Archives for posts with tag: photography

My interest in what we can and can’t see in our environment led me to think about the substance of matter.

1601 sphere

At the Shadow without Object symposium the idea of a dematerialized world and how we record it was raised in Duncan Wooldridge’s paper Some Notes on a New Realism: Relocating Representation in the Technical Image. Once when we learnt to negotiate our relationship with the world visibility equalled presence. When representing the world it was with graphite, paint, film and emulsions that were all material objects. Now the world has dematerialized. The digital image is not made or transposed in the same way. This opens up other ways of visualising the world. To visualise through transformation.

We can tap into new technologies to see things that previously were obscured from us.

1601 Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen

STSS-1 and Two Unidentified Spacecraft over Carson City (Space Tracking and Surveillance System; USA 205) C-Print

Trevor Paglen’s The Other Night Sky is a project to collect evidence of classified American satellites, space debris, and other obscure objects in orbit around the earth with the help of an international network of amateur satellite observers. The position and timing of overhead transits are calculated, observed and photographed with telescopes and large-format cameras and other imaging devices.

For what we can see we are dependent on photons bouncing off some matter and hitting a receptor, in our eyes or in our equipment. For what we can’t see we rely on recording some disruption in the path of those photons.

Erik Kessels work is a reminder of how dependent we are on the technical abilities of our eyes or equipment. In almost every picture #9 is a collection of found photographs of one family’s endearing attempts to photograph the family pet, a black Alsatian. Their camera’s limitations meant that the dog always appeared as a black featureless shape.

As technology advances we are able to record more accurately. But we still find instabilities, no process is error free.

Matter refuses to be reliable. Giacomo Raffaelli has been researching how weights and measures are standardised across the globe and presented his discoveries in a paper Non-standard Uncertainties: Experiments in Current Visual Conditions of the Kilogram Standards.

1601 Standard kg

In the late 1800’s identical cylinders were manufactured from Platinum Iridium and stored across the world encapsulated under three bell jars. These were to act as standard units of mass. Britain holds model no 18. Periodically these units are tested for mass and compared with those stored in other countries. Some have been found to be gaining mass at different rates to others. This is fascinating to think these sealed solid objects have all this activity going on that can’t be seen but becomes evident when measured. In response to this discovery the National Physical Laboratory is doing research to redefine the kilogram as a standard number of atoms.

Within their laboratories NPL hold a polished silicon crystal sphere – the most perfect sphere on earth.  Raffaelli wanted to relocate this seductive object from the laboratory where it functioned simply as a measure. The only way he would be allowed to achieve this reimagining would be via an image. First he tried green screen, then 3D imaging, then an optical scanner, then a nautical scanner in the dark and finally a laser scanner that detects points of volume but none of these technologies could capture the sphere.

1601 shadow without object

Giacomo Raffaelli With Relative Uncertainty

Hand crafted and hand polished to perfection this crystal ball completely resisted the process of digitization.

Reporters from The Londonist website had a similar problem ;

1601 John Dee at British Museum

John Dee’s mystical artefacts at the British Museum

At the front of the picture above, you can see Dee’s crystal ball. We tried several times to take a close-up shot, but neither of our cameras could get a sharp fix. It is obviously haunted.

The ability to focus is something Marco Maggi encourages in his installation Global Myopia II.  The ability to see from very close allows one to focus on what at a distant glance may be missed. At first the room might look empty.

1601 Uruguay (2)

Marco Maggi

Close up, a world in miniature appears in the form of grids and geometric shapes like paper circuitry which can read as encoded information, routes of transmission, architectural plans or space age archaeological sites.

1601 Uruguay (1)

Marco Maggi

Joseph Cornell was able to poetically record places he never visited. He was a collector of journeys captured in little boxes. I was very inspired by the Wanderlust exhibition at the Royal Academy having always been keen on small worlds to peer into.

1601 Jospeh Cornell A Parrot For Juan Gris

Joseph Cornell
A Parrot for Juan Gris

Constructed with found artefacts, maps and letters these enigmatic worlds are catalysts to the exotic, that which is always just out of reach.

1601 Joseph Cornell The Clockwork Utopia

Joseph Cornell Clockwork Utopia

On opening an atlas or looking at a map you must interpret the information and relate it to the world at large. Through her series Victory Atlas Elena Damiani aids us in those leaps we make in our minds to the tropical shores or glacial rocks which are signified by a few lines and coloured shapes. I found her work really interesting.

The group show COLLABORATORS 4 presented by Roaming Room at their current mews premises was a beautifully curated invitation to ponder materiality and the many ways we record the world and visualise our responses to it. Participating artists can be found here. I was particularly drawn to the small installation of Alexandra Hughes which beamed light through tiny images roughly embedded in clay portals.

1601 Roaming Room Alexandra Hughes

Alexandra Hughes East’s Blue Clayoto

I have always liked Ambrosine Allen’s intricate assemblages  constructed from slicing up national geographic publications.

1601 Ambrosine-Allen Retreating Glacier

Ambrosine Allen Retreating Glacier

The piece by Dunhill and O’Brien made me think of those first measurers that Raymond Williams writes about in his novel People of The Black Mountains who took a rod and every night went out to the hills to watch the rise and set of the moon.

1601 Dunhill-and-OBrien Stone Appreciation

Dunhill and O’Brien Stone Appreciation (Rostrevor)

 

First came the sound and the sign, then came the word – which turned into image and overtook the gaze. The sign, turned into figure, sought ways to become perpetual – quipus, incisions in clay boards, traces left by chisels on rocks, ink on papyrus or paper, then neon signs, LEDs, and many other technologies.  – Oscar Sotillo Meneses writing on the work of Argelia Bravo which celebrates the words, signs, gestures and poetry that interweave the historical evolution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela but can be recognised the world over.

1601 Venice venezuala

 

 

 

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Tumbling through time
1307 Tardis-in-Space

Space has been a bit of a theme in my recent excursions – in a sense of delineating a space architecturally as Charles Avery does in his precise drawings of an imagined world; in the exploration of space examined through Cristina De Middel’s photographs of ‘Afronauts’ which also play into ideas of sci-fi as does Jess Littlewood in her fictional landscapes; in attempting to make the unknowable palpable, Luci Eldrige has used radar imaging of Venus undertaken by NASA and translated it into richly coloured etchings. Then there is the space where the making takes place – the art institution.

The RCA SHOW has come around again.

RCA SHOW 2013

RCA SHOW 2013

This year the experience was heightened by the possibility that I may one day get the chance to participate in the creative dialogue of this institution.

Look at that amazing space for making.

RCA printroom

RCA print room

Since my application and interview in March I have received some really positive feedback from Jo Stockham the head of the printmaking course.
I have been encouraged to apply again next year if a place doesn’t become available for me this year so I was keen to see what the current graduates were exhibiting and if I could see progression from the exhibition they had in spring at Café Gallery Projects.

A favourite was Luci Eldridge. Fascinated by the ‘invisible visions’ acquired through the use of science’s cybernetic eye, she is captivated by images of lands we cannot empirically experience.

Luci Eldrige - four colour photo etching

Luci Eldrige – four colour photo etching

I also identified with the work of Jessica Wallis ‘The History of the End of the World’

Jessica Wallis - Book Cover Series

Jessica Wallis – Book Cover Series

Jessica Wallis - Formula for disaster DVD

Jessica Wallis – Formula for disaster DVD

Jessica Wallis - Formula for disaster dvd

Jessica Wallis – Formula for disaster dvd

I was intrigued by the films of Nicola Thomas – ‘Imitation’ and ‘ Dancing with Monk’ and her etched prints from The Look Series were captivating.

Nicola Thomas - Carole #3 etched print

Nicola Thomas – Carole #3
etched print

Bee Flowers work has a feel of the mausoleum

Bee Flowers - plaster acrylic

Bee Flowers – plaster acrylic

Alice Hartley must have had some upsetting school reports

Alice Hartley - screenprint on blue black paper

Alice Hartley – screen print on blue black paper

Elizabeth Hayley’s prints on brass had a wonderful quality of time passed

Elizabeth Hayley - silver gelatin on brass

Elizabeth Hayley – silver gelatin on brass

Yanna Soares - Loom of Neith - silk embroidery on etchings, cotton thread, wood

Yanna Soares – Loom of Neith – silk embroidery on etchings, cotton thread, wood

Liz Lake - run aground

Liz Lake – run aground

Hannah Thual - between exposed and concealed

Hannah Thual – between exposed and concealed

I realise I must have missed some of the printmaking exhibits.

From Painting I really related to the work of Zoe De Soumagnat

Zoe De Soumagnat - Al Fresco

Zoe De Soumagnat – Al Fresco

Zoe De Soumagnat - Black Painting. tasty

Zoe De Soumagnat – Black Painting. tasty

Tomie Seo - All in a vision and Court of Regulation

Tomie Seo – All in a vision and Court of Regulation

Lian Zhang - oil on board

Lian Zhang – oil on board

From Sculpture discipline I really liked how the paper constructions of Yana Naidenov looked like concrete

Yana Naidenov - rammed paper pulp

Yana Naidenov – rammed paper pulp

The materiality of Virgile Ittah’s sculptures were also intriguing, and rather unsettling

Virgile Ittah - For man would remember each murmur - fabric, mixed wax

Virgile Ittah – For man would remember each murmur – fabric, mixed wax

The Lilliputian sculptures of Sun Lah stood out

Sun Lah - wood and pastel

Sun Lah – wood and pastel

Observing from a distance

Sun Lah

Sun Lah

Loved this little projection from Lucy Joyce

Lucy Joyce - Gold House - video

Lucy Joyce – Gold House – video

Lina Lapelyte - Candy Shop

Lina Lapelyte – Candy Shop

I liked photography student Julio Galeote’s work

Julio Galeote - excess

Julio Galeote – excess

The Charlie Dutton Photo and Print Open Salon had a really strong selection of work, it was tightly hung but as the work was all so strong it wasn’t a case of your eye skimming the wall and only taking in one or two pieces.

I was fascinated by a lot of the work showing and noticed Luci Eldridge had a couple of pieces in the show.

Luci Eldridge - The Invisible Sky

Luci Eldridge – The Invisible Sky

Hannah Williamson

Hannah Williamson

Adam Dix - Be As One - screenprint

Adam Dix – Be As One – screenprint

Frances Disley - Little Boy Lost - reduction lino cut

Frances Disley – Little Boy Lost – reduction lino cut

Alex Lawler - Celestial Navigation  - print on chiffon

Alex Lawler – Celestial Navigation – print on chiffon

Harry Meadows - Medallion

Harry Meadows – Medallion

I have often found that in the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize show there is one clear winner for me but this year all 4 candidates drew me in and inspired me.

No Man’s Land is shot entirely with Google Street View. The coordinates for prostitutes operating in remote locations were picked up from internet chat rooms.

Henner’s method of online intelligence-gathering results in an unsettling reflection on surveillance, voyeurism and the contemporary landscape.

Mishka Henner - No Man's Land

Mishka Henner – No Man’s Land

Chris Killip documents the disintegration of the industrial landscape through the people that live there.

Chris Killip- What Happened - Great Britain 1970 - 1990

Chris Killip- What Happened – Great Britain 1970 – 1990

‘War Primer 2’ reimagines the pages of Bertold Brecht’s 1955 publication ‘War Primer’. Brecht’s book was a collection of photos and newspaper clippings that were paired with a four line poem.

Broomberg and Chanarin have layered google search results for the poems over the original images. The results are extraordinary.

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin - War Primer 2

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin – War Primer 2

In 1964 Zambia started a space programme to send the first African astronaut to the moon.

Cristina De Middel - The Afronauts

Cristina De Middel – The Afronauts

Through photographs, manipulated documents, drawings and letters  De Middel presents a folkloric tale which blurs myths and truths. Great costumes and funky fabrics.

Cristina De Middel

Cristina De Middel

Jess Littlewood’s prints showing at BEARSPACE have a wonderful sci-fi quality without them being too unbelievable. There is a common motif of a pentagon, a makeshift habitat and an opening through to a stellar sky. They speak of new beginnings from dystopian endings.

Jess Littlewood - The Dissolution of Mother Island

Jess Littlewood – The Dissolution of Mother Island

Central to the exhibition, The Dissolution of Mother Island maps the inevitable collapse of the founding commune and the emergence of a new epoch, defined by five new derivative sects. Each sect inhabits a new island, and looking to the future each attempt to establish a unique society whilst never achieving true autonomy.

The further five exhibited works act as chapter headings, describing each sect and their specific obsessions. All maintain a fixation with the shrine like shelters of their past, highlighting futility in their attempts for individualism. These five new islands will now act as anthropological testing grounds in which Littlewood can explore the parameters and tendencies of human behaviour.

Littlewoods otherworldly landscapes are the product of extensive collecting, collating and archiving of images. Working digitally Littlewood builds layer upon layer of found imagery, the final outcome a window into an alternative world.

Jess Littlewood - Island Folly

Jess Littlewood – Island Folly

Wow, what a mind Charles Avery has.

Charles Avery View of the Port - from The Islanders

Charles Avery View of the Port – from The Islanders

He talks at a fast pace about the world that he describes through his expressive drawings, writing and sculptures. He has considered so much more about his imaginary world than most people ever consider about the one they actually inhabit. He has models of the island in his studio so that when drawing a new scene he is aware whether there should be a tower in the background or not. He knows where the toilets , the kitchens, the lifts are in buildings that are never more described than as background facade in a scene. This world is built on mathematical principles and animated with philosophical debate. Space is mapped out precisely in both the built environment and the geographical relationships but time in the concept as we understand it does not apply – events happen, time is not linear.

It was fascinating to hear about his process of creation at Whitechapel Gallery as part of the To Make A Tree programme.

Charles Avery

Charles Avery

The trees in jardindagade are based on a mathematical formula.  He told us how hard it was to devise a formula for a willow tree to be well balanced and the leaves not to fall and tangle with each other. He decided to go outside and see how a real tree coped with this problem and found that it didn’t, it was messy and tangled, but it didn’t fall over.

He has ambitions to build the whole of jardindagade as an immersive installation –  let’s hope someone with some money was listening.