PREVIEW Foam Magazine #44, On Earth

Page 1

International Photography Magazine 22,50


featuring: Augustin Rebetez Broomberg & Chanarin Adam Jeppesen Mark Dorf Mishka Henner Melanie Bonajo Thomas Albdorf Marie-José Jongerius Anastasia Samoylova Laurence Aëgerter


Contents 4 Toolkit

Sjoerd Knibbeler

8 Self Portrait Augustin Rebetez

Features 18 What’s new?

Daniel Everett, Catharine Maloney, Christto & Andrew, and Lucas Foglia

24 Interview

Broomberg & Chanarin

224 Unexpected Marriages Daisuke Yokota & Broken Twin

227 Snapshots

Roxana Marcoci, Maxime Ballesteros and Jan Hoek

On Earth 34 Portfolio Overview 36 The Blue Marble by Marcel Feil

47 Adam Jeppesen Folded

67 Mark Dorf

107 Melanie Bonajo Non-Human Persons

127 The Politicized Landscape by Mirjam Kooiman

133 The Future Landscape by Zippora Elders


87 Mishka Henner Feedlots

138 A Beautiful Landscape by Kim Knoppers

143 Thomas Albdorf I Know I Will See What I Have Seen Before

163 Marie-José Jongerius

Edges of the Experiment

183 Anastasia Samoylova

Landscape Sublime

203 Laurence Aëgerter Healing Plants for Hurt Landscapes

by Marloes Krijnen Editor-in-chief



You are looking at the new Foam Magazine. To do maximum justice to the richness and diversity of contemporary photography and to ensure that Foam Magazine remains the unique photography magazine to which you are accustomed, we have carried through a number of striking changes. There is a new graphic design, with a new approach to the cover. And there are new, intriguing features, in which we pay more attention than ever to the photographic practice of artists and give a voice to professionals in the field. The majo­rity of these features are near the front of the magazine and from now on they will be a regular and recognizable part of it. One important new feature is the Self-Portrait that we ask an artist to provide. Not a self-portrait in the traditional sense but an artistic identity that emerges from photos the artist has made of their studio, their environment and their work. And who could be a more suitable person to ask than the intangible Swiss multi-talent Augustin Rebetez? We are also always eager

to know what artists we presented in earlier issues of Foam Magazine are up to now. What are their latest projects? What can we look forward to and what can we expect in the near future? In What’s New? a number of artists give us a sneak preview. Most projects do not come out of nowhere but demand a great deal of preparation and sometimes the deployment of completely unexpected objects. This is made clear in our Toolbox feature, where an artist shows the tools that were needed to carry out a particular project, from inspiring books to the hardware required to create the desired image. This time Sjoerd Knibbeler, a young Dutch artist we presented in the latest Talent issue, agreed to give us an insight into the amply filled toolbox he used to make his series Current Studies. The new format also sees the return of the regular inter­ view with an engaging representative of the world of photography. We are extremely pleased to say that Broomberg and Chanarin will get things going with an intial series of interviews. You can enjoy several new features at the end of Foam Magazine as well. Photo­

graphers and curators share snapshots they have made with their smartphones, and in Unexpected Marriages we focus on surprising collaborations. The essence of Foam Magazine still consists of a relevant theme represented by the work of different artists. Familiar elements of the magazine have been retained: generous portfolios with plenty of room for images, carefully chosen types of paper, and accompanying texts that are informative and accessible. With the theme On Earth we investigate the way in which our natural environment is depicted at the start of a new millennium. Human influence is visible everywhere, leading to questions about the future of the earth that are relevant and topical. The work on show raises questions about the distinction between the natural and the artificial and at the same time offers both visual beauty and a display of photographic ingenuity. We are convinced that in its new format Foam Magazine is even richer and more compre­hensive than before, and has its finger on the pulse of photography more than ever. Enjoy!



Bestron vacuum seal machine DBS827

Sjoerd Knibbeler

How does a project come to life? What does it take to create it? From different tools to inspiring materials, each project needs a number of ingredients in its recipe. Here Sjoerd Knibbeler (b. 1981, NL) let us take a look at his magic box, showing us what it took to create Current Studies. His work focuses on visualizing invisible natural phenomena. Sjoerd was selected as Foam Talent in 2015.

Sjoerd Knibbeler

5 Bestron Floor Fan DFA30

Eurolite smoke-machine N-19

Gamma Leafblower BR-35V.

Self Portrait


Augustin Rebetez One of the most striking voices of a new generation of artists, Augustin Rebetez (1986, CH) was selected as one of the Foam Talents in 2013 and was the recipient of the Vevey International Photo Award in 2014. His work represents a personal, surreal universe that offers a stage to mysterious, tragicomically characters and bizarre situations. Masked figures and animal-like creatures are the theatrical performers in a continuous narrative. His work is always energetic, dark, humorous and loaded with symbolism and subconscious references. Most of all, Rebetez’ work bursts with creative and visual power. With this Self Portrait, Augustin lets us in to his life, work, friends, his inspiration and surroundings.

18 An exclusive sneak peek in the minds and new projects of formerly featured Foam Magazine photographers.

What’s new?

What’s new?



Daniel Everett

Marker is part of a larger body of my recent images and sculptural works focused on the uni­nt­ entional aesthetics of organization and progress. This series of images depicts a collection of inadvertently painted stones gathered from various construction sites over the course of several years and subsequently organized by colour. Used as a way of indicating boundaries and provi­ding instructions to workers, colour coated paints are applied throughout the worksite and often spill over onto the surrounding rocks and landscape. In the wake of progress these stones remain as emblems of the organizational systems that displaced them.

DANIEL EVERETT (b. 1980, US) is an artist and professor working across a range of media. His work has been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions. Recent publications include a monograph, Throughout the Universe in Perpetuity, published by Études (2015). Daniel Everett was featured as Foam Talent in 2014.



THE FORENSIC TURN Interview: Federica Chiocchetti Portrait: Jonny Briggs

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin



It is an extremely interesting moment to observe artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin as their practice continues its trajectory of deviation and liberation from the genre of documentary photography. Federica Chiocchetti meets the duo in their new studio in London Fields to talk about collaboration, ambiguity, censorship, humour et al.

Federica Chiocchetti I would like to start with a very simple thing: by looking at your website one can’t help noticing how prolific you have been. Trust, your debut project, was a series of documentary photographs of faces made in the last two years of the twentieth century. In 2015 you presented the multimedia installation and performance Rudiments exploring the journey from youth into adulthood of a group of cadets in the presence of authority and military discipline, and Every piece of dust on Freud ’s couch, a tapestry with the findings of a forensic team you hired in 2015 to collect evidences left on the surface of Sigmund Freud’s couch. You produced 23 projects in less than 20 years, examining the abuses of photography and somewhat departing from the medium. How would you explain this restlessness of producing? Broomberg & Chanarin Perhaps we both suffer from AttentionDeficit Disorder (laughs). When we work together we share a powerful energy in the studio. There is an urge to produce. It’s pleasurable and cathartic. But we are at a point of reflection about our journey together. It’s been a strange, long and meandering narrative that began with COLORS magazine in 1998. You know, a practice evolves into a kind of institution, and that can be so conservative. So it’s

nice to question the voca­bulary and mode of working. Or maybe it’s just a midlife crisis. FC I imagine you together in your studio, giving birth to a new artwork after a number of massively amazing brainstorming sessions… B&C Ha! It’s less like a brainstorming session, more like a battle ground. We are two human beings and we’re very different. We have a lot of similarities, and a lot of love, but there is also a tension and our work emerges out of that. The battle is really important, because some ideas that are not strong enough get pushed out. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is in and what is out, as our practice goes on a journey and changes. In Rudiments we present a series of large-scale still-lives of bullets that have collided in mid-air and are believed to have effectively saved the lives of two soldiers. We may consider ourselves photographers, but perhaps these artefacts would be served better by being displayed as objects rather than reduced to images. We confront ourselves and each other with these questions. If we didn’t then we’d still be making portraits of people in the style of August Sander, as we did in the early part of our careers. We are too restless for that. FC And how was the genesis of ‘Adam & Olly’? How did you meet and when did you decide


Trace fiber from Freud ’s couch under crossed polars with Quartz wedge compensator(#2), from Every piece of dust on Freud ’s couch, 2015 © Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, courtesy the artists and Lisson Gallery London

Broomberg & Chanarin

B&C It evolved out of friendship first of all. We were both living in London. Adam was studying product design at Central Saint Martins and I had just finished my degree in Philosophy and Computer Science at Sussex University. Later Adam was invited to Fabrica, and then COLORS, and extended the invitation to me. There have been moments in which he probably regretted doing that! Anyhow it was the beginning of our collaboration, at Benetton with Oliviero Toscani. FC Toscani is quite interesting, even from a history of photography point of view. Think of how he used advertising, namely money from a major brand, to vehicle his highly politically charged ideas through photography. He combined activism and advertising in such a revolutionary way that, personally, when I look at some of his campaigns today, I feel that I am looking more at a work of art. Also COLORS made the reading of deeply problematic and delicate subject matter an enjoyable experience for the reader. A sort of wonderfully and playfully produced container for some really tragic content. Could you explain how working with Oliviero Toscani and the tension between the pleasure of aesthetics and the tragedy of the subject matter informed your practice?

Untitled (Fused bullets 1), from Rudiments, 2015 © Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, courtesy the artists and Lisson Gallery London

that you were going to work together and become an artist duo?


if it was a crime scene. Have you ever flirted with the idea of trying out your own ‘technical’ skills first or joining these technical experts and work with them? How was to work with them? B&C The notion of collaboration is deeply rooted in our practice. When we work together authorship dissolves. The work becomes anonymous. Maybe that is why we pursue a kind of artless art, leaving the technology or ideology of the system to create the work. In The Day Nobody Died the work is authored by the British military, by the system of embedding rather than us. Our role is to reveal things in the world rather than make them. Our project at the Freud Museum for example; the images are made by the forensic scientists and not by us. It’s a proposition: what happens if you place a forensic scientists to Freud’ living room? It’s not just a play on the word analysis, but thinking about our practice as a laboratory.


computer screen. There is never a moment in the capturing of the ‘image’ when human contact is registered; the subject’s gaze, or any connection between photographer and sitter that we would ordinarily rely on in looking at a portrait, is a complete fiction in this space. What we’re seeing is the negation of that humanity: the digital equivalent of a death mask. The forensic turn as you mentioned, is a helpful framework for understanding this brutal series of portraits. We are living in an era in which personal privacy is being renegotiated on every level, to the advantage of the state and we wanted to explore what this means both for the future of portraiture and more broadly for the future of citizenship itself.

FC Have you ever been tempted to do something on your own, to go solo, as they say? B&C We both think about it and I think it’s good that we do. But our collaboration continues to have momentum and a mind of its own, and we both still feel that we are stronger together than apart. FC The relationship between evidence and art is crucial in what Forensic Architecture’s principal investigator, Eyal Weizman, described as the forensic turn in culture and politics. Are you exploring the readability of evidence? B&C In our most recent book – Spirit is a bone – you see a series of portraits that were produced by advanced facial recognition technology that is being brought into use, as we speak, in cities around the world. Software engineers in Moscow developed the technology from an existing system built to recognise car number plates. What first sparked our interest when speaking with these engineers, was the technical challenge they faced in producing what they call ‘non-collaborative portraits’ – where the subject is neither consensual nor necessarily aware of the camera. These portraits, essentially three-dimensional data maps rather than photographs per se, form a digital archive that can be rotated in space on a

ADAM BROOMBERG & OLIVER CHANARIN are artists living and working in London. Together they have had numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. Their work is held in major public and private collections including Tate, MoMA, Stedelijk, the V&A, the International Center of Photography, Musée de l'Élysée. Spirit is a Bone, published by MACK Books, is their latest publication. FEDERICA CHIOCCHETTI is a writer, curator and the Founding Director of The Photocaptionist, a photo-literary platform that combines words and images. She contributes for various publications, including Der Greif, Photo­ works, Objektiv, Unseen magazine, EXTRA, The British Journal of Photography. JONNY BRIGGS is an artist living and working in London. His work has been widely exhibited worldwide, and he us current Workshop Artist in Residence at Tate Modern, London. He was selected as Foam Talent in 2014.





Page 47 a Monumental mountaintops and snow/covered glaciers are printed on fine rice paper, then folded in regular intervals so that a fine sequence of wrinkles covers the underlying landscapes. The mighty folds of our earth, colliding with the breezy fragility of a light and gentle paper.

Page 67 a Dorf’s compositions are complete fabrications derived from hard data. For the reconstituted landscapes in the series he reassembles multiple viewpoint of a mountain to generate an archetypal image of a mountain. Each image is treated as a data set: data only yields meaning through reinterpretation.



Page 143 a Albdorf’s work is concerned with the question of what do we do with photography: he concentrates on exposing the visual codes that facilitate how pictures are used. In order to do so he takes a particular subject and employs it as a case study: the wild mountain landscape.

Page 163 a While venturing inland from Los Angeles to meet the protagonists that attracted Jongerius to the American West, she gradually got intrigued by the vast and arid landscape she encountered. So much, that the landscape became the protagonist for her photography.

On Earth




Page 87 a The pictures in Feedlots combine Henner’s interest in surveillance, grids and the way we look at the world. After a first puzzlement one thinks of looking at pools of toxic waste, bacteria, malignant cells. Instead, one is looking at a bird’s eye view of a cow farm and that is how the cows live.

Page 107 a This is the first issue of the Matrix Botanica series. Here Bonajo created a visual document about the disproportional balance of power between people and animals. Non human species are organized in hybrid categories, exposing their interactions, and collisions, with humans.



Page 183 a A simple search of beautiful landscapes from Google is an incredible source of picturesque landscapes. Samoylova selects these images, prints, folds and shapes them, arranging them into table top sculptures. She then photographs them as still life, using images of nature to describe the nature of images.

Page 203 a For this series, second part of the Herbarium Cataplasma project, Aegerter selected 100 photojournalistic images of landscapes destroyed by natural disasters and human activity. She then picked healing, officinal plants and carefully placed over them in a healing ritual.

Portfolio Overview


On Earth



It must have been a moment no less magical than it was moving. After their successful launch on 7 December 1972 the crew of the Apollo 17 mission looked back through a small window in the command module of their spacecraft at the planet from which they had left five hours and six minutes earlier. With the sun at their backs, the earth’s disk was almost completely illuminated and they could see virtually the whole of the African continent, from the Mediterranean to Antarctica. The tropical cyclone that had ravaged Sri Lanka two days earlier was still visible. One of the crew members, probably astronaut Jack Schmitt, quickly took a photo with the 70-millimetre Hasselblad camera they had brought with them, using an 80-millimetre Zeiss lens. The photo, really little more than a snapshot, is one of the most famous and widely distributed photographs in existence. It is known as The Blue Marble. On Earth


The Blue Marble


Safe Land, from the series Silent Mutation (Post anthropocène), 2014 © Lionel Bayol-Thémines / ADAGP

At the point when nature, itself value-free and indifferent, has value attributed to it by human beings and starts to become part of our experience, perception and history, it becomes a thing of cultural significance. Nature has become more than anything an idea and therefore culture.

That tension and ambivalence, the consequence of an unavoidable re-evaluation of the place of humankind in the world, has rarely been so convincingly depicted as it was by Caspar David Friedrich, the most important of all German Romantic landscape painters. His paintings of allegorical landscapes in which human beings are usually seen from behind, as isolated figures, their silhouettes standing out sharply against a night sky, or against the morning mist or an empty sea, are world famous. Human figures contemplate nature, and the viewer looks with them, over their shoulders, and can only guess at the emotion of the person portrayed. Perhaps Friedrich’s most famous painting is Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818). The contradictory feelings evoked by the work have been described by historian John Gaddis as ‘suggesting at once mastery over a landscape and the insignificance of the individual within it. We see no face, so it’s impossible to know whether the prospect facing the young man is exhilarating, or terrifying, or both.’ Nature as something both attractive and terrifying, that both seduces and threatens us, gives life but is merciless in taking lives, is essential to the sense of the sublime that is at the centre of the Romantic experience of nature. In that experience lies a fun­ damental duality: nature is a foreign power that lies outside us, but at the same time we feel ourselves to be inseparably bound up with it. It is a power that ultimately evades every form of outright determination or subjugation, a force that cannot be contained and that ultimately holds up a mirror to us in a way that is unambiguous, showing that the more we know, the more we On Earth

are unable to grasp. To capture the most sublime form of nature in a painting made by human hands is not only to give expression to the search for one’s own place in the world, it is also a kind of spell. By capturing the unfathomable in paint, nature is brought within the domain of human culture, and therefore becomes in a sense cultivated. LANDSCAPE OR NATURE In this context it is important to point to the distinction between ‘nature’ and ‘landscape’. Whereas nature, certainly in the perception of the Romantic, is unspoilt and untamed, a landscape is essentially a cultural construct. The word ‘landscape’ is derived from the Dutch landschap and it is no coincidence that it first arose in a part of the world that was the result of extraordinary human engineering, a place in fact that had to a large extent been won from nature by human endeavour. A landscape was by definition a human creation and ultimately the word referred after all to a pleasing depiction, whether a drawing or a painting, of something that looked like nature, or rather like something natural, but that in the final analysis was an artificially constructed scene. Nature as portrayed by a human being becomes a landscape and therefore culture. This was true of Jacob van Ruysdael in the seventeenth century and of Caspar David Friedrich in the nineteenth century, and it is also true of the photographic representation of nature by Ansel Adams in the twentieth century. At the point when nature, itself value-free and indifferent, has value attributed to it by human beings and starts to become part of our experience, perception and 45

history, it becomes a thing of cultural significance. Nature has become more than anything an idea and therefore culture. This realization is deeply rooted, especially in the Anthropocene. Not only has nature itself become culture, natural nature, in the sense of nature unspoilt and untouched, no longer exists. Even those areas that seem the wildest, in the most remote places on earth, have been affected and even shaped by humankind. Everything has become landscape, little bits of tolerated, conserved and controlled naturalness. This completely determines the way we imagine the natural world, from the almost anachronistic-seeming natural beauty of the National Geographic to the image held out before us by activist organizations such as Greenpeace. Much more forceful, in the sense of more accurate and perhaps more relevant, is the way in which many artists treat images of our planet. Here a major role is played by the realization that in the Anthropocene (whether or not the artist is familiar with the term) the shaping hand of humankind is present in everything. So when Adam Jeppesen points his camera at the impressive natural beauty of Patagonia in the far south of Latin America, which is to many the ultimate example of wild nature, he places all the emphasis on the physical qualities of the photographic print, for instance by carefully folding and then refolding it, after which the marks of the folds remain a clear and intrinsic part of the work. Or by cutting a print into many pieces and then restoring the whole picture by pinning each piece to a surface with a small pin. The total image is a construct and therefore the work of human beings. Adam Jeppesen thereby plays a subtle game with our perception, since we are forced to move back and forth between the whole and the parts, between the impressive concept and the fragility of its physical execution. Between distant and close, there and here, him and us. At the start of a new Millennium, more than two hundred years after the Anthropocene began, the need to enter into a new relationship with the planet, with natural resources and essentially with ourselves is more urgent than ever. There is a similarity here with our ambiguous attitude to nature of two centuries ago. The limits to large-scale exploitation of the earth have been reached and there is a rapidly growing The Blue Marble

realization that there will have to be a fundamental change in the way in which the riches of the earth are drawn upon and deployed, in order to secure the future of human life on The Blue Marble. A reconciliation between rational Enlightenment thought and the perceived need of Romanticism for a new spiri­ tuality is more vital than ever. The recognition that Nature is not something that lies outside us but is inextricably bound up with us, the recognition that human beings are themselves part of nature, is essential if we are to achieve a new relationship with our environment. The deployment of the latest technology to make this existential relationship a sustainable one is precisely what can reconcile the natural with the artificial, the rational with the spiritual and distance with unity. Art has a part to play here because it is art that has the power to propagate these opposing values and reconcile them. Art evokes a simultaneous experience of distance and proximity, and stresses the ambiguous role of the human being as observing subject and participating object. If this ambiguity manifests itself as a sense of harmony rather than existential unease, the Anthropocene epoch can enter into a new and fruitful phase. A phase in which the earth can continue to exist as that magical, unfathomable and extremely fragile little globe that was seen through the window of Apollo 17. A phase in which the earth is assured of a future as The Living Planet.

SILENT MUTATION (POST-ANTHROPOCENE) Lionel Bayol-Thémines Combining photography and installation, Lionel Bayol-Thémines is exploring through the combination of photography, 3D creation and volumes a ‘post-photographic’ path ventered on the themes of landscape and construction, of connections between man and nature. By mixing the techniques of digital photography and 3D creation, he is building a new reality where two worlds or rather two spaces – the one real and the other virtual – are coexisting in a symbiotic relationship. While revealing these strange landscapes, he is questioning the making of images and the capacity of digital photography to generate ‘other’ realities. Although scientific research enables us to better understand the causes and effects of global warm-

ing, the arising changes – though significantly rapid on the scale of the universe – take place slowly on the human time scale. Through the modifications of quite ordinary landscape photographs he intends to make visible what is not apparent yet, i.e. that this nature in which we live has no longer anything natural, it is contaminated by invisible pollutions that modify it without us knowing. These deviations, which are almost in the range of biological mutations, are highlighted by the manipulations of the image through 3D designing tools: hence, his interventions of the digital coding of the photographs echo the changes induced by the human activities that interfere with the natural evolution of ecosystems as if they were uncontrolled manipulations on the environment themselves. These manipulations characterize the anthropocene.





‘Nothing that exists is without flaw.’ Encompassing multiple series, Adam Jeppesen’s project Flatland Camps Project evolved during a 487-day journey by the Danish artist from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The works he photographed along this route are witnesses to a silent dialogue between the artist and the landscape surrounding him. At the same time, they also tell of the physical voyage of his photographs. When the films were changed, speckles of dust and rays of light settled on the negatives, leaving behind scratches, streaks and flecks of light – ‘mistakes’ that alter the surface of the negative but whose signs of wear also chronicle a very different facet of the photographed landscape. Thus they become an indicator of the natural process and an important part of the recounted story. That is why Adam Jeppesen takes up precisely these ‘mistakes’ and elevates them as both a creative element and a physical testimony to his journey, and has since been deliberately developing them further by consistently experimenting with his photographic material. MATERIALITY In his series Folded, begun in 2014, thin wrinkles snake across the images of imposing mountaintops and snow-covered glaciers. Printed on rice paper, the landscapes are folded in regular intervals by the artist so that a fine network of A4-sized sequences covers the underlying landscapes. The rice paper is so delicate that the surface of the paper and the color pigments do not break when folded, but are preserved. Because of this, the print does not appear

destroyed but instead is reminiscent of a folded poster or map. At the same time, the thin, fragile rice paper stands in intriguing contrast to the monumentality of the glaciers and mountain peaks. The mighty folds of our earth’s surface, shaped over millions of years, collide with a type of paper that is more generally associated with a breezy lightness, fragility and transience. SPATIALIZATION Folds: they organize the surfaces in space and offer our eyes a delicate structure along whose barely visible lines we can direct our gaze. Instead of losing themselves in the expanse of photographic surface, the folds give us an anchor and enable a deeper perception of every little detail of what is depicted. They also illustrate the transition from two-dimensional surface to three-dimensional shape. Through this folding technique, Adam Jeppesen adds a performative and sculptural aspect to his prints – here, photography is understood much more as an object than as a flat print. The resulting relief-like elements act like a filter between us and the depicted images and thus allow for multiple levels of perception. Visual and spatial representation overlap and allow us to become aware not only of the content but also of the material and surface of the photographic print. THE PURE, THE PERFECT AND THE BROKEN PART OF IT This is an approach that not only informs the Folded series, but also earlier works from the Flatland Camps Project. Throughout these works, the artist explores the aesthetic value More on page 65

On Earth



On Earth


Graduated in 2002 from Fatamorgana photography art school in Copenhagen. He distinguished himself internationally with the Wake series, which was published by Steidl in 2008. Jeppesen’s latest work, The Flatlands Camp Project, was recorded on his journey from the Arctic through North and South America to Antarctica. He has previously exhibited in solo and group exhibitions worldwide. Jeppesen lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Ann-Christin Bertrand is curator at C/O Berlin and responsible for young, contemporary art positions. She developed the new exhibition format Thinking about Photography, is in charge of the Talents programme and also works on concepts focusing primarily on questions about the future of the medium, which she discusses in the context of lectures, seminars and jury panels und opens up for debate, most recently in the context of OUTSET/ UNSEEN Exhibition Fund by Foam Amsterdam, at the Aalto University of Arts & Design Helsinki and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.





Labor pounds and wheedles rocks and soil, plants and animals, extracting the molecular flows out of which our shared life is made and remade. But those molecular flows do not return from whence they came. – McKenzie Wark, Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene While the manifold projects of capital, empire, and science are busy making Nature with a capital ‘N’[...] the web of life is busy shuffling about the biological and geological conditions of capitalism’s process…This is nature as us, as inside us, as around us. It is nature as a flow of flows. Put simply, humans make environments and environments make humans—and human organization. — J ason W. Moore, Capitalism and the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital Our desire to comprehend the natural world is tightly bound up in capitalism as an economic system. Scientific inquiry and capitalism both have goals based in codifying, quantifying, and controlling. While the means of these goals are seemingly very different, this relationship is most starkly evinced in the commodity. Returning to the originary source, Marx’s writing on commodity fetishism is precisely demonstrative: A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. So far as it is a usevalue, there is nothing mysterious

about it, whether we consider it from the point of view that by its properties it satisfies human needs, or that it first takes on these properties as the product of human labour. It is absolutely clear that, by his activity, man changes the forms of the materials of nature in such a way as to make them useful to him. We make nature useful. We transform its compounds into commodities. But wood is wood regardless of whether or not it becomes a table, as Marx goes on to describe in this passage. By seeing nature as discrete ‘things,’ we have reduced the natural world into parts to be measured, labeled, dissected, probed, questioned, consumed, discarded, and most violently, separated from ourselves. The dualism of nature and society has been called Cartesian by Jason W. Moore, which roots its provenance in the scientific revolution. Descartes’ mind/body separation predicated worldviews of the period; given that this is when classical ideas were restored and our conception of modern science was born, we hold onto this separation to this day. One such example is the way scientists work: observation, inductive reasoning, and the scientific method are means to ascertain knowledge about the natural world. There is a third force based on the same goals as science and capitalism: photography; or, at least a certain kinds of. Taking a photograph is an act of capturing, a kind of control, and a mechanism of transfor­mation. This photograph is both synecdoche and metonymy—separate from its context, cropped, More on page 85

On Earth



On Earth

MARK DORF (b. 1988, US)

Mark Dorf graduated from The Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A in Photography and Sculpture. Dorf’s work explores the post-analogue experience – society’s interactions with the digital world and its relationship to our natural origins. He has exhibited internationally, won several grants among which the Mayer Foundation grant in 2015 and his work is included in the Fidelity Investments Collection, the Deutsche Bank Collection, and the permanent collection of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Emergence has just been published in book form by In the In-Between Editions. Mark lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

KERRY DORAN (b.1990, US)

She is a writer, curator, and artist based in New York. She has written for Rhizome, Postmasters Gallery, and the Research Forum at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Currently, she is researching and archiving David Diao’s oeuvre for his upcoming solo exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, and contributing writings to the exhibition catalogue.





The first stage of seeing Mishka Henner’s Feedlots is one of puzzlement. One wonders exactly one is looking at and scrabbles for visual references that connect. In Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas (2013) your eye splits in two. First of all you go to the blood-red, pomegranate-shaped blob that dominates the picture. It looks like a pool of toxic waste or some kind of malignant cell. Nothing is exactly clear, so one looks around the picture, at the grid system of lines and enclosures that surround this bright red feature and make it apparent that this is a man-made feature. The scale is not certain though. In the second image on his website, Henner gives us further clues that play with this scale by focussing on a detail of the image. We see little dots in the enclosures. They look like clusters of streptococci, randomly dotted around their box-like enclosures, but also lined up against the sides of these boxes, or lined up around the tiny pondlets that mimic the giant blood-red feature that dominates the picture. That resemblance to bacterial shapes reinforces the malignant cell hypothesis. That’s why the detail is shown. But then the grid-system kicks in, the lines across the picute become roads, one realizes there’s a title, and everything becomes horribly clear. One is looking at a bird’s eye view of a cow farm and this is how these cows live. Meat comes from this farm that people eat as a matter of course, and those ponds are conglomerations of the manure that the animals produce, manure that is so rich in phosphates and nitrogen that it is useless as a fertiliser. The images are typical of Mishka Henner’s wider practice. Made

up of stitched together images sourced from Google Earth, the pictures in Feedlots combine Henner’s interest in surveillance, grids and the ways in which we look at the world. Perhaps the most important element of Henner’s work is his ability to identify key relationships within and between images, to isolate these within his work, and to communicate these to his audience in the most direct manner. In Feedlots, the relationship is that between the cows, the land and the toxic waste they create. It is staggeringly awful. This awfulness is what drew Henner to the project in the first place. He saw the feedlots while researching Google-Earth views of American landscape and was amazed by what he saw. What draws us to the pictures when we see them is exactly what drew Henner to the pictures when he first saw them. It’s true clickbait material in other words, but with a point to it.That awefulness, and the subsequent research into what the Feedlots were used for, became the basis of the project. So Henner scanned Google Earth for suitable sites (there was little visual information available online thanks to US ‘ag-gag’ laws that banned the photographing of feedlot sites – though not the use of Google Earth imagery) to create artwork from. Once identified, Henner made screenshots which were then stitched together to make the final works which are sized up as 1.8m prints. Henner’s Feedlots can be seen as example of the Digital Sublime. It’s work that is reminiscent of the pictures of David Maisel or Ed Burtynsky, but made in a studio rather than in the field. Ultimately however, these More on page 105

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An artist working with photography who focuses on appropriation and surveillance issues. His works have been exhibited internationally in numerous group show, and are held in the collections of the Tate Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris amongst others. Mishka is a member of the ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative. He lives and works in Manchester, UK.


A writer, lecturer and photographer based in Bath, England. His photographic work focusses on his immediate domestic environment. He writes for a range of publications including Photo-Eye, The British Journal of Photography, and his blog, Colin Pantall’s Blog. He is also on the editorial and artistic committees of the Photobook Bristol and Gazebook Sicily Festivals. Pantall currently works as a Senior Lecturer on the Documentary Photo­ graphy Course at the University of South Wales in Cardiff.





November 2015 is something of a milestone in the history of National Geographic Indonesia. Not because of some amazing scoop, record sales, or a scandal of some kind. The reason was that in the brief history of National Geographic Indonesia (founded in 2005) the magazine had never appeared without a photo or illustration on the cover. In big, elegant letters it stated: Maaf. Tak ada gambar indah untuk perubahan iklim. Mampukah kita bertahan. In translation: Sorry. There are no beautiful images of climate change. Can we survive? The local editors had decided to produce this issue on the theme of climate change without a cover photo. Simply because, in their view it was impossible to portray climate change with a beautiful photo. When it comes to breaking National Geographic traditions, visual artist Melanie Bonajo pipped National Geographic Indonesia to the post. The first issue of the MB_Matrix Botanica series, launched by Melanie Bonajo in September 2015, has the familiar yellow design of a National Geographic magazine. Like National Geographic Indonesia, Bonajo did not go for a single aesthetically pleasing image in the traditional National Geographic manner. Instead, her cover shows a gorilla playing a stringed instrument, a crocodile snatching a burger from a disposable plate and a baby elephant watching a sea lion in an aquarium. While the photos are clearly taken by different photographers and have a certain snapshot quality, National Geographic’s characteristic yellow border, handy format and glossy paper are all present.

In recent years, Bonajo has collected over 7,000 amateur images of non-human species on Internet. All this while she has been looking intuitively for something that now manifests itself in her publication. ‘Nature photos used to be divided into categories: lions sleeping was one category, another category was lions eating and then there was the lions reproducing category. That was it. Now the rise of digital photography has made it possible to place photos into far more hybrid categories.’ Bonajo’s categories range from images of NonHuman Persons and Food, Non-Human Persons and Disaster to Non-Human Persons and Escapes and Non-Human Persons and Trash. Using forty series of images and various discussions with animal trauma processing specialist Gay A. Bradshaw, evolutionary biologist Tijs Goldschmidt, zoologist Temple Grandin, visual artist Terike Haapoja and professor and writer Randy Malamud, Melanie Bonajo shows how the easy availability of images and their quick circulation on Internet has changed our view of nature and wildlife. The discussions with these specialists were based on a list of questions that Bonajo drew up while collecting the images. ‘Isn’t it time that all non-human persons in the zoo meet each other?’, ‘Is nature our community or our commodity?’, ‘Does this imply that ‘animals’ should have human rights?’ The publication developed into an investigative visual document about the disproportional balance of power between people and animals. A rat features in the Non-Human Persons and War section. Tied to a line, the creature searches meekly for mines. Like rats, More on page 125

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An artist whose work examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort. Her work has been exhibited and performed in international art institutions, such as EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam; Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway; De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; Foam, Amsterdam; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Moscow Biennale; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul. Her most recent work, the film Night Soil / Economy of Love has been produced and screened by Schunck, Heerlen (2015), and was shown at AKINCI, Amsterdam (2015) and EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam (2016). She lives and works between Amsterdam and New York.

KIM KNOPPERS (b. 1976, NL)

Kim has been a curator at Foam Museum since 2011. She was previously curator at De Beyerd Center of Contemporary Art. She has curated group exhibitions including Remind (2003), Exotics (2008) Snow is White (2010, together with Joris Jansen) and Re-Search (2012), and solo exhibitions by WassinkLundgren, Onorato & Krebs, Jan Hoek, Lorenzo Vitturi, Jan Rosseel, JH Engstrรถm, Geert Goiris and Broomberg & Chanarin amongst others. She lives and works in Amsterdam.



What makes a landscape political? When we make one another aware of a landscape we tend to say ‘Look at the view.’ Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, W.J.T. Mitchell, mentions in his preface to the second edition of the book Landscape and Power (2002) that the expression suggests that the invitation to look at landscape does not point the viewer to look at anything specific, but rather to appreciate a vista or a scene that may be dominated by some specific feature but is not reducible to it. Thus a landscape can be read or viewed in many ways, resulting in a certain ‘indeterminacy of affect’, as Mitchell calls it. Looking at how we view a place is ultimately about who is looking. Consequently, any political meaning assigned to a landscape is always in the eye of the beholder. On Earth


cized through the eye of the beholder. The meaning of landscape exists between vision and sight, which is ultimately conceptualized in the diptych Regarding Distance (2010) by Yazan Khalili. One photograph, titled The Image, displays a landscape: one has to let the eye wander across the image to notice a little shiny spot on the horizon - Jerusalem’s Umayyad Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The other picture shows a canteenlike space with a large poster of the Dome of the Rock on the back wall, seemingly paradoxically called The Landscape. The purpose or function of the Dome is uncertain, but Muslims around the world believe it was built to commemorate Prophet Muhammad’s Ascension (mirdj) from the Rock to Heaven. According to the artist, pictures of the Dome are ‘found hanging on every wall and the background of every poster’. For the post second Intifada generation, who are not allowed to visit Jerusalem and its Temple Mount, the whole city is reduced to this image. This is why the first photograph The Image is, from the Palestinian point of view, a landscape solely encountered as image, as it’s the only spot where the green ID card holders can see the Dome of the Rock with bare eyes. In Khalili’s The Landscape, the Dome of the Rock on the poster marks a place that can only be appropriated by a whole generation of Palestinians

through its visual reproduction within the landscape of their demarcated living space. Regarding Distance underscores that the view of this landmark undeniably becomes the representation of inaccessible three-dimensional space, symbolizing the Palestinian struggle and resistance. The point of view Khalili’s photograph The Image offers, places the viewer in relation to it. It requires a certain self-determination by the viewer: are you a Palestinian, an Israeli, a western or perhaps an Arab outsider? Who is looking? While this does not demand to choose what side one is on, it does emphasize the possibility of parallel readings of the contested landscape within one image. It turns our attention to what references we use in the justification of belonging to a place, that are not marked in any landscape photograph, but in one’s mind.

MIRJAM KOOIMAN (b. 1990, NL) is curator at Foam Photography Museum Amsterdam. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Amsterdam, with a special interest in postcolonial approaches in the arts and museum studies. She previously served as a curator in training at the photography collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Mirjam lives and works in Amsterdam.

The Politicized Landscape



In a time in which everyone can and does record the landscape, its appearance is becoming increasingly generic. The basis for this lies in photography, and in earlier techniques of the visual arts. More than half a century ago, the American painter Mark Rothko already managed to recreate the sublime sensation that nature can bring about with simply a horizon and two rectangles. It demonstrated how the landscape is engraved on our memories. But what does its future look like? On Earth



1. Imagine: the landscape of Yosemite National Park in California, 250 kilometres east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada. You can probably see it before you without ever having been there. By now millions of photos must have been taken by the tourists who immerse themselves in it every day. Yet the landscape photos by classic American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) are still the best known. Over the years they have been reproduced in countless books and calendars, and they float about all over the internet. These are the photos that have determined the image of the American West in the twentieth century, crystal clear black-and-white shots of spectacular mountain landscapes in which Adams carefully avoids all traces of the tourist industry and the day-trippers. He created an ideal image of the landscape, a romantic longing for a timeless paradise – and extremely aesthetically pleasing pictures at the same time. A Beautiful Landscape


Ansel Adams was not the only photographer on the Sierra Club’s board of directors. The less well known Eliot Porter (1901-1990) was another who enthusiastically occupied that dual role. Like those of Adams, Porter’s photos were seen by millions and shared with American presidents and members of congress. What set them apart was colour, used by Porter to show both the beauty of nature and its fragility. In contrast to Adams’ sweeping views and spectacular panoramas, Porter often zoomed in on details of the landscape. He believed that close-ups of nature were better able to convey the complexity of ecological interaction. His book The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado was published by the Sierra Club as part of an attempt to prevent the building of a hydroelectric power station. The colour photos of gulches, rock walls and hidden canyons, all carved out by flowing rivers, failed to stop the building of the dam, but they did contribute to the decision to review all building projects along rivers in the American West and to the passing of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Enthusiastic reactions to his work, as well as the political

Eliot Porter (1901-1990), Pool in a Brook, Pond Brook, Near Whiteface, New Hampshire, October 1953. Dye imbibition print ©Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas P1990.58.7.9

Ansel Adams was a tireless campaigner for the environment and more politically active than his work would suggest. From the age of seventeen he was a member of the Sierra Club, one of the oldest and biggest environmental organizations in the world. Adams’ photos were first actively deployed when the Sierra Club was campaigning to turn the Kings Canyon Region, a four-hour drive from Yosemite, into a national park. Walter Starr, a prominent businessman, along with the president of the Sierra Club, asked Adams to make a book in memory of his son, who had died as a young man while mountaineering. Sierra Nevada: The John Muir trail appeared in 1938 in a limited print run of 500 copies and was Adams’ first photobook. The photographer sent a copy to Harold Ickes, US Secretary of the Interior, who in turn gave it to President Roosevelt to persuade him to lend his support to the Kings Canyon National Park initiative. On 4 March 1940 Roosevelt signed a law making Kings Canyon an official part of the national parks system. The head of the national park service said to Adams, ‘I realized that a silent but most effective voice in the campaign was your own book.’1

On Earth


Installation shot from FOREST LAW | SELVA JURÍDICA ON THE COSMOPOLITICS OF AMAZONIA, 2014 © Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, courtesy of the artists

with all kinds of green plants. ‘This is my pharmacy. [...] In the last two hundred years of industrialized life, the world viewed nature as a provider of resources, without respecting it. But we have to understand that nature is alive, that’s why she gives us food, that’s why she reacts, that’s why she defends herself. […] These are the concepts we put forth in court.’ Another table is slowly filled by a man in a white suit. He takes samples from the ground and puts them on the table. In the publication that accompanies the exhibition we read that he is carrying out forensic tests in one of the open pits of the Lago Agrio oilfields.3 The video in Forest Law does not stand in isolation but is part of a presentation in which archival material, legal documents, cartographic analyses and fragments of court cases are brought together to form a kaleidoscopic whole that shows different perspectives on the case. The exhibition offers a disturbing portrait of human-earth interaction, and the viewer is provided with plenty of background information and food for thought. Beauty as a means of persuasion is not abandoned altogether, but it is placed within a context that helps to tell a complex story about today’s world. That story can no longer be capA Beautiful Landscape

tured in a single idealized image of nature, as it was by Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter. The effects on the earth of human activities are part of longterm processes in which changes are not immediately visible. Nor are they always particularly photogenic. There is a need, furthermore, to provide an insight into the complex relationships between science, power, politics, economics, law and technology. As a result, projects have arisen of which photography is a part but other media such as video or sound are at least as important in conveying the complexity of the material. The challenge for the coming years is to attract the attention of opinion-formers, decision-makers and a wide audience, so that such projects do not remain confined to the exclusive terrain of the white cube or the black box.

1 h ttps:// watch?v=Ai2KI3s2c8w on Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail 2 Paul Martineau and Eliot Porter. In the Realm of Nature, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2012 3 Ursula Biemann and Paolo Tavares, Forest Law, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, 2014

KIM KNOPPERS (b. 1976, NL) has been a curator at Foam Museum since 2011. She was previously curator at De Beyerd Center of Contemporary Art. She has curated group exhibitions including Remind (2003), Exotics (2008) Snow is White (2010, together with Joris Jansen) and Re-Search (2012), and solo exhibitions by WassinkLundgren, Onorato & Krebs, Jan Hoek, Lorenzo Vitturi, Jan Rosseel, JH Engström, Geert Goiris and Broomberg & Chanarin amongst others. She lives and works in Amsterdam.





The familiar assumption about contemporary practice in photography has been that the advent of digital technology instigated a crisis in how we think about the medium and this in turn has prompted a renewed interest in the qualities, especially material qualities that are specific to photography itself. The crisis has been one of identity. The answers provided by this work haven’t always been convincing, not least because the question of what photography is now seems far less urgent than the question of what it does or of what we do with it. In his recent work Thomas Albdorf is concerned with the latter of these approaches to questioning photo­ graphy, in a way that both extends the sculptural direction of his work so far and manages to move our understanding of photography into the realm of its use. I Know I Will See What I Have Seen Before is very much a self-enclosed work that strongly resonates with contemporary concerns. It does not, however, repeat often formulaic notions of photography’s materiality that are just another re-hash of the late modern obsession with medium specificity. Instead, Albdorf concentrates on exposing the visual codes that facilitate how pictures are used. In order to do this, he takes a particular subject and employs it as a case study. Although the term ‘deconstruction’ has a specific philosophical sense that doesn’t really apply here, in its more common definition of ‘taking apart’ we can indeed see that this work is a sort of de-construction, reverse engineering a genre of image-making to reveal what its constituent elements are

and how they work together to produce a particular effect. In that sense, he is not simply photographing mountains for their own sake – though there is a definite sense that he does actually like them as a subject; at the same time, he is employing a known vocabulary to show how an idea and a way of seeing are disseminated by being pictured. The structure of the series and its title demonstrate this idea of repe­ tition. We are seeing what we have seen before, but this time with the action of the pictures fore-grounded, not so much for what that tells us about photography itself, but for what it suggests about our seeing – and understanding – of the world around us. After all, if we only see what we expect to see (that is, to see what we’ve seen before) then any truly new knowledge of the world requires a fundamental break in those habits of seeing. In truth Albdorf’s work is not such a break in itself and isn’t presented that way. Instead he uses it to reflect on how a particular set of pictorial conditions leads to a given understanding of what is being seen. To this end he employs an explicit set of references to the Romantic fascination with wild mountain landscapes and the way in which that fascination has permeated the culture, a diffused copy cut off from its original source, but still oddly resonant as a part of a shared vocabulary. The Romantic conception of untamed nature was itself a precursor to an age of intensive industrial development that brought with it the means to control, indeed to dominate, the forces of nature. The question that Albdorf frames More on page 161

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On Earth


He studied Transmediale Kunst at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, where he graduated in 2013. In January 2014, he has been selected as one of British Journal of Photography‘s Ones to Watch. His work has been exhibited throughout galleries in Austria, Germany, Sweden, France, UK & the United States, and he has been featured in magazines and blogs like British Journal of Photography, It’s Nice That, Phaidon UK, Computer Arts Magazine, American Suburb X, Paper Journal, Eloquence Magazine, Aint Bad, Mossless. He currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria.


Darren Campion writes about contemporary practices in photography. Since 2009 he has maintained The Incoherent Light, a blog dedicated to exploring various perspectives on the medium. He is a frequent contributor to several publications, most notably Super Massive Black Hole, Of the Afternoon and Paper Journal, where he has a regular series of features.






‘The American West is a weird place,’ a friend from Los Angeles said to me while we travelled through the wide and white salt flats of Utah, to the west of Salt Lake City. He had moved to New York City a decade ago, but returns to the American West each year, to visit his selfproclaimed tiny Republic of Zaqistan, the size of a soccer field, where he builds monuments to embellish his nation and invites artists to do projects. As we walked through the semi-desert, full of thorny sagebrush, our rucksacks were filled with water more than anything else. Water is the keyword. Water is the crux making life and sustained human presence possible in the extremely arid wilderness of the southwestern states. Whereas The Netherlands is all about keeping the water out, the American West is all about hauling the water in. Water is also a recurring, and often implicit, theme in the extensive photo series Edges of the Experiment, made in the American West over the course of the first decade of our new millennium, by Dutch photographer Marie-José Jongerius. Los Angeles was a first destination, to photograph actors and directors who had worked on movies that attracted Jongerius to the American West in the first place, classics such as Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969), Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) and Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984). While venturing out back inland from Los Angeles, to meet the people she was to portray, Jongerius gradually got intrigued by the vast and arid landscapes she encountered, up to the point that the landscape changed into the protagonist for her photography.

Everyone who has seen movies set in the American West can have the feeling of having been there. And even while being there, one can feel not being there for real, especially when travelling in an air-conditioned car, music on the radio, and plenty water in the trunk. ‘There is friction between the landscapes in your head and the real landscape,’ Jongerius told me. There’s something brewing in the land, tectonic dangers one won’t become aware of through the films set in that landscape, because most of them have happy endings. Jongerius explored the hinterlands of such water-sucking cities as L.A., Las Vegas and Phoenix, in rented jeeps and often alone, to reach a focus and come to the heart of the matter. The resulting, carefully framed photographs, shot with a technical camera from an often, slightly elevated standpoint, show a schizophrenic West. A land that despite being very inhospitable to human presence, is constantly being encroached upon by humans, so to achieve a fragile and extremely vulnerable equilibrium, enabling sprawled cities, golf courses and hydrophilic agriculture to exist – but against which price (ecologically and financially) and for how long? Jongerius’ photographs are emblematic of that brittle state of human affairs in the American southwest. For all the beauty of the sun-drenched landscapes shining through, her images seem to prophetically point towards a dystopian future. A future like the rear side of the billboard with the white paint flaking off and a desperate attempt in the background to generate some wind power to scale back on our gasoline-addicted economy. A photograph taken in Taft, More on page 181

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On Earth

Marie-José Jongerius is a photo­ grapher and researcher, based in Amsterdam. In her landscape pictures she looks for boundaries, limits and edges between nature and the manmade world. Jongerius studied at Royal Academy of Visual Arts, BA photography, The Hague. Before Edges of the Experiment (2015) she published Sweetwater (2001), Lunar Landscapes (2012) and Concrete Wilderness (2014). Taco Hidde Bakker is a freelance writer, researcher and translator based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He regularly publishes about photography and art for a range of international media, among which Camera Austria International, British Journal of Photography, Be Magazin and EXTRA. His essay contribution to Edges of the Experiment (Marie-José Jongerius & Hans Gremmen, eds.) is about how Monument Valley became an icon over the course of the twentieth century.






Ocean of Images, the title of the most recent incarnation of MoMA’s annual New Photography exhibition, is an effective term to describe the overloaded image culture that we have found ourselves swimming, and perhaps sometimes drowning in. The term sheds light on multiple lines of curiosity and raises questions that have defined recent areas of photographic production: What do we make of the existence of such an endless supply of photographs? How does such a degree of image saturation affect our ideas of originality? And what meaning can be found in the banal repetitions of subject and aesthetics that span the integrated networks of online media? If we continue with the metaphor of The Ocean, Anastasia Samoylova’s work, Landscape Sublime, casts attention to one river that feeds it: a pervasive subset of photography known as the picturesque landscape. Samoylova’s genre-breaking work is comprised of these types of pictures, mined and printed from the web, folded and shaped, arranged into table top sculptural arrangements, then photographed as still life. Ana’s highly stylized constructions are comprised of elegant geome­trical systems of color and space, and employ a degree of formal purpose that we often encounter in commercial imagery. Pictorial formalism offers it’s viewers a promise of something better than the actual; a product, lifestyle or notion depicted as such that, if we buy into it, we can for a moment suspend our disbelief of a life where everything is ordered, perfect, and beautiful. A simple Google search of ‘beautiful landscape’ yields thousands of photo-

graphs of coastlines, sunny vistas, and enchanting mountains. The same types of images are often encountered in calendars, motivational posters, desktop backgrounds, and office spaces among countless other common picture spaces. These imagetypes adhere to the principles of idealism, and offer their viewers scenes that attempt to translate the sublimity of natural phenomena into visual form. Such a mediated experience of seeing, however, does not express to the critical eye a sense of ‘Thereness’ so much as it offers a replacement for it, one that is codified not so dissimilarly from a car commercial, a bikini-clad woman posing on a beach, or a magazine ad for yogurt. There’s a strong measure of salesmanship involved when the formal is invoked, and scrolling through image search results for landscape photographs may be more akin to strolling through a shopping mall than sightseeing in a national park.

Landscape Sublime offers a new syntax for this style of imagery, as Samoylova utilizes the pictorial elements and physical prints of her source pictures to fabricate her own compositions. While referencing the surrounding issues of commercial beautification, and in a studio setting which mirrors product photography, Samoylova also interrogates pictures in a line of questing directed towards their basic components: light, color, and form. When all is said and done, one summarization of her work is a lively and clever metacommentary that uses images of nature to describe the nature of images.

More on page 201

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An artist and educator based in upstate New York. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and included in the collection at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and ArtSlant Prize col­lection in Paris. She serves as assistant professor of photography at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, MA An American artist and writer, and Founding Editor of In the In-Between: Journal of Digital Imaging Artists. His practice examines and re-authors existing image products through the mechanisms of digital and internet based tools, and focuses attention on the politics of photographs and other images common to the American cultural lexicon. Gregory is currently an MFA candidate at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY.





Somewhere between Norway and the North Pole, hidden deep inside a mountain on the island of Spitsbergen, lies the largest seed collection in the world. A concrete corridor sticking out of the bare mountainside leads to the 1.5 million seeds that are saved there, all of them carefully packaged and labelled. The scenery looks apocalyptic; it is empty and desolate, with no vegetation, no people, only snow and ice, as if you’ve landed in the end of time. But appearances are deceiving. These are precisely the right conditions to protect life in the form of seeds from natural disasters and damage from war. The first withdrawal from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was in 2015, when Syrians working at the seed bank in Aleppo needed seeds they had previously deposited in Spitsbergen as a precaution. Thus the Svalbard Global Seed Vault functions as the ‘backup to the backup’, a kind of meta-archive bringing together seed banks from all over the world. Gathering food for survival and saving it for hard times is as old as humanity.The hunter-gatherers of 2.4 million years ago lived by hunting animals and gathering edible herbs, berries and other plants. And in the Old Testament, Noah built an ark and put a male and female of every species on earth in it. Commanded by his God, he ensured that his collection would guarantee the continued existence of the world’s creatures once torrential rain covered the whole earth. As in the examples above, plants and seeds, natural disasters and gathering are brought together in the project Herbarium Cataplasma by Laurence Aëgerter. Aëgerter adds one new aspect: that of the ritual.

In 2013 Aëgerter was invited by the municipality of Leeuwarden, in the Dutch province of Friesland, to come up with an idea to for a piece of barren land in a disadvantaged neighbourhood, where the Galilea monastery had stood in the Middle Ages. Working with local residents, Aëgerter created a medicinal herb garden. As inspiration, she used the design of the oldest therapeuthic herb garden in Europe from the world-famous abbey of Sankt Gallen (9th century), in what is today Switzerland. Survi­ ving sources tell us that the monks grew plants for the local community and for their own use. Lovage, for example, a tall green plant with a hollow stem, was used for sore throats as well as the plague. Other plants were used to heal open wounds. In addition, the garden was a place for contemplation – a place where through physical labour, one could calm one’s mind. Together with residents, Aëgerter changed a plot of barren ground into an herb garden full of medicinal plants such as sage, cumin, fennel, calendula, mint and poppy. Working in the garden got people together and reinforced connections between people in the neighbourhood. Today, the garden is being run entirely by the local residents, and has been expanded to include a vegetable garden and the online community De Groene Apotheek (‘the green pharmacy’). The second part of Herbarium Cataplasma consisted of Healing Plants for Hurt Landscapes (2015), which had a ritual and healing significance. Aëgerter used websearch to select 100 photos of landscapes from all over the world that had More on page 221

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Unexpected Marriages


Daisuke Yokota x Broken Twin

Celebrating Startling Collaborations


In 2013 Foam and record label Epitaph/Anti- collaborated on a number of exciting projects, amongst which the launch of WAITS/CORBIJN ‘77-’11, the book that celebrates the artistic collaboration between Anton Corbijn and Tom Waits, published by Schirmer/Mosel. During Unseen that year, many different collaborations found their initial spark. We are delighted to share here one of them: Broken Twin aka Majke Voss Romme, a Danish songwriter part of the Anti- family, paired up with Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota for a video artwork with her music, and his images.



Roxana Marcoci July 27, 2010 New York

October 4, 2013 Carnegie

February 7, 2014 Rotterdam

March 6, 2014 New York

May 8, 2014 New York

May 13, 2014 New York

May 16, 2014 New York

June 12, 2014 Berlin

June 18, 2014 Basel

Roxana Marcoci is the Senior Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York where she organized major solo exhibitions as well as surveys including Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980 (2015). The recipient of Ph.D. in Art History, Theory and Criticism from IFA, New York University, Marcoci publishes frequently on modern and contemporary art. June 24, 2014 Moscow

July 22, 2014 New York

January 23, 2015 Utah

March 14, 2015 Saint Louis

May 10, 2015 Montauk

June 6, 2015 New York

June 10, 2015 Moscow

June 18, 2015 New York

September 8, 2015 New York


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