COLLARBONES Issue II
COLLARBONES II BREAKING THE STEREOTYPES
Anna Meschiari Anitta Boa Vida Coral Amiga Dario Srbic Garrett Lockhart Iraida Lombard铆a Ivan Palis Jara L贸pez Ballonga Jon Uriarte Juan Madrid Kamila Musilova Aki Po Liana Blum/ Alex Coggin Lisa Geue Oksana Kurchanova Regina Kelaita Ruben Brulat Vincentia Liana Chandra Yaroslav Solop
Thoughts of a Caucasoid white, middle class, European male*
The temptation of writing about Ste-
reotypes, start- ing off with a stereotypical vocabulary definition of the word stereotype itself, was so strong that I simultaneously needed a drink, almost not being able to get it down my throat, giving up to the stereotypical practice of getting one’s drink out of one’s nose because of the stereotypical hysterical laughter produced in situations such as those, before putting my thoughts down on paper as to what I see as a stereotype. Stereotype has the tendency of repeating itself, as in the introductory sentence I just formulated. It is everywhere, in every detail of the history of photography (and of art itself – here you have. An aphorism!), we use it as the dominant way of understanding the world through categories. You are respected lawyer, I am a lowclass bum writing around and these are inexistent words, written, as well as read, on a screen. What is a stereotype, then? Should I paraphrase Stuart Hall’s analysis and refer to an extended bibliography? What do they expect me to write about it? Is writing about stereotypes, a stereotype itself? I mean, instead of formulating critically competent images that could defy or just slightly resist representation and categorization itself, are we just wasting time, using language –another strong stereotype- in order to create another mode of classifying, what has already been classified once and twice and then once more, etc. etc.?
Could we consider photography as a stereotype itself? Why not? Mainstream use of photography nowadays, dressed in its -not even elegant in most cases- digital outfit, being reduced to a repetition of images, postures, colours, attitudes and (an almost total lack of) critical theory and appetite for experimentation. We can just check the vocabulary of photographic practice in any “social” media page. No matter one’s gender, nationality, culture, ethics, tradition, personality, ideology, etc., all these users, introduce themselves ‘voluntarily’ (not a just word for those users, however as I am not here to discuss aggressive marketing tactics, I can allow myself to cynically enjoy such terms) to any kind of groups being ‘cool’ at the time 1 – the sepia lovers, the 80’s fans, the black & white intellectuals, and so on. From then on, the posture used in the self-portrait of a 15 years’ old girl from Calcutta is identical to the self- portrait of a 21 years’ old girl from Copenhagen. The point of view of that “reaaaally beautiful” sunset on a beach in Spain does not differ at all from that other “reaaaaally beautiful” sunset in South Africa! Isn’t that wonderful? We are trapped in a whirlwind situation of “stock photographs of stock people in stock situations”.
“Interestingly, many of the images that perpetuate these artificially constructed ideals are the creations of stock photography – generic images specifically manufactured for global advertising.1 Stock photography provides run-of-the-mill stock-standard images that have no tie to the final advertised product. They are created independently for global image sales and conform to a standard image format that can be used to represent a broad range of products. Their usage raises questions of both consumer naivety and media honesty as the advertised images bear no authentic relationship to the final advertised product. These manufactured relationships between media images and products are forged through the editing process rather that when the origi- nal image is captured. The media fabricate the atmosphere and mood with which the audience can identify”2 This is where the “cliché becomes a stereotype. Stereotypes are those clichéd concepts that we fix to certain types of situations, people, or things. Stereotypes are generally oversimplified generalizations that may have demeaning racial, sexual and socially unacceptable implications. Stereotypes are commonly used in advertis- ing imagery to sell goods to a particular demographic. Even worse, is the cliché that is hyped, because it exploits the stereotype and suggests a concocted hyperreality that does not exist within the actual subject/
subjects depicted. It is fiction at its worst.”3 And it is not as if I have something against digital photography. The ‘analogue’ generation, shared similar to identical imagery, between similar countries. How is it possible that all the Mediterranean 1980’s generation has a photograph as a very young child, on a tricycle, on your parents’ (or grandparents’) balcony?! Nevertheless, I voluntarily leave out of this monologue, the part products play in photographic representations and the cultural context they define and by which they are being defined. Apart from the imagery, there is also the use of serious artistic photography that has been converted into a stereotype. All (or the vast majority of) serious photography which is sold, bought, exhibited and sometimes analyzed has adopted a group of predetermined values that actually rejects a most
social use of the photographic gaze. Breaking up photography into categories such as documentary, glamour, fashion, street, portraiture, news, aerial and so on (Please do have an internet search on ‘Photography by genre’!) is not a way of helping the viewer understand photography’s nature, but simplifying the product they are trying to sell us, by attaching to it all those stereotypical characteristics which annihilate its possible alternative potential. Fine art circuits have also played their role here, by con- sidering as fine art all those products that fulfill certain standards. The print needs to be of excellent resolution and color palette, of great size and expensive frames (except in occasions that the market demands some ‘punk’ attitude for a while!), of certain modern vulnerability combined with classical anxiety inherited directly from painting. Why shouldn’t I consider such a mentality as a castrating stereotype technique? Why shouldn’t I consider that Representation does not have to do with ‘photography’s great neurotic attachment to the holy Reality’, but rather to its mystic, imagi-native nature, assisted intensively by technology and cutups and digital collage and multiple dimensionality and combination with the rest of the artistic practices, such as sculpture and painting and scratches and construction/destruction and whatever we could put our hands on, in order that Representation comes
off the addiction on Stereotype and achieves to embrace Truth (instead of Reality) as in dreams? I suppose that when we alter our mentality, as creators and curators and theorists, we could understand the hegemonic patterns behind Stereotypes (Gramsci is still around, shaking the bottle!) and that is what we are meant to defy and do battle with and oppose to and reject and go against to and resist, because art should not be a Stereotype, but laugh on its face. We have been ed- ucated based on them. Now let’s dance or be absorbed. Achilleas Polychronidis, September 2013
1 Paul Frosh,The Image Factory: Consumer Culture, Pho- tography and the Visual Content. (Oxford: Berg, 2003) 2 Creed, Media Matrix,p. 216. In her words, ‘film can yoke together disparate images to create atmosphere, mood, sensation, eroticism, desire’ *I am not absolutely sure on the veracity of this statement, but it sounds finely ironic as a title! 3 http://lensgarden.com/discover/cliche-and-stereotype-in-photography/#sthash.cqD51MTl.dpuf
In this project I work primarily on changes in state of the human body. It is a questioning of the spasms that are related to the duality of being, which I accept and then try to exploit in photography. It is a work that affects many aspects of being a woman, pain, abandonment, emotions that usually remain hidden and also the presence of several â€œme.â€?
Anitta Boa Vida
LOOKING FOR BABU
Bulgaria, 2013 I follow my mother as we navigate our way around this strange country; using a map of memories that doesn’t belong to us. Not yet anyway. We don’t know quite what we are looking for, only that it must feel familiar. Our journey completely surrenders to being just that – a journey. Each step unpredicted, each moment unforeseen. To follow our instincts and go with all that unfolds before us. To be present in our search for the past. Yet, admittedly it is peculiar to travel (which is after all an act of moving forward), in the vein of going back. Back to our roots. Perhaps then it is timely that when certain revelations were made, we would only discover ourselves.
Most of the product photography today is a replication of already rendered computer models of the product depicted. Clients want a photo of the real object, but this photo should resemble as close as possible the computer generated image. In this series, objects, which exhibit signs of usage are depicted in the language of product photography: plexiglass table yields the reflecting surface often seen in catalogue photos, carefully controlled lighting enhances surfaces and shapes and the composition emphasizes the object itself. But the marks of usage are left prominently dangling in the image.
The screen portraits project is about a juxtaposition: the contrasting notion of self and computer. We all morph ourselves in some way to fit a certain aesthetic online. This suggests the computer has an important impact on the self. I wished to capture this strange concept, and expose the relationship between the self and computer.
I’M ON STRIKE I feel overwhelmed. It is time to face up to it. It seems that my work is none other tan the generation of images. While others write reports, make loans, sell shoes, operate on patients or serve tables, I dedicate myself to writing, to granting, selling, operating and serving images, sometimes also objects, and also ideas, but, in the end, they are mostly summarized in images. But I feel saturated. We need a break.
An image that means something, in proportion. Starting today and over the next 1000 days I will stop disseminating images on this website; I refuse to do so and I will become a deserter. I want to leave the slavery of updating and offer only a single image, solid as a building, an image that survives, an image to go back to. This pause, this time travel, this downdating, it is quite deliberate, voluntary and I claim it as an artistic act itself.
It is time to do away with the “throwaway image,” with “visual consumerism”, with “iconic bulimia.” It is necessary to press for an “ecology of images”, to take responsibility, to produce in a sustainable manner.
This passivity does not mean I will stop producing or working during this period, this is my way of life and I would be unable to stop doing what I love.
I need fewer images, images that stay, I need maybe just one. With no pretensions, with no intention of it being better than others, without being creepy, or the most beautiful, without being revealing or shocking. It should just be an image that remains. A sedentary image, cemented, unique.
And now my “inspiration” has asked me to stay almost silent, it has asked me to pronounce only one word, it has asked for a break for my gaze, for an almost blank space, it has requested a “very small”, a tiny something that says as much as silence and that’s what I’m willing to offer.
It’s a symbolic strike, an act of rebellion, because, not needless to say, there are so many images that they have practically lost their value, so that they are too much, they lose their strength, their meaning, so that no breath remains, drowning everything, absolutely everything.
Madrid, May 24th, 2012
Were originally tales of one very unique place. After hearing about it, I was even hard to imagine that this room can be combined so the absolute fullness of space (exhibits in museums occupy every free inch) and an incredible human loneliness. In most cases, this attitude can be felt only in very public places, including the subway, and in this case, such a combination ranging attitudes made museum where visitors will almost never happens.
Seeing before shooting, how long heroine eyeing the photo exhibits, searching for a â€œcompanion,â€? I knew exactly what I want to convey through this work and how it will be called. The heroine, trying to talk to someone, it is not concerned about that conversation with a correspondent bezslivna and bezvuchna. A simple request any conversation with anyone, at least from a museum exhibit, it was to me a manifestation of extreme human loneliness.
Jara L贸pez Ballonga
AT THE BEACHFRONT
Berlin is the capital of Germany, the economic motor of Europe and a â€œland of opportunitiesâ€?. The excellent quality of life and low cost of living tempt many young people to try their luck in the cosmopolitan capital. These tales of a bustling city that is less expensive than other European capitals hold attractive but empty promises. But the expectations of many of the young immigrants coming to Berlin are very different to the reality they experience on arrival. The growing immigration has lead to the saturation of the job market. In their search for employment and accommodation most young immigrants are forced to work several jobs to pay for rents that are rising exponentially. The worsening living conditions are affecting not only the recent arrivals, but also Berliners themselves.
These socioeconomic changes frame the project â€œAt the beachfrontâ€?. This project ironically juxtaposes typical beach vacation scenes onto an urban setting, in response to the actual situation. Workers and students have small mounds of sand on which to enjoy their free time. They can relax until the sand is removed to fulfill its actual purpose in the construction or renovation of properties, which will continue to become more and more expensive. These photographs offer a model for an alternative appropriation of public spaces, fighting against the progressive deterioration of social conditions. We are using a language and typology that is characteristic for advertising, applying the same techniques that consumer society uses to seduce us. Our consumer society promises a well being which most young people cannot afford.
THEY ARE NOT THEM They Are Not Them seeks to cast doubt on the uses and meanings of portraiture as identity representation tool, while explores the impact that new technologies had caused on photography. It denies the identities of the characters and looks for technical ambiguity to ask questions about those changes and new meanings. Seeks to make you wonder on both the medium and the photographic genre; works trough hypothesis, mistakes and indetermination.
She is not Maria
She is not Iraida
He is not Fernando
She is not Ana E.
He is not Elio
Everyone is forced into a relationship with the unknown at some point in their life. For me, there is an excitement and exhilaration that accompanies this. By negating fear and realizing that uncertainty exists everywhere, life is put in a strange stranglehold between fiction and hyperreality. These are uncanny moments that give a deeper look into the abyss, where time falters and possibilities are limitless.
GRANDFATHER AND GRANDMOTHER The photograph series Grandfather and Grandmother is a visual record of the life of my grandparents. It is my deepest expression of their portrait. With these installations, I tried to capture their lives, customs and the environment in which they live. They themselves do not feature in any of the photographs, and yet they are the photographs themselves. The installations arose from the interaction of place, objects, smells and memories. This project is still ongoing.
Achilles Polychronidis (Aki Po)
A SERIES OF PECULIAR BUT EQUALLY FEARSOME ACCIDENTS
Liana Blum Alexander Coggin
EINE FRAU IST EINE FRAU
FROM 3 TO 16 From 3 to 16 is an autobiographical series. Country-wide emotions, events, and aspirations are represented in the ambivalent form of clippings from old Soviet magazines. Variability, creativity and the desire for individuality serve as a counterbalance to the rigid character of the clippings.
PATHS, 2011 - 2012 Strangers that would be encountered along the way and willing to give themselves away to nature, resulting in a peregrination from more than a year, from Europe to Asia by land only, through Iraq, Iran, onto Afghanistan, Tibet until Indonesia, Japan and Mongolia. Ruben searched for more far away lands, the unknown, in Paths, performing sometimes in welcoming sand, sometimes in the harsh snow, the just encountered fellows would let themselves go, opening their senses. Embracing everything that surrounds them. Ephemera intensity before saying, often, goodbye to each other forever. Placing the bodies of people there in part with these accidental and dramatic landscapes, like the trees, the rocks or the black sands of Gunung Bromo.
A narrative constructed only by the randomness of the encounter, places and body, meeting with utopia and hope in these only suspended moments. Bodies of people that became friends, performing, not without difficulties, leaving wounds, marks, and souvenirs from a time before heading towards different paths, after sharing one for a while.
Vincentia Liana Chandra
Castor and Pollux.The constellation of The Twins
THE PLASTIC MYTHOLOGY An experimental project, started in 2011, based on the synthesis of the inner images and memories from the childhood, associated with Ancient Greek mythology and projected into the photographic space. The thematic base of the series is mythological stories, key personages â€“ ancient gods. The ready-made works are characterized by the uncommon, as to the classical mythological plot, interpretation of the pictorial elements, their combination with nude bodies of gods and Greek heroes in the artistic space.
Victim of dryads
Dryad and the Ivy
Hades.The Domestication of Cerberus
Hades.The Domestication of Cerberus
Philoctetes and Neoptolemus
COLLARBONES II BREAKING THE STEREOTYPES
Cover Photo: Ruben Brulat Closing Photo: Regina Kelaita ÂŠ2013 All photographs on this magazine are the property of their respective artists. People may not copy, reproduce, modify or use the photos for any other purposes unless they obtain prior written permission from the photo artist.