WEEK 2: SUPERVISOR SESSION
Working on drafts for two proposals. Two, because one of the projects would be together with another photographer and I am still waiting for his reply if he’s up for it or not. Therefore I’ll need a fallback idea.
PROPOSAL NO.1: Photo Letters – a photographic correspondence
Photo Letters is a project with Jashim Salam, who is a documentary photographer in Bangladesh. We have been friends since 1 1/2 years, never met, only had a video call once. Otherwise we solely communicate via text messages.
The interesting part of this project will be getting to know each other better, literally through the lens of one another, exploring different viewpoints, approaches and styles in the field of photography.
The project will work with the difficulties of distance and time difference, but also reflect on topics like living in different countries and cultures, especially in the current COVID situation.
Through globalization the world has become “smaller”, we can travel wherever we want, we can constantly be connected via the internet and one big city is just like every other big city.
This hypothesis is true and false at the same time.
Jas and I met via Instagram as we liked each others photography. Yet, we cannot just visit one another and e-meetings have their limits. And, life in Bangladesh is very different from life in Australia.
Communicating via photography, showing each other their life the way we personally see it, will be a totally different way of getting to know each other. Taking the audience with us on this journey will be an interesting way to get to know two different worlds. It will give insights into a different country and culture which one usually doesn't get.
There are many examples of collaborations or correspondences between artists.
Correspondences have been typically done by writers, famous example are the letters between Goethe and Schiller. The German author Dr. Giesbert Damaschke has turned those letters into a web project that publishes those letters in realtime, 215 years later. It started in 2009 and just ended three months ago.
»Correspondences« is also the name of an exhibit by the two filmmakers Víctor Erice and Abbas Kiarostami at the ACMI in 2008. Both of them showed their solo work and only the center piece was a film project they did together. My aim is to work towards an exhibit for this project that only consists of the work Jas and I do together.
When artists are in the same location, collaborations are more common. Examples would be Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Michael Duchamp and Man Ray, Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili. Today's examples for photographers that collaborated when being apart are the two Instagram accounts shinliart and halfhalftravel. As Jas and I are not in the same location, collaboration is not impossible but more challenging. Therefore, and because I find it more interesting, I see the project rather as a correspondence/dialogue than collaboration.
Academic texts are still missing.
Each photograph will stand for its own (not merging one into another) and be to a certain topic. Displayed next to it will be the other's photographic reply. It can be the same topic or contrasting, have some formal similarity or the exact opposite.
The first step will be to define Jas' and my style similarity and differences and how we want to work with them. This will possibly already show the way how to approach different themes and topics.
Depending how the COVID situation continues, this might have a stronger or weaker influence on the project.
At the moment, I expect us to produce 10-14 photographs. The size of each print will depend on the photograph and can vary from A3 to A0 size.
Example combination of Jas’ and my photographs.
Example combinations of others (Markus Burke and Ruba Abu-Nimah).
PROPOSAL NO.2: Stolen Words – using other artists’ statements as a template to create new work
Searching for other artists’ statements, interpreting them in a different way than they did and creating new photography.
It is similar to appropriation art, but not working with the artists’ work but their written word.
The original work can be of any genre, not limited to photography, but can just as well be fine art, performance art, music etc.
It will be interesting to see how different words can be interpreted, how I will draw a totally different conclusion than the artist that originally wrote their words.
Nothing is as clear as it seems. Even very precise words can have a different meaning to another person and it will be interesting to see what that could be.
I assume that most artists write their final statement after producing their work. Even when working on the wording along side producing, it is unlikely that the final statement is done first. I want to change this process upside down. An experiment that I imagine to be interesting to watch and might lead others to rethink their process. Just seeing a different direction and interpretation of the same words will be interesting to look at.
Appropriation art is a genre of its own. Sherrie Levine works with that concept to make the audience rethink the concept of ownership and authorship. She recreated work by known photographers and to make her point, her work was not or hardly distinguishable from the original. Another appropriation artist is Richard Prince who uses artwork by others but changes or manipulates the original work.
Appropriation usually refers to the original artwork being used, not the written words about the art. It will be a new way of thinking about appropriation art.
The final result will be an exhibition and an online gallery (possibly an Instagram feed). The physical exhibit will have the original artist's statement hanging next to my art piece. The online gallery will show the photography and then, on the second slide, the artist's statement.
10 photographs, …
… just this moment Jas agreed to work on the project together (first proposal). Therefore, I'll put this proposal on hold.
Starting at the end: What will be in the pictures?
· COVID responses
· nature of collaboration
· more holistic concepts
· aim + objective
Very interesting idea to start at the end. I do have a clear idea what I want the result to be, but still keeping open that it can go in a totally different direction.
The question is how to start and get into a flow. Working with another photographer can only work by actually starting to take pictures and see what works best. As an art director I'm used to adapt to the working process of a photographer. But it's new to me to not dictate how and what the other photographer has to do.