrase for ‘I don’t understand’, is ไม่เข้าใจ (pronounced: mai kao jai). When fragmented into individual words, the phrase literally translates to ‘doesn’t go into heart.’ ‘Doesn’t Go Into Heart’ is a book of photographs compiled from an ever expanding archive by Singto Gauvain. The images range from everyday snapshots to meticulously staged homages. The arrangement of the photographs uses signs and symbols ambiguously. The consequence of Gauvain’s frustration in attempting to accurately communicate concepts has resulted in this body of work. This body of work bases itself on two conditions of contemporary photographic practice (As discussed by Charlotte Cotton and Bjarne Bare in Objectiv #10, ‘Post-Photography’): the culture of dissemination and the failure of information in the field..

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© Singto Gauvain, selected works from the project mai kao jai. More can be seen here.

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⁞ A selection of UK-based emerging photographers to watch (III) ⁞

magowens-1_1© Jill Quigley, Untitled, from the series Cottages of Quigley’s Point.

mcganns_1© Jill Quigley, Untitled, from the series Cottages of Quigley’s Point.

164715-8497154-L_SMITH_06© Oliver Smith, Untitled, from the series Looking for Ghosts.

164715-8497173-5_corrected_2© Oliver Smith, Untitled, from the series Looking for Ghosts.

neurotypical1© Tom Marsh, Untitled, from the series Neurotypicals, 2014.

neurotypical4© Tom Marsh, Untitled, from the series Neurotypicals, 2014.

02© Petra Kubisova, Her Voice, which I know so well.
Installation, archival photograph layered and printed on individual life-size transparent sheets, hanging from the ceiling, 2013.

18_hp1_v3© Shinwook Kim, Untitlted, from The Family Picture, 2014.
Digital Inkjet Print, 100x128cm.

18_hp3© Shinwook Kim, Untitlted, from The Family Picture, 2014.
Digital Inkjet Print, 100x128cm.

point_N_50-25-49_E-05-11-12_D_04-03-13_29-04-13 copy_600© William Arnold, Untitled, from the series Tin-can Firmament. Pinhole.

william-arnold-gorse-chemigram-fuji-fp100c_600© William Arnold, Untitled, from the series The Late Spring. Polaroid.

┐ roots & fruits #15 – Nuno Venâncio └

141_1it reads: We are looking for the sky in between the leafs. Text by Boris.

6913_13it reads: Here, the sun gives us no light, only new shadows. Different ways to face the darkness. Text by Boris.

19217_7it reads: People insist on coming to meet our gaze, invading it. Text by Boris.

2329© Nuno Venâncio, from the series 10 Metros de Cabo/10 Meters of Cable.

Here, easy beauty is eliminated, fulminated, by force, through chock and discontinuity.
Here, there’s no attempt to make sense. We try for symmetry not in the form but in the content – there are casual symmetries in the photographic objects, particularly in those where there is no such deliberation – the irony of everyday events (the symmetry with people is something no one looks out for in the everydayness, except in a staging situation or with some pervert god).
Photographs per se are not symmetrical, there’s no effort to achieve such a valance. In fact, they are askew. The relations between the objects. Everything with its notorious everydayness: each image the start of a journey, coming from a primary need to find out what is around us, in front of us, and grasp it, so that it helps with location, knowing where to go and understanding other places.
There is a constant demand, a quest for something to call our own or something we miss; there is also a searching for a moment, that special visual glimpse, that we can keep before it turns into something else. As if hastily looking for a piece of paper where to hastily scribble in order not to lose a single detail.

Text by Boris, 2013; translation by Sofia Silva.

٠ Christopher Marques: working-through the postmemory trauma ٠

01_chtistophermarques copy04_chtistophermarques copy06_chtistophermarques copy09_chtistophermarques copy27_chtistophermarques copy31_chtistophermarques copy40_chtistophermarques copy44_chtistophermarques copy48_chtistophermarques copy49_chtistophermarques copyall photographs © Christopher Marques, from the project O Álbum/The Album, 2013

Christopher’s work revolves around the quest for identity. It’s a postmodern symptom. The industrialization and the instant access to difference places, languages, faces and times, tends to confuse people. As we grow up, it’s inevitable to go through a phase where we find ourselves being defined by the look of others, by the way we relate to the collective identity. It’s a way to find a social recognition, but as we come to understand later on, nothing is more important that our individual identity and the quest for it can be a life-long journey, very demanding and often overwhelming and consuming.

Christopher is sort of a victim of this malady. He was born in France where he spent the first thirteen years of his life and has been living in Portugal since then. It might not be his case, but changing countries at that age can be a ticket to a more autonomous thinking about identity, given that there’s an immediate split between the notion of “individual identity” and “national identity”, which we all know is a complex and dangerous concept, as both “Portuguese” and “French” can testify for.

This split (or any other able to separate the I from the We) turns the focus of the quest to a more intimate level. Who am I? What features are my own? What will I be? , these are questions that cannot be answered without recognizing and working through the impact of the collective identity, the past, the family heritage and the historical events. But who authenticates all of these? How can we choose from these references, which belong and are of interest and which not?

In this project, Christopher sets out to look for his identity in the midst of long lost family photographs. Yes, we all know the family album, the archive and the digital manipulation of memory related documents is fashionable nowadays and very high rated in the art market, but I’d like to suggest there’s something more authentic (maybe therapeutic, definitely fragile) in the way Christopher engages with the digital brush as he repeatedly erases everyone faces.

I do think the excessive use of archival images says something about the inability of the artist to create something new. On the other hand, I don’t think that is a bad thing. As artists work through their memories, they make space for new things and they prepare for a world of imagination. Everyone needs to get rid of the weight of history, traditions and heritage, in order to be able to fully express their creativity. I see it as a generous gift the fact that Christopher “chooses” to show us the moment of his dwelling.

Marianne Hirsch defines “postmemory” as a connection to the past that “is mediated not by recall but by imaginative investment, projection, and creation.”[i] The fragmented, often fake memories, with which we all grew up, are intensified by a world cemented over an unforgiving visual culture. Instead of the daily-readings, the nightly reading, the weekend and the holiday readings which nurtured an affirmative imagination, we now watch series and movies almost on a daily basis. Without realizing, our individual memories are forced to identify with the collective memory. Instead of working through our personal narratives we build upon our stories, we write new roles for ourselves, roles that fit dramatic plots, where heroic and inhuman characters always succeed.

As Christopher, the narrator, projects his non-identification, we, as viewers, go through the opposite process, since because of all the disappearing faces we easily remember similar moments from our family albums. The non-personalized figures presented in the album manage to be representations of our own family members because their anonymity erases the distance created by the fact that their time and location differs from ours.

Hirsch says something about Christian Boltanski’s work that I’ll here appropriate to describe Christopher’s work: “Each of his works aims not toward particularity but toward anonymity, not toward an individual but toward a collective identity. He often speaks of the effort to erase himself, so as to be able to reach a communal memorial layer, an amalgam of unconscious reminiscences and archetypes through which viewers can supply their own stories as they look at his images.”[ii] However, even though both Christopher and Boltanski were born in France, exactly forty-four years separate them, so the focus on anonymity, putting the collective in front of the particular (the former through erosion, the latter through repetition), has very different references.

On this subject, I want to suggest that Christopher’s erased faces are akin to the use of the Guy Fawkes’ mask by the anonymous movement. They both accomplish the same effect: by erosion or repetition, we are left with a collective identity that gazes us, instead of us being the ones whose gazes undress the individual nature of an identity that is forced to be resumed in a single face.

The non association of A face with A identity (and thus the questioning of the theatricality behind traditional portraiture) is an anti-authoritarian and anti-propriety statement, even if this is a marginal symptom of how important are the roles played by visibility and invisibility in what is made visible. [iii] So I’m left with this question: is it possible that there aren’t a lot of differences between the use of the balaclava, as a way to protest against a superficial and coercive identification by the authoritarian force, and the use of the digital eraser, as a way to work through fictional memories, deny the postmemory and embrace the remembering of “real events”?


[ii] HIRSCH, M. (1996) “Past Lives: Postmemories in Exile”. Poetics Today, Vol. 17, No. 4, Creativity and Exile: European/American Perspectives II, pp.659-686

 

10_chtistophermarques copy© Christopher Marques, from the project O Álbum/The Album, 2013

To see the full “Album” click here. For more of Christopher’s work here.

٠ Sandro Ferreira, memory code: 6174 ٠

portefolio SandroF4© Sandro Ferreira, Não lhe digas para onde vais amanhã (Don’t tell her where you’ll be tomorrow), from the project “6174”
Set of a hundred booklets, with dimensions identical to those with speeches of some dignitaries of the Portuguese dictatorial regime: “Estado Novo”.

portefolio SandroF6© Sandro Ferreira, from the project 6174. The left card reads The useless, the right card reads The miserableportefolio SandroF5A series of 126 “lobby cards”, corresponding to the 126 films that the soldier Manuel Rosa Simões had seen since his arrival in Angola until his departure for the Metropolis. Ironically, the first film was “Les Miserables” and the last “The Useless”, setting the tone…

From 1961 to 1974, Portugal became involved in a war in its colonies, a war of subversive naturesubversive war is a war conducted within a territory by part of the inhabitants of that territory against the authority in it established, aided and reinforced or not from the outside, and in order to withdraw that authoritarian control, performing a transformation more or less wide. in Military Newsletter No. 15, Military Region Angola, August 15, 1962

Much of the research/exploration of this event converges to the advances and retreats, political questions, numbers, guilty and innocent people. The true human/animal/social essence of the event is confined to fiction literature and some published journals, often revised. Moving away from the issues widely teased I try to penetrate the internal memory of the war’s day-to-day of a generation that lived haunted with the fear of leaving for a country distant of their roots, risking their lives. In exploring these memories I gather a number of factors and situations that made the day-to-day of the oversea soldier, some did erase memories of home, others did revive memories (aerograms cinema, alcohol and sex).

The memories of war veterans, after so many years, can be divided into two branches, namely, the memories that fade away naturally with time and memories that need to be deleted. The work presented here lives in both branches of the forgotten or erased memory.” Sandro’s statement

The video tells the story of a soldier that was ambushed in Angola, while carrying the “Practical Handbook of Radio and Television” in his pants pocket. Trying to jump off the car he was ridding in, he got shot in one leg. One of the bullets hit and went through his leg and another bullet hit the book and was lodged inside it. Playing with the question of the impossibility to repeat events such as those in the context of war, I tried to recreate the situation of the bullet lodged inside the book. As the way we retell our memories is never the same, also the bullets that were lodged in the replica penetrated by different sites.

portefolio SandroF2© Sandro Ferreira, 7.65 Practical Handbook of Radio and Television, Edition of 8 books, 466 pages, with a bullet inside, 2011, from the project “6174”

portefolio SandroF1© Sandro Ferreira, Carta de Portugal Insular e Ultramarino de 1962, jogo

portefolio SandroF 4© Sandro Ferreira, Antecipação de um regresso a casa (Coming home earlier), from the project “6174”

Sandro was recently chosen for the EDP emerging artists’ award, in Portugal. He will be exhibiting new work, latter on this year, in Oporto.

┐ roots & fruits #14 – Nádia Ribeiro └

12cartas_04-camarapinhole12cartas_0212cartas_1212cartas_01© Nádia Ribeiro, 12 Letters, 2009
Pinhole gelatine silver prints (12 positives + 12 negatives), envelopes + photometric calculus

In An Archival Impulse, Hal Foster speaks about such impulse as a self-sufficient tendency. The archival impulse is, in fact, a sort of mutation of the repetition compulsion, a way to deal with memory through actions or, should I say, a way to escape memories through actions…

This impulse allows one to blend allegory with fiction and can take different forms, such as photo-montages, installations, notebooks, time-capsules, shadow-boxes, etc. The soul of the contemporary hunter-gatherer has its roots on the figure of the librarian and manifests itself through rigorous lists and catalogs. Whatever the approach may be, these tend to aim for one of two things: either the desire to retell an history by gleaning the necessary elements for the telling of the history and the visual account of such fragmented memory; either the intent to build, from scratch, a fictional object that alludes to the real life of the chosen documents, hoping that by putting them all together they can regain their historical significance and pave their way into our collective cultural memory.

Nádia’s projects, however different their starting points may be, tend to be “haunted” by repetition, by a finite limit of the material they imprint themselves in, by an obsession with abstract linearity. This sequence of things depicted stands for the lack of memories, so her pinhole-suitcase and her modern herbarium come from a place of struggle with the immediacy of seeing, living, remembering and reproducing.

It’s curious that obsessions, in all their different takes, tend to be materialized in a whole formal way of expression which we start recognizing soon after we first encounter it, because of its traces of systematization, organization, repetition, composition and hipper-estetization (the working in series type of). Madness has as much randomness has anarchy as of disorder…

text by Sofia Silva

herbario_00herbario_01herbario_painel-metodologia© Nádia Ribeiro, Herbarium, 2009
Gelatine silver prints (56 photograms); box, positive + leaf

More of Nádia’s work can be seen here

┐ roots & fruits #13 – Ricardo Baltazar └

essen 048essen 049Untitled (4)_1essen 027essen 030© Ricardo Baltazer, all Untitled, from the series Touching from a Distance, 2012

Ricardo’s project Touching from a Distance was shot in Essen, Germany, in 2012. All images are blow-ups of snapshots he took while paving the streets. Inevitably, they refer to the distance between the author and the subject portrayed, as they speak about the desire to get closer. These blow-ups are attempted gazes, attempts at assuring the account of oneself while trying to look at his surroundings. They are as much voyeuristic as they are introspective, in the sense that what one does while looking desperately out, is trying for a way in.

The camera, as an automaton one can trigger to mediate the space between the self and the other, is always a transparent and potentially authentic way of speaking about the way the author is trying to connect. To view the world through a camera is not to connect with it. Either you are in an impulsive rational process of trying to see beyond reality or you choose to try to be in the present. So this is about the process less than it is about the result. The framing, the composition, the colors, are singular points amidst an abstract composition where the lines are created between people’s gazes.

We know what blow-ups looks like, how they all resemble surveillance stills and evoke the invasion of privacy. I’d like to reference Michael Haneke’s Caché about the contemporary obsession with security which comes to be a way of spreading the false notion of power and control over one’s life. What Ricardo exposes here is the opposite, the notion of fragility, as he lets us know of his state of exception, as a foreigner, behaving as an alien who is forced to document his life through the looks of others, in order to prove his existence.

┐ Mark Peckmezian’s youth on “youth” └

stream6_07© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled,

Mark Peckmezian Two Day 46© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, chromogenic print

Mark Peckmezian Two Day 18>© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, fiber gelatin silver print

4776579979_b60b1cc73d_b>© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, @ G20, fiber gelatin silver print

5210098664_1c789b9e41_z© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, fiber gelatin silver print

“I was thinking that the “straight” or naive approach to the theme would be to just play to popular conceptions or idealizations of youth — and I certainly have photos that do that. I used to make a lot of work like this. But in the past few years, I don’t know….I don’t really buy it anymore, I guess. I think a lot of what we see in such photos, by myself or others, is to some degree performance: all these kids, my peers, are hyper self-conscious and incredibly media-savvy. All too often I’ll be out shooting snapshots and hear someone whisper that the photo just taken of them would make a good Facebook profile pic, or some such comment. Once I heard someone, who was running around with some friends on an golf course at night, shout out “why isn’t this being photographed?!”

I think that I now try to approach this subject in a more clear-eyed and honest way — showing the good and bad, wonderful and absurd. I have started an informal project to document this culture more critically (I think there is so much vanity and superficiality among this generation) but also, if I am to actually transcend that at all, with more empathy as well (not pretending that the vanity undermines all the good that also exists, and also understanding that vanity as something woefully, and sort of beautifully, human). The photo of the “kids in the grass” plays to this (Heather says: come to the show to see what image he’s referring to…) – I love that you said “kids,” that’s exactly what I was going for, I wanted to render them (these over-the-top hipster friends of mine, these peacocks, so highly decorated) as children playing in grass, stripped of their affect, innocent.

Finding a good balance is hard though, because I still want to document it relatively straight. I think I’m still working out the kinks, refining my understanding and expression. It’s been a big undercurrent in my work these past few years, I’m sort of on a mission to do this right.” via HMAb

More of Mark’s work here

┐ Vilma Pimenoff └

© Vilma Pimenoff, Untitled (figures-left + beings-right), from The Dark Collection

© Vilma Pimenoff, Untitled (beings), from The Dark Collection

© Vilma Pimenoff, Untitled, from the series Demoiselles de Paris

“Pierce called indexical the process of signification (semiosis) in which the signifier is bound to the referent not by a social convention ( = “symbol”), not necessarily by some similarity ( = “icon”), but by an actual contiguity or connection in the world: the lightning is the index of the storm. In this sense, film and photography are close to each other, both are prints of real objects, prints left on a special surface by a combination of light and chemical action. This indexicality, of course, leaves room for iconic aspects, as the chemical image often looks like the object (Pierce considered photography as an index and an icon). It leaves much room for symbolic aspects as well, such as the more or less codified patterns of treatment of the image (framing, lighting, and so forth) and of choice or organization of its contents. What is indexical is the mode of production itself, the principle of the taking. And at this point, after all, a film is only a series of photographs. But it is more precisely a series with supplementary components as well, so that the unfolding as such tends to become more important than the link of each image with its referent.

(…)
Photography has a third character in common with death: the snapshot, like death, is an instantaneous abduction of the object out of the world into another world, into another kind of time-unlike cinema which replaces the object, after the act of appropriation, in an unfolding time similar to that of life. The photographic take is immediate and definitive, like death and like the constitution of the fetish in the unconscious, fixed by a glance in childhood, unchanged and always active later. Photography is a cut inside the referent, it cuts off a piece of it, a fragment, a part object, for a long immobile travel of no return. Dubois remarks that with each photograph, a tiny piece of time brutally and forever escapes its ordinary fate, and thus is protected against its own loss. I will add that in life, and to some extent in film, one piece of time is indefinitely pushed backwards by the next: this is what we call “forgetting.” The fetish, too, means both loss (symbolic castration) and protection against loss. Peter Wollen states this in an apt simile: photography preserves fragments of the past “like flies in amber.”6 Not by chance, the photographic act (or acting, who knows?) has been frequently compared with shooting, and the camera with a gun.”

excerpt from the article Photography and Fetish, by Christian Metz, published in October, Vol. 34 (Autumn, 1985), pp. 81-90

more of Vilma‘s work here

┐ Will Jennings └

© Will Jennings, Untitled, from the series Tumbling Blocks, 2011

“As an intuitive response to the sudden death of my mother last summer I walked down the Suffolk coast, reconsidering the landscape of my childhood through the eyes of an adult, mourner and artist.


Concrete cubes sporadically emerged along the route, sole man-made interjections in a landscape of permanent flux. As I walked through fog they offered perspective, their staccato rhythm implied passing time, their angular form suggested a grid and attempted rationalisation of chaotic, uncontrollable nature.


I read the cubes as monolithic stelae. Blank vessels into which I store memories, emotions and idea – vessels as fallible as both body and mind, also falling prey to the forces of nature and time.” Will‘s statement

more of Will’s work here

┐ Jacinda Russell └

© Jacinda Russell, Strange Artifacts: A Photographic and Found Object @ J. Crist Gallery, installation view + details, Idaho, 2007
The wunderkammer or “room of wonder” draws heavily upon 16th century European cabinets of curiosity. I combined digital photography with found object sculpture by printing on canvas and encasing the images in weathered boxes, suitcases, drawers, and crates. Objects like false teeth, steering wheels, anonymous sculptures of naked bandits, jars of paint chips, sculpted cotton, and skull necklaces form the installation. All 50 of the objects are influential in defining my childhood and adult years, the various places I have called home, and the things that I carry with me, not yet willing to let go.

© Jacinda Russell, Residue (left) + Hoard (right), from Dark Mass, 2000

© Jacinda Russell, Detritus, 2000

Thus began the conscious decision to gather large quantities of objects, often undesirable items, placed in dilapidated environments and old containers. In Dark Mass, I want to visually portray the fine line between serious collecting and obsessing over a collection to the point where it controls one’s life. I search for the atypical, whether it is the accumulation of the article itself (hairnets, fingernails, and shredded books are not what one would hoard as precious objects), its placement (bicycles resting on their sides, photographs standing at attention, upside down doll feet), or its environment (globes and birdcages piled at the foot of a ladder leading nowhere). Most of the objects are fragile, poised to disintegrate into their surroundings.

© Jacinda Russell, Amass, 2000

Growing up in a house with 225 balloon-tire bicycles, thousands of bottles, telephone pole insulators, soda paraphernalia, rooms filled with cardboard boxes, golden age comic books, trunks of advertising material and endless amounts of artwork, I was convinced to live a life with minimal possessions. Suddenly the realization that I was collecting (never mind the fact that the object in question was trash) was unsettling.

For my 1999 installation, Fear of Schizophrenia, I collected nearly two thousand cigarette packs to understand my great-aunt’s obsessive behavior and paranoid schizophrenia. She collected paper, wrapping her possessions in Kleenex and storing them in sacks. She smoked incessantly, saving the foil of the cigarette pack to use as stationery and the cellophane as wallets. These filthy packages were an important feature of the installation. One year after reinstalling the exhibition and unable to depart from the packs, I kept them boxed in the backyard storage shed, elevated to keep the rain from seeping through the cardboard.

more of Jacinda‘s work here

┐ Chris Toalson └

© Chris Toalson, Penguins, from the series Dioramas, 2007

© Chris Toalson, Mourning Doves, from the series Dioramas, 2007

© Chris Toalson, Alaskan Brown Bear, from the series Simulations, 2008

“My photographic thesis, True West, calls into question the seeming American fascination with the American West. The current state of the West is one where history has become intertwined with myth, where each influences the other, and where more often than not, myth prevails. This thesis is an attempt to understand how we interpret history when authenticity is difficult to distinguish from fabrication. In doing so, my work is meant to encourage a refocus toward a more factual history. My photographs question authenticity, and ask where we draw the line between myth and fact. Throughout the development of this body of work, I’ve become extremely interested in the ways that the myth of the West presents itself as the tourist’s destination, the artist’s canvas, the cigarette company’s advertising campaign, and the filmmaker’s plotline and in doing so become reality.


The photographs in True West are images of images. Rather than depict majestic landscapes impacted by human development, as some of the New Topographics era of photographers so clearly laid out, or the West’s variety of interesting characters, as in Richard Avedon’s In the American West, I’ve utilized photography’s ability as a representational tool to record and re-present already existing representations of western myth. Each image serves as a metaphor for the representation of myth, and in turn, the misrepresentation of truth occurring both within and beyond the lens. excerpt of Chris’ thesis True West that can be accessed here

More of Chris‘ work here

┐ roots & fruits #12 – Gonçalo Figueiredo └

© Gonçalo Figueiredo, Lourenço

© Gonçalo Figueiredo, Rita Tavares (left) and Lara Brandão (right), from the series The Protest, 12/2009

© Gonçalo Figueiredo, Ricardo Baltazar (left) and Gonçalo Figueiredo (right), from the series The Protest, 12/2009

These portraits are part of a series made back in the Winter of 2009 and it depicts a group of students from the Photography Department to which Gonçalo also was part, both as a technitian and as a student. In December, confronted with the lack of conditions and materials the course lacked to offer, they decided to camp at school and endure a silent and peaceful protest until they were heard.

“Let us now consider the time exposure, of which the photo-portrait is a concrete instance. Whether of a live or dead person, the portrait is funerary in nature, a monument. Acting as a reminder of times that have died away, it sets up landmarks of the past. This means it reverses the paradox of the snapshot, series to series. Whereas the snapshot refers to the fluency of time without conveying it, the time exposure petrifies the time of the referent and denotes it as departed. Reciprocally, whereas the former freezes the superficial time of the image, the latter releases it. It liberates an autonomous and recurrent temporality, which is the time of remembrance. While the portrait as Denkmal, monument, points to a state in a life that is gone forever, it also offers itself as the possibility of staging that life again and again in memory.


An asymmetrical reciprocity joins the snapshot to the time exposure: whereas the snapshot stole a life it could not return, the time exposure expresses a life that it never received. The time exposure doesn’t refer to life as process, evolution, diachrony, as does the snapshot. It deals with an imaginary life that is autonomous, discontinuous, and reversible, because this life has no location other than the surface of the photograph. By the same token it doesn’t frame that kind of surface-death characteristic of the snapshot, which is the shock of time splitting into not anymore and not yet. It refers to death as the state of what has been: the fixity and defection of time, its absolute zero.

(…)

Time exposure implies the antithesis of trauma. Far from blocking speech, it welcomes it openly. Only in time exposure (portrait, landscape, still life, etc.) may photography appear with the continuity of nature. The portrait, for example, may look awkward, but not artificial, as would be the case of a snapshot of an athlete caught in the midst of a jump. When continuity and nature are perceived, speech is apt to body forth that perception in the form of a narrative that meshes the imaginary with the symbolic and organizes our mediation with reality.

The word now, used to describe the kind of temporality involved in time exposures, doesn’t refer to actual time, since it is abstracted from its natural link with here: hic et nunc. It is to be understood as a pause in time, charged with a potential actualization, which will eventually be carried out by speech (or memory as interior speech), and is most probably rooted in the time-consuming act of looking.” excerpt from the article Time Exposure and Snapshot: The Photograph as Paradox, by Thierry de Duve, published in October, Vol. 5, Photography (Summer, 1978), pp. 113-125

More of Gonçalo’s work here

┐ Wojtek Sasiela └

© Wojtek Sasiela, Monster Tree, from the series Eden

© Wojtek Sasiela, Untitled, from the series Eden

© Wojtek Sasiela, Untitled, from the series Eden

© Wojtek Sasiela, Gorton, from the series Eden

more of his work here

┐ roots & fruits #11 – Tiago Casanova └

© Tiago Casanova, all Untitled, from the project The Unknown Island

“The airplane begins to descend. Madeira is down there. From far we can understand the feeling that the fifteenth century discoverers had when they saw Madeira (= Wood) for the first time, and from there we can easily guess the origin of the name. An intensive tropical vegetation fills and covers the island of green, but I cannot help but noticing the various urban clusters, scattered houses, roads and highways and the megalomaniac construction of the new airport. The constructed confronts the natural on a dual mode. Large scars are open, but the consummation of the act makes the built elements part of the landscape. This new landscape causes both fascination and disbelief and it is as beautiful as ugly. (…)”

09/11/11 – (1st Day) – *Excerpt and Polaroids from my Travel Diary do Madeira Island

To see more of Tiago‘s work go here

┐ roots & fruits #10 – Cláudio Ferreira └

© Cláudio Ferreira, all Untitled, from the series Space Project nº 1 – Galaxies, 2012

“And yet, the absence of the subject does not have to be interpreted as a deficiency. Quite the opposite, it could indicate a new quality in the revolution, in a henceforth molecular revolution, and the primacy of multiplicity within it. When the subject is missing, it has not just gone amiss, as a gap (still) gaping and begging to get closed. In view of the composition of the molecular revolution there is no need for unification, or for the representation of a unified (class) subject by leaders, party and vanguard. The rejection of the primacy of the class, or of a specific class (be it the proletariat, or a middle-class threatened by decline) does not in any way imply tuning out the hierarchizing differentiation that takes place more radically than ever in current capitalist production. Differential capitalism striates the differences, hierarchizes and valorizes them. And yet molecular multiplicity raises no hopes in any of the imaginings of resistance against this machinic-differentiating capitalism that undertake to homogenize and totalize differences. Even in their negative manifestation there is no way back ahead of multiplicity, but only its dis/continuous unfolding.

But even the subject, the one, the whole, where it is no longer absent, is not the consequence of a process of collecting, forming, unifying the many, the singular, the dispersed, to be composed into a molar block. It does not follow a logic of addition, but one of subtraction. It must first be extracted from the uncountable multiplicity, detached, dis-counted in order to be one. The one emerges only when the logic of counting, classifying and identifying lays its grids on the multiplicity; when the uncountable is domesticated in the process of counting.

The subject can appear only through subtraction from the multiple.”

excerpt from Making Multiplicity: A Philosophical Manifesto, by Gerald Raunig. continue reading here

More of Cláudio‘s work here

┐ roots & fruits #9 – Miguel Godinho └

© Miguel Godinho, Untitled, from the series Esta é a minha família (This is my family), 2011

© Miguel Godinho, 38 years old (left) + 40 years old (right), from the series 16-06-1950, 2008

© Miguel Godinho, Untitled, from the series Family, 2005

© Miguel Godinho, Untitled (left + right), from the series Entre nós (Amongst us), 2010

Miguel Godinho’s (b. 1984) photography is not easy to describe, not because it is abstract, overly conceptualized or devoided of content, but because it is simple (albeit symbolic) and unpretentious.

Miguel’s body of work fluctuates between intimate moments and a sterile portrait (in the composition) of the world around him. The domestic scenes reveal some kind of obsession with the question of identity, dependent on family history and memory. On the other hand, the outdoor photographs accentuate the distance between nature/landscape and an environment built/invaded by man.

While the images vary from landscapes, portraits and still life, the empty spaces within the narrative allow us not only to understand the author’s personal journey as well as how it forms part of a sociological portrait of his country and its culture.

More of Miguel’s work here

┐ roots & fruits #8 – Diogo Simões └

© Diogo Simões, Untitled, from the series Miratejo

© Diogo Simões, Untitled, from the series Miratejo

© Diogo Simões, Untitled, from the series Miratejo

© Diogo Simões, Untitled, from the series Miratejo

Influenced by current-events (this is a circumstantial analogy) Diogo’s (b.1988, Miratejo, PT) photographs remind me of a kind of portrait of youth that makes me think of Gus van Sant’s universe. If I had seen this series a few months ago I would probably relate it to projects within the realm of the medium itself and think about the meaning of portrait and nostalgia in the history of photography.
Besides Gus van Sant’s Gerry and Elephant, I think of Mathieu Kassovitz’s works La Haine and Assassin(s). Then I’m reminded of a bunch of texts I read last year about riots in France and in the UK and I reread a few . Somehow the associations are too subjective to be treated slightly and I give up. Now I’m looking at these pictures again and I keep thinking youth, nostalgia, ambiguity, inconsequence, insurrection and rebellion. There’s a sense of coolness and fatalism in the air and that’s what brings me back to the suspended effect a film still can have when it hangs over your head.
Finally, these associations lead me to the text that follows and hopefully it will all make sense:

“Elephant depicts a world untethered from certainties and authority, and in this way it can be seen to reflect postmodern anxieties. Slavoj Zizek’s comment offers a relevant critical perspective. The quote cited at the beginning of this essay [below], taken from an interview at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2001, is Zizek’s response to a question about his concept of “foreclosure”: the idea that contemporary society prohibits a real articulation of the subject.

[…] precisely because the universe in which we live is somehow a universe of dead conventions and artificiality, the only authentic real experience must be some extremely violent, shattering experience. And this we experience as a sense that now we are back in real life.

According to Zizek (and philosopher Alain Badiou, from whom he borrows the French term), the “foreclosure” of the subject has an inevitable flip-side: “la passion du reel” or “the passion of the real”. Elephant demonstrates some of the implications of Zizek’s notion, and through its poetic strategies affords the viewer an opportunity to piece together some of the elements in the bigger picture. We might regard the killers Alex and Eric as embodying the disenfranchisement that many teens (and not just in the US) feel. Viewing their apparently left-field violence in this context reveals a failure within society to deliver a secure place for their emerging sense of identity.

In the same interview, Zizek compares the idea of foreclosure and its implications with the Nietzchean opposition of active and passive nihilism. He describes passive nihilism as that state of apathy resulting from “living a stupid self-satisfied life without great passions”, which invokes the opposite form of conscious self-destruction. Zizek argues that freedom in contemporary society is devoid of the more “radical dimension” of true democracy, existing instead as the watered-down freedom to choose lifestyle. Zizek also sees in the pervasiveness of virtual realities (such as the Internet) a further disconnection from authentic experience.

In Elephant we can roughly align the characters according to the idea of active and passive nihilism. The adult characters present varying forms of apathy or disconnection; their lifestyles – particularly Alex’s parents, as revealed through the lifeless atmosphere of the family home – suggest an arrival at an unquestioned comfort zone, or passive nihilism. We see Alex and Eric attempting to break out of their transparent, but nonetheless prescribed realities: a bid for active nihilism.”

excerpt of Neera Scott’s Sublime Anarchy in Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, in Senses of Cinema.continue reading here

Diogo’s website (currently under construction) is here