PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR. AGAIN! â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Lucie Award
THE OTHER ISSUE
4 On My Mind 6 Bookshelf 8 What’s New 12 Interview 22 Theme Text
33 Henk Wildschut 45 Joji Hashiguchi 57 John Edmonds 73 Lisetta Carmi 87 Daniel Everett & Mårten Lange 113 Gloria Oyarzabal 125 Mark Dorf 137 Jim Goldberg 153 Kiluanji Kia Henda 165 Batia Suter 193 Patrick Waterhouse 213 Chloe Dewe Mathews 227 Arko Datto 241 Rob Hornstra 257 Matthieu Gafsou 273 Bart Eysink Smeets
The Other Issue explores the many declinations of the word other in connection to photography and visual culture. We investigate its creation and ramifications in relation to people and nature — along a spectrum that touches upon transhumanism and the ‘other-than-human’, in connection to the Anthropocene and ecology. The presented portfolios re-appropriate and redress entrenched power balances, propose forms of resistance, resilience, and rejection, focus on under-represented communities, investigate the tourist’s gaze, expose the cabinet of curiosities and question stories and narratives that art history has provided us.
LAIA ABRIL When I started On Abortion in 2015, I had crafted a very detailed plan of seven chapters for the A History of Misogyny project. By that time, I had worked already for almost six years on women’s stories — including my very first longterm project On Eating Disorders. I was obsessed with invisible stories, I wanted to tell the stories happening around me, the ones I could understand deeply; and sometimes which I was struggling myself with, who happened to be a woman. But these seemed to be uninteresting to those who decided what was newsworthy back then. And the more I researched about women struggles worldwide, the more I couldn’t believe how those headlines were not being on the cover of the newspapers everyday. The more I started to detect problematic aspects in my own society, the more people would point out how the issues were ‘much worse in the past’ and that now only were happening ‘somewhere else’. And I guess this is how the project was born. From here on, all the plans would be organically altered with every step. On Abortion, which was never a title of my seven-chapter-plan, would become the first thanks to a series of external and personal factors. Having lived the most part of my professional career abroad, as well as permanently trying to have a global vision of life, kind of surprised me, that what shook the objective was a Spanish attempt of making the law more restrictive. That and how a 1998 draconian law in El Salvador, that would leave women dying before having abortions, had led a modern witch hunt that would also have imprision for 30 years dozens of women after having miscarriages. This first project fit perfectly my aim of visualising — and now conceptualising — one of the biggest taboos and invisible topics of all times. As well as framed the hesitant women’s rights aspect in the center of my research. It’s very curious when the personal is political, it’s something that you learn empirically more than intellectually. When the #metoo movement was at its peak, was also the time I had to choose the second topic of the series. It was an unprecedented situation: thousands of women around me started to realise they had normalised what was not normal, and the neglected stories I was planning on telling seemed that all of the sudden were welcome to be told. However something was off, but I was just not sure what was yet. Then it happened again. It was 2018 and crowds of women were furious and would not leave the streets of Spain. After a grotesque public trial, the five men [La Manada] who gangraped an 18-year-old woman in a building lobby during San F ermin Festival, and filmed the whole thing with their phones, were sentenced with abuse rather than rape, because she didn’t show enough signs of struggle. Even if in Spain we are not strangers to untrustworthy systems, I was so impressed by this miscarriage of justice, that I felt forced to address this issue. I wanted to u nderstand why and how the structure had failed her so deeply.
1 ALINA, KYRGYZSTAN I saw my husband for the first time on my wedding day. His friends drove me to him. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to handle it as I was furious with him. I loved another man and dreamed of becoming his wife. Instead I was forced to marry the man who had kidnapped me. At first, when I confronted him he was silent, then he apologised. My sister had also been taken in the past but had run away. My religious ceremony [Nike] was organised very quickly and officially registered immediately so that I couldn’t withdraw from it. Before that, I was a 21 year old student in my fourth year at Arabaev University. I wanted to be a fashion designer. During the holidays I went to visit my family as I didn’t want to stay alone in the residency, fearing I might suffer the same fate as my sister; so I travelled on New Year’s Eve. I remember happily baking the day before, then I went to visit my sister and on the way home I was ravished. When my family arrived at the kidnapper’s home, my mother wanted to bring me back but my grandmother asked me not to disgrace my family, especially after my sister had run away and people in the village had talked about it for a long time. I began crying, but my grandmother begged me to stay there. So I did.
LAIA ABRIL is a multidisciplinary artist working with photography, text, video and sound in research-based projects. Her work is held in various private collections and museums. Her new long-term project A History of Misogyny has been granted by the Visionary Award and the Magnum Foundation; and her book On Abortion won the 2018 Aperture-Paris Photo best book of the year and was a nominee of the Deutsche Börse Award in 2019. Laia Abril has just been named as the recipient of the Foam Paul Huf Award 2020.
Alinka Echeverría in conversation with Graciela Iturbide
RITU AL S Images by Alinka Echeverría and Graciela Iturbide
by Elisa Medde
HENK WILDSCHUT Rooted
Since the elaboration of the dichotomy between self and other, or better said in contemporary terms, self and non-self, the frame of reference has profoundly changed. We as humans can also be post-humans, our self can encompass many versions and can also evolve into new, augmented versions. Our bodies can be changed, parts can be replaced, our appearance can be modified permanently as a consequence to damage or to satisfy a need for improvement, of becoming one’s true self. Potentially endless possibilities open up — the same possibility of existence of anything normative has to be radically reconsidered. Not only in terms of human geography but also, and especially, in terms of space. If we go past the division amongst us humans, are we able to locate ourselves within the larger scheme of things? That is, are we able to see, and name, a system that includes what is other-than-human? Are we able to perceive the space around us, all that is non human — nature, animals, elements — as not at our service and not functional to our own existence? Are we able to place ourselves out of that famous centre? And what if that central perspective actually turns out to be pointing in two different directions? As we as humans are finally confronted with the fact that nature is actually in charge — ironically enough putting us in the role of the other — we are finding ourselves confused and disoriented, suddenly scared by our fragility when faced with forces that are potentially beyond our control — a climate catastrophe, a new virus. On the other hand, times of chaos and change also open up unexpected forces and possibilities, the perspective on an activation process that does not need dominance and subalternity to exist, but thrives on difference and uniqueness, putting technology and craft at its service.
All images from the series Shtumer Alef © Katinka Goldberg, courtesy of the artist KATINKA GOLDBERG (b. 1981, SE/NO) lives and works in Oslo. She has been educated in Sweden and France and has a BFA in photography from the art academy in Edinburgh. Her ongoing project Shtumer Alef is the third part of a trilogy that thematically concerns relationships, intimacy, and distance. Goldberg explores not only interpersonal relationships but also connections within and between forms of visual expression. Goldberg’s first part of her trilogy is Surfacing, a photobook that was released 2011 by Journal. Surfacing is included in The Photobook: A History VOL III by Martin Parr / Gerry Badger. Goldberg has exhibited extensively both in Norway and abroad. Her latest solo exhibition was at Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall 2019 in Norway. Goldberg is currently showing her work at the modern art museum Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo as a part of their collective exhibition Norwegian Documentary Photography. In September she will exhibit the same project at Trondheim art museum and at Nordiclight Festival. During 2020/2021 Journal will publish Goldbergs work Bristningar and Shtumer Alef as photobooks.
44 era at the tiny patches of green. It became clear to him that the creation and maintenance of a garden was a way for uprooted camp residents to grow roots again, to settle into new surroundings, a way to stress their individuality and maintain a sense of being human. The potted plants or laboriously cultivated little plots are also a living reminder of home. As the plants grow, the spirit is invigorated. In Rooted, designed by Robin Uleman like Shelter and Ville de Calais, Wildschut includes short texts describing where the plants in the photos originated and how they came to be distributed all over the world. Take the red geranium in a pot in front of a brown floral-patterned curtain in Bar Elias in the B eqaa Valley in Lebanon. It is originally from South Africa; Dutch botanists brought the plant to Europe in the 17th century. It needs relatively little care and symbolises endurance. Along with the photos, the encyclopaedic entries tell us about the circumstances in which life goes on in the camp, about how fragile new life can be kindled and how it can be stifled again — when the camp floods, for example, as seen in the book’s bleak ending. Rooted is filled with compassion. Once again, Wildschut portrays refugees without directly photographing them. With his photos of plants and gardens, he
JOJI HASHIGUCHI We Have No Place to Be 1980–1982
tells a metaphorical and many-layered story about the camp dwellers. This artistic choice, consistent throughout the migration trilogy, does justice to the complexity of the problems surrounding the current refugee crisis, which are all about visibility and invisibility, acknowledgement and denial, the temporary and the structural, the restrained and the uncontrolled, and the often complex tension between political and social realities. The photographer’s respect for the ingenuity, creativity and adaptability of the people he meets in refugee camps runs through the entire trilogy, forming an antidote to the exclusion and indifference growing rampant all around us. — Text by Kim Knoppers 1 Calais has never been an official refugee camp. Time and again, measures were introduced to prevent a camp from springing up. Three years have passed since the last large-scale eviction. Migrants continue coming to Calais and Dunkirk in the hope of making the crossing to the UK. Choucha was an official refugee camp until it was closed by the UNHCR in 2015. Refugees who had nowhere else to go remained behind. See also Kim Knoppers, ‘Empire — Samuel Gratacap’, Foam Magazine #45, 2016.
All images from the series Rooted © Henk Wildschut, courtesy of the artist HENK WILDSCHUT is a socially engaged photographer who studies and shares socio-political events in exhibition and book format. His projects are broadly about uprooting and alienation; about people who through misfortune or other inescapable circumstances find themselves forced to improvise in order to survive. Henk studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and lives and works in Amsterdam. KIM KNOPPERS is an art historian graduated from University of Amsterdam, and curator at Foam. Since 2011, she has worked on group and solo exhibitions, most recently Lorenzo Vitturi’s Materia Impura, Morpher III by Kévin Bray and Extendable Ears by Sheng-Wen Lo. She has contributed to various magazines including Foam Magazine, Unseen and Aperture and has written catalogue texts for Jaya Pelupessy and Sylvain CouzinetJacques, amongst others. She is also a lecturer on the MA Photography at ECAL in Lausanne where she initiated and developed the course Do Not Disturb — Curating in Progress.
56 While it brings together images from six different cities across three continents, the project is less about the specificities of each place than the shared experience of being forced to search for a space in which to forge one’s identity. In Hashiguchi’s photographs, the city itself mostly acts as a backdrop. He favours the portrait, his subjects filling the frame and often staring directly into his camera. In many of these there are smiles, but these moments of mirth only briefly illuminate an altogether darker picture. When out shooting, Hashiguchi also brought a tape recorder with which to record the people he encountered. The quotes that open each chapter of the book capture a prevailing sense of being at once carefree and adrift. In the words of
JOHN EDMONDS A Sidelong Glance
an anonymous 16-year-old ‘heroin a ddict’ from West Berlin, ‘There’s always some sadness in happiness. We’ll never be completely happy.’ Beyond its youthful and rebellious energy, We Have No Place to Be offers an early glimpse of the failure of the post-war project. The cities Hashiguchi photographed have all undergone profound transformations over the last four decades, but the sentiment captured in the title of the series still hangs heavy in the air. While our understanding of identity has arguably become far broader and more accepting, the question of the spaces in which this identity can be expressed is one to which we have found too few answers. — Text by Marc Feustel
All images from the series We Have No Place to Be 1980–1982 © Joji Hashiguchi, courtesy of the artist JOJI HASHIGUCHI was born in Kagoshima, Japan in 1940. He received an award for the 18th Taiyo Prize for Shisen (The Look) and in 1981, he published and exhibited his show domestically and internationally. Hashiguchi’s major publications include Seventeen 2001–2006 (2008), Couple (1992), Father (1990), Seventeen’s Map (1988) and many o thers. The book We Have No Place to Be 1980-1982 was published in 2020 by Session Press MARC FEUSTEL is an independent curator, writer and editor based in Paris. A specialist in Japanese photo graphy, he has curated several exhibitions including Tokyo Stories (Kultur huset, Stockholm), Eikoh Hosoe: Theatre of Memory (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney), Okinawa: une exception japonaise (Le Plac’Art Photo, Paris). Recent book projects include Michael Wolf: Works (2017), the first retrospective catalogue of Michael Wolf ’s work, and BLACKOUT by Hitoshi Fugo (2018). He writes regularly about photography and photobooks for publications including British Journal of Photography, The Eyes, Foam, IMA, The PhotoBook Review and Polka.
72 ments of the studio converge and diverge? We might look to Moten, ‘Therefore, one way to think of Blackness-as-abolitionism is as the site where madness and melos converge. It’s the site of a kind of unruly music that moves in disruptive, improvisational excess — as opposed to a kind of absenting negation — of the very idea of the (art)work, and it is also the site of a certain lawless, fugitive theatricality, something on the order of that drama that Zora Neale H urston argues is essential to black life.’ 1 So we might indeed understand Edmonds’ work to enact a series of critiques of art history, the museum, the gaze, of whose imaginaries and loves and deemed worthy of imaging and imagining. Yet, following Moten, we cannot understand these photographs as performing the negative a ffects associated with critique and opposition, nor can we understand them to be at all times critical and oppositional. That Moten focuses on melodrama, a genre o ften considered retrograde and complicit, or, alternatively, reclaimed as always a lready latently critical, is telling. Ultimately, it is harder to talk about touch and gesture than art history or art criticism, at least as we practice them now,
LISETTA CARMI I Travestiti
because the former are neither critical nor complicit and they tend to exceed language and the image. Touch is a harbinger of love and violence simultaneously. It is nostalgic and it hopes for the future, that the loved one might someday come to reciprocate, that the movie might end as it should. Touch and gesture and love require rest and activism at different times or all at once. Touch and gesture and love and the photographs of John Edmonds unearth histories both public and private, even as they protect those histories from unobstructed or unmediated viewing. Edmonds’ photographs gesture insistently outwards, towards innumerable discourses, even as they gesture toward those histories that speak to nothing exterior, nothing grand — only to the possibilities of caressing, seeing, and attempting to know a loved body, a loved object. — Text by William J. Simmons
1 Fred Moten, Stolen Life, (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2018), 111.
All images from the series A Sidelong Glance © John Edmonds, courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery JOHN EDMONDS is an American artist and photographer who first came to public recognition with his intimate portraits of lovers, closer friends and strangers. He received his MFA from Yale University and his BFA from the Corcoran School of Arts + Design. His practice draws upon art historical representations of portraiture and figuration while expanding its roster to include individuals of his own creative community in New York and beyond. Incorporating everyday items of adornment and preservation while also juxtaposing these objects with sacred and spiritual sculptures from Central and West Africa, the artist has developed a distinct approach to photography as a critical tool for engaging with personal and collective history, commemorating the past and continually reshaping the present and future. In 2019, He was included in the 79th Whitney Biennial. WILLIAM J. SIMMONS is an essayist, poet, and art historian. He is currently Provost Fellow in the Humanities in the University of Southern California’s art history PhD program. His work has appeared in numerous international magazines, edited volumes, and monographs. He is the co-editor of the Spring 2020 issue of Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media.
86 War, understood their outcast state; their solitude. She felt such sufferings deeply, but this is not, for the most part, what she captured. Her photographs of the women possess a sense of empowerment, mutual trust and joy. It’s fascinating to see the women dressed in a mode that might be described as everyday feminine workwear; kneelength skirts, blazers, neat tops and jumpers, photographed both in colour that reveals the sheen of their hair, and in cool black-and-white. In each of these ‘office chic’ images, the women look like they belong together, their bodies overlapping in small constellations of kinship. In many images where they wear more revealing attire, Carmi has invited a kind of double into each frame, either as shadow or reflection. This strategy acknowledges the double status of the women in society; they are both themselves and other. And in the strong postures they adopted for their photoshoot — they were not directed by Carmi, who was seeking a photographic ‘truth’ — they are proud and free in this moment of being noticed.
DANIEL EVERETT & MÅRTEN LANGE Vantage Point
Instinctively, Carmi understood that the feminine aesthetic of I Travestiti was an example of the inevitable performance of gender, as Judith Butler would theorise two decades on. Whether dressed in bra and panties, a negligée, feathers, a skirt suit, suspenders, a flamenco dress, or revealing the nakedness of breasts, each person Carmi captured within her frame was taking part in the performance of being a woman, as was the photographer herself, as am I, writing these words now. She used photography to show how a marginalised community in fact held a mirror up to society’s three-way patriarchal stranglehold of fetishisation, oppression and control of women. Carmi saw the possibility for freedom from such constraints in the way I Travestiti lived their lives, and wanted this to be acknowledged by wider society as such a gift. — Text by Max Houghton
All images from the series I Travestiti, 1965–1971 © Lisetta Carmi, courtesy of the artist and Archivio Lisetta Carmi/ Galleria Martini & Ronchetti, Genova LISETTA CARMI was born in 1924 into a middle-class Jewish family in Genoa. She initially studied music, and became a fairly successful concert pianist. Forced to flee to Switzer land during Fascism, after WWII she comes back to Italy and from 1960 onwards she dedicates her time to photography. Carmi saw photography as an important tool of political activism and anthropological investigation. Her most important photo series include L’Italsider (1962), which shows the interiors and exteriors of steel mills and Genova Porto (1964), focused on the theme of labor. The book I Travestiti was published in 1972 by Essedi Editrici, becoming since then a cult and rare object. In 1976 she met guru Babaji Herakhan Baba in Jaipur. He became her spiritual master, and under his guidance she founded an Ashram in Cisternino, south Italy, where she still lives. At the beginning of the 80s Lisetta Carmi stopped taking pictures. MAX HOUGHTON is a writer, editor and curator in the field of contemporary documentary photography. She is Course Leader of MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication. She co-authored Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now (2017) and her latest monograph essay on Mary Ellen Mark will be published in 2021 (Steidl). She is a Laws faculty scholarship PhD candidate at UCL and co-founder of research hub Visible Justice UAL.
96 amount of square meters that — once polished and filled with human presence — will count many zeros on the market, is now just a dusty and unsexy prelude to life. Through a detached, nonjudgmental eye, Everett and Lange observe the epidermic ramifications of an organism whose roots are an energy consuming, dissipative system, and a sophisticated but fragile technological network where everything would collapse if a link in the chain suddenly disappeared. To meet its considerable energy demand, Japan cannot rely on its natural resources. Prior to the 2011 earthquake, nuclear power represented almost one third of the national power generation. The Fukushima Daiichi disaster demonstrated at high cost the implicit preposterousness of atomic power plants in a seismic territory like that of the Nipponese archipelago. Even if the catastrophe triggered strong reactions that led to the swift banning of nuclear power, the Japanese government has progressively reinstated it, as it is the only domestic energy system that can sustain the nation’s highly evolved standards in terms of lifestyle and well-being.
Vantage Point brings back to mind the film Survival Family by Shinobu Yaguchi: a 2017 comedy-drama that follows the vicissitudes of the middle class Suzuki family in the days after a mysterious blackout knocks out the electric system across the nation. The most intriguing part in the film are the initial sequences: throughout the morning where all things appear unchanged since the previous day, the protagonists slowly realise that even the most insignificant gesture is turned into a radically different activity in the total absence of electronic equipment. Instead of insisting on the aftermath’s undeniable fascination, the photographs by Daniel Everett and Mårten Lange seem to have been taken the day before the catastrophe. They are quiet, but not reassuring. They are glimpses of Tokyo that could be found, almost identical and carrying the same unexploded charge, in many metropolises around the world. The sword of Damocles hangs over our heads, and it swings in large circles. — Text by Paola Paleari All images from the series Vantage Point © Daniel Everett & Mårten Lange, courtesy of the artists DANIEL EVERETT works across photography, video, sculpture and installation. He received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. Daniel currently teaches at Brigham Young University as an associate professor of New Genres. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe and North America. MÅRTEN LANGE studied photo graphy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, United Kingdom. He received international attention and critical acclaim for the publication of his series Another Language (Mack Books, London) in 2012. Since then, Lange has published Citizen (Études Books, Paris, 2015), Chicxulub (self-published, 2016) and The Mechanism (Mack Books 2017). PAOLA PALEARI is an Italian independent writer, editor and curator based in Copenhagen. Between 2013 and 2018 she covered the position of deputy editor at YET magazine and since 2018 she has directed the exhibition platform JIR SANDEL. She writes extensively about contemporary art for publications such as Flash Art, Elephant, Mousse magazine and Vogue. Her main area of interest is the photographic language and its relations with the contemporary visual culture and art practices. She is also interested in the intersection between critical and creative writing and often intertwines art criticism with other forms of storytelling.
Essay by Jörg Colberg
‘Skin-colour balance’ in still photography printing refers historically to a process in which a norm reference card showing a ‘Caucasian’ woman wearing a colourful, high-contrast dress is used as a basis for measuring and calibrating the skin tones on the photograph being printed.
Kodak Shirley card, 1970-1980
For anyone familiar with the challenges of printing photographs, Lorna Roth’s first sentence from her seminal 2009 paper Looking at Shirley, the Ultimate Norm: Colour Balance, Image Technologies, and Cogni tive Equity (published in Canadian Journal of Commu nication, Vol. 34, p. 111ff.) points at an obvious problem: if white skin is used as a reference point, then other skin tones might be reproducible (possibly requiring some effort), but attempting to print a photograph that con tains people of different skin tones is likely going to run into severe problems. As Roth describes for a historical example, in such cases, ‘the picture results showed details on the White children’s faces, but erased the contours and particularities of the faces of children with darker skin, except for the whites of their eyes and teeth.’ The basis for this problem lies not in the printing, it lies in the available materials, in particular the films (here) produced by Kodak. In a nutshell, these films’ emulsions were designed with the idea of being able to reproduce white skin well: white people were the company’s main customer base. Roth: ‘Film emulsions could have been designed initially with more sensitivity to the continuum of yellow, brown, and reddish skin tones, but the design process would have had to be motivated by a recognition of the need for an extended dynamic range.’ [emphasis of the second half mine]. As it turned out, such need ended up being communicated to the company, but not from the Black community (as one might have expected). Instead, candy and furniture manufacturers complained to Kodak that they were un able to arrive at the right brown tones of their chocolates and the proper subtle differences between different types of certain woods. As later types of film demon strated, the problem described above arose from avail able materials. But it was not the underlying chemistry that caused it, it was how, or rather to what end, the chemistry was being used, namely to ensure the proper reproduction of white skin tones. In other words, this was not an issue arising out of a scientific challenge; it was an issue caused by the researchers creating the film. In Roth’s words, ‘how our everyday technologies and products function, and what they favour and ignore, has been coloured by the reference points, assump tions, and invisible norms of the cultural intermediaries involved in their design and marketing, most of whom have been ‘Caucasian’ men.’ Perhaps not surprisingly, from its onset digital image technologies have been plagued by very similar problems. For example, early image compression efforts included the creation of an equivalent of the norm ref erence cards widely used in the world of printed colour photographs. Scientists at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Signal and Image Processing Institute scanned the upper part of Playboy Magazine’s Miss November 1972 centerfold to create a three-channel test image (sized 512x512 pixels). The model in ques tion was Lenna Sjööblom and this resulted in the ‘Lena Image’. As artist Rosa Menkman writes in her article
fence, you can see it, and you have the chance to get a glimpse of those existing behind it. The electronic fence, in contrast, has more in common with the event horizon that exists around a black hole in space — what ever exists inside the event horizon has disappeared for the outside world21. Social media have banished the Other to the inside of the event horizon. It’s a depress ing development, and I admit I’m at a loss as to how it can be reversed. At the very least, though, a first step forward might be to realise one simple fact: all that talk about algorithms and data serves to obfuscate the presence of a problem that has been with us for a long time — human prejudices and biases drive the world a lot more than we are led to believe.
1 https://beyondresolution.info/ Behind-White-Shadows 2 https://aws.amazon.com/ rekognition/ 3 https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacytechnology/surveillancetechnologies/amazons-facerecognition-falsely-matched-28 4 https://www.nytimes. com/2018/02/09/technology/ facial-recognition-race-artificialintelligence.html 5 https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/ ir/2019/NIST.IR.8280.pdf 6 A reader who takes offense to my use of the word racism is encouraged to refer to Lorna Roth’s paper, in par ticular the discussion on page 126. There, Roth writes ‘I do not want to take a conspiratorial perspective by arguing that designers set out deliberately to privilege Whiteness.’ Instead, she embraces a concept by Joyce E. King called ‘dysconscious racism’, quoting King as writing that ‘Dysconscious racism is not the absence of consciousness (that is, not unconsciousness) but an impaired consciousness or distorted way of thinking about race as compared to, for example, critical consciousness.’ 7 Please note that in the following, I will restrict the discussion to social media I have access to and knowl edge of. Consequently, sites such as Russia’s VK or China’s Renren or Weibo are not being considered. Given the fact that both countries are considerably less open and demo cratic, with the central governments exerting control over domestic companies, it is not hard to imagine to what extent what I will be dis cussing applies in these cases. 8 Given that for a variety of reasons I deleted my Facebook account a few years ago, I will here focus on Instagram.
9 I have had images removed from Instagram Stories very quickly, which do not offer user reporting. Ironically, the day after I finished the first draft of this article, Instagram removed one of my Story posts, which was a copy of another account’s post that I had criticised for its sexism. You cannot make this stuff up. 10 The case of breastfeeding is one of the very few examples where user feedback actually forced the com pany to change course in 2015. 11 See https://cphmag.com/ ig-censorship/ 12 https://www.theguardian.com/ commentisfree/2019/nov/08/ instagram-shadow-bansmarginalised-communities-queerplus-sized-bodies-sexuallysuggestive 13 See https://www.wired. com/2013/01/torture-settlement/ 14 For a lot of examples and details see David King’s 1997 book The Com missar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia. 15 See, for example, https://techcrunch. com/2019/06/03/a-look-at-themany-ways-china-suppressesonline-discourse-about-thetiananmen-square-protests/. 16 Just remember the American Culture War, parts of which have been fought over photographs, whether Andres Serrano’s, Robert Mapplethorpe’s, or Sally Mann’s. 17 https://www.bbc.com/news/ technology-37318031 18 In: Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Other, Verso, 2008, p. 81 19 See https://codastory.com/ authoritarian-tech/instagram-iransoleimani/
20 I suspect the first people to vigor ously disagree with this statement would be the Iranian regime, in whose company everybody else dis agreeing would find themselves in. 21 In theoretical astrophysics, the event horizon around a black hole is the part of space where the escape velocity – needed to get away from the black hole – exceeds the speed of light. In the case of very large black holes, one could imagine the situation where a traveler would cross the event horizon unharmed. She would then have disappeared for those outside, while she still would be able to see the outside world. She would not be able to communicate with the outside world any longer because her signals can’t escape the black hole.
JÖRG COLBERG writes about and teaches photography, and founded Conscientious Photo Magazine in 2002. American Photo included Colberg in their list of ‘Photography Innovators of 2006,’ writing ‘a new generation of thought leaders has emerged to give photographers and photography fans new avenues of information.’ In addition to working on Conscientious, Colberg has con tributed articles/essays to magazines and artist monographs, and is a regu lar contributor of Foam Magazine. He is the author of Understanding Photobooks: The Form and Content of the Photographic Book (Focal Press, 2016). Colberg has taught at a number of universities including the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Hartford.
Essay by Clare Barlow
GLORIA OYARZABAL Woman Go No’Gree
PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE OTHER
images is part of the point. In contrast to 1980s media hysteria about LGBTQ+ perversion, these couples are linked through casual intimate gestures borne of long familiarity. Some of the couples lean into each other, a man rests his hand on his partner’s arm or around his shoulders, and the mood is one of gentle tenderness. Looking at Gupta’s Lovers: Ten Years On today, I am struck by its hopefulness. To be regarded as ‘other’ so often means to be excluded, subjugated and misunderstood or misrepresented. Yet in the face of such opposition, it is possible to find community, to advocate for change and begin the slow, exhausting work of dismantling stereotypes. In these struggles, the camera holds the power either to oppress or to liberate. The choice lies in our hands.
CLARE BARLOW is a UK based curator and writer. She curated the 2017 exhibition Queer British Art, 18611967 at Tate Britain and has worked across a wide range of disciplines including queer art; disability; historic art; contemporary art. Her most recent project was Being Human, a new permanent exhibition that opened at Wellcome Collection in September, 2019.
124 and colonialist notions of primitivism. In Women Go No’Gree, Gloria Oyarzabal acknowledges this tradition by juxtaposing found and archival images with contemporary photographs while questioning the effect of colonisation on the concept of womanhood in Nigeria. To this end, what Oyarzabal has managed to produce and collect in this portfolio is a sample of images of Nigerian women exercising their freedom to self-fashion and self-identify. She documents women in public spaces who freely express themselves through their clothing, hairstyles, and gestures, but then also explores what happens when we try to eliminate a woman’s control over her representation. In images like Wild (On Exoticization, Victimization, Hypersexualization and other -zations), Oyarzabal steps into the role of the coloniser, dressing and posing a model in a dress printed with a tiger and jungle landscape and a head scarf covered in exotic flora. The model’s face is completely covered by red Havana Twists, a popular synthetic hairstyle worn by African and Black American women. In hiding her face and dictating her outward appearance, Oyarzabal effectively turns the model into an object, we cannot know her because we cannot identify what makes her special. Wild is a critique of the stereotypes often
MARK DORF Contours
placed on the female African body and a test for the viewer: do you accept the stereotype or are you drawn to know more about the individual underneath? The title Women Go No’Gree is a play on song lyrics written by Fela Kuti for his hit single Lady in 1972. The song explores a fissure in Nigerian gender politics at a moment of great political and economic change. Nigeria was newly independent from British rule and celebrating the end of a civil war and a prosperous decade of oil production and sales. Kuti sings about the difference between traditional African women and the new African lady. The African woman is more servile and respectful of the existing patriarchal system, whereas the lady is more self-determined. Some who have analysed Lady read the African lady as a westernised version of African womanhood. However, it is evident in the photographic history Oyarzabal’s archival and contemporary images reveal that agency, pride, and self-assurance were not new to African women in 1972 are certainly not new today. African women define themselves outside of the European / American influence. If you try to define an African woman, as Kuti said, ‘African Woman no go’gree’. — Text by Sadé Ayorinde
All images from the series Woman Go No’Gree © Gloria Oyazarbal, courtesy of the artist GLORIA OYARZABAL is a Spanish artist and photographer, with a BFA from UCM and an MA from Blank paper. She lived in Mali researching on the construction of the Idea of Africa and processes of colonisation/ dec olonisation/neocolonisation. Recent exhibitions include Organ Vida, Format, Fotofestiwal, LagosFoto, Athens Foto, PHotoESPANA, Thessaloniki, Lecce, Encontros da Imagem Braga. Recent prizes include Landskrona Dummy Award 2017, Encontros da Imagem Discovery Award 2018, Grand Prize Fotofestiwal Lodz 2019, Photomed 1st Prize, Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography PHOTO IS:RAEL, Images Vevey Photobook Award. SADÉ AYORINDE is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University. Her current research focuses on issues of scale and representations of black masculinity in modern and contemporary American art, mass media, and visual culture.
136 What we can do now, is to rearrange the building blocks of our human evolution — naming things and crafting, engineering things — under a new scope and focus that does not place us as humans at its centre. By understanding that the human language is not the only language of the planet, we can make use of our inevitable humanity to look towards the other side of the horizon. A central point to the project is also the idea of de-familiarisation of the normal. Mark Dorf uses imagery which is largely recognisable for the most part, but through a mixture of both common and uncommon variables the vision is skewed. This creates a sense of legible illegibility that leaves the viewer in a sort of limbo, not feeling able to decode a message that we still perceive is being communicated to us. From colour bars to 3D forms, such elements suggest the the existance of different perpectives, something just different on a different scale, or something different than human.
ELSEWHERE Translating this reasoning into images, abstraction is the key factor: as a form of engineering, it becomes a tool in the creation of a new paradigm, ‘a conscious obfuscation of any origin’. In a way, this is exactly the issue at stake with technology. Technology is not something external from us, something having an enormous effect on our lives because of some magical osmotic powers. We are the ones crafting technology, in order for it to give us the effects we want. That is, creating the tools that could make visible the way we have always seen, a result that we wanted since the beginning. Only by acknowledging and internalising this awareness, can we direct our craft and our engineering skills towards a direction that encompasses what is other than us, overcoming our ego as a species. There is no ‘going back to nature’ at this point — first and foremost because what was there is simply not anymore. But there can be a going forward, a going elsewhere. — Text by Elisa Medde
JIM GOLDBERG Darrell and Patricia
All images from the series Contours, 2019/2020 © Mark Dorf, courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery, NYC MARK DORF is a New York based artist whose creative practice employs a mixture of photography, video, digital media, and sculpture. His most recent work explores humankind’s perception of and interactions with digitally simulated domains, urbanism, design, and what was once called ‘Nature’. With an interest in Post-Anthropocentric, Post-Humanist, and New Materialist theory, he scrutinises and examines the influence of the Information Age in order to better understand the curious position of the 21st century world. Dorf has exhibited internationally at the Alabama Contemporary Arts Center, Mobile, AL, 2020; Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, FR, 2019; Metronom, Modena, IT, 2019, 2017; Kunstverein, Frankfurt, DE, 2018; Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam, NL, 2017, 2020; Postmasters Gallery, New York, 2017, 2015; Division Gallery, Toronto, 2015; The Lima Museum of Contemporary Art, Lima, 2014; and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, 2013 amongst others. ELISA MEDDE is a photography editor, curator and writer. With a background in History of Art, Iconology and Photographic Studies, she worked for various cultural institutions, publishing houses and non-profit organisations as project and research co-ordinator as well as independent curator and editor. Her academic research reflects on the relations between image and power, particularly in the context of contemporary photography. She served as juror for many prizes, including the Luma Rencontres Book Award, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Premio Celeste and Lens Culture. She has been nominator for the Mack First Book Award, Prix Elysée, MAST Foundation for Photography Grant and Leica Oskar Barnack award amongst others. Since 2012, she is the Editor of Foam Magazine.
152 tually Darrell found a few tucked away on their computer, buried in their virtual rubbish. Goldberg says he might have just caught the couple when they were ready to tell their stories; he adds it was a privilege to work with them, to learn about their lives. It’s an open-minded approach that’s characterised his work throughout his career, which has seen him photographing homeless children in California in Raised by Wolves (1995), refugees, immigrants, and trafficked people in Open See (2009), and the impoverished and super wealthy in Rich and Poor (1985). Taking the time to listen to his subjects and share his images with them, Goldberg invites participants to add their own comments to their portraits, adding their own narrative to the images. In doing so, he hopes to give those who are more usually underrepresented — the outsiders, the marginalised — the opportunity to tell their stories to a mainstream audience.
KILUANJI KIA HENDA 153 In the Days of the Dark Safari & The Last Journey of the Dictator Mussunda N’Zombo Before the Great Extinction
In Darrell and Patricia’s case, the dynamic is a little different. Though their story can be seen as unusual, what stands out in the work isn’t their transitions but the depth of intimacy and acceptance they have found in each other. ‘We were able to talk to each other like no one else in our lives,’ says Darrell of their meeting, included in a transcript in the book. The narrative weaving from person to person, as it often does with long-term couples, tells the history of their relationship — how they met, how they discussed their erotic fantasies, how they broached their individual struggles with the sexes they’d been born into. ‘Here we were in the same situation but in reverse — we became closer’, says Darrell, of the start of their journey into transition. Darrell and Pat might seem like outsiders, but maybe they’re the ultimate insiders. Together they’re inside the hand-drawn heart, it’s everyone else who’s outside. — Text by Diane Smyth
All images from the series Darrell and Patricia © Jim Goldberg, courtesy of the artist JIM GOLDBERG’s innovative use of image and text make him a landmark photographer of our times. He has been working with experimental storytelling for over 40 years, and his major projects and books include Rich and Poor (1977–85), Raised by Wolves (1985–95), Nursing Home (1986), Coming and Going (1996–present), Open See (2003–2009), The Last Son (2016), Ruby Every Fall (2016), Candy (2013–2017), Darrell & Patricia (2018), and Gene (2018). Goldberg is Professor Emeritus at the California College of the Arts and is a member of Magnum Photos. DIANE SMYTH is a freelance journalist writing for publications such as The FT Weekend Magazine, The Guardian, The Observer, Creative Review, Calvert Journal, Aesthetica Magazine, IMA, and BJP. Prior going freelance Diane worked on the British Journal of Photography for more than 15 years; she has also curated exhibitions for The Photographers' Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival.
164 tionalist tropes of travel writing that construe the African continent as ‘dark’ and inexplicable. To be sure, that each photo graph is consistently lit with available museum lighting and shot from roughly the same vantage point, works to concentrate the viewer’s gaze on the different forms the sinister shrouded figures assume. Yet this formal regularity also calls attention to the documentary character of ethnographic photography and its pretense of representing things ‘as they are’ in their ‘natural environment’ — a myth that Kia Henda both exploits and explodes. The presence of a singular human figure drives the mythical narrative of The Last Journey of the Dictator Mussunda N’Zombo Before the Great Extinction. The work’s five photographs, each constituting an act in the series’ overall narrative fiction, orbit around an adventurous dictator named Mussunda N’Zombo who appears to exist harmoniously in the company of spiral-horned antelope and other wildlife. Lavishly clad in neo-traditional garb and platform boots, N’Zombo is an archetype of the charismatic African dictator of the
BATIA SUTER Hexamiles
postcolonial era. ‘He symbolizes the way African leaders exploited the image of a precolonial past as a space of purity and peace, often using tradition to secure legitimacy and populist appeal,’ notes the artist. The final act shows the dictator N’Zombo inert and stretched out across an expanse of white sand, a chilling reminder of how in both pre- and postcolonial societies when the natural environment is instrumentalised for imperial and political gain, it’s not only animals who suffer, but also humanity. — Text by Antawan I. Byrd
All images from the series In the Days of the Dark Safari & The Last Journey of the Dictator Mussunda N’Zombo Before the Great Extinction © Kiluanji Kia Henda, courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery KILUANJI KIA HENDA was listed as one of the most influential Leading Global Thinkers of our time in the American political magazine Foreign Policy in 2014. Working primarily with photography, video, installation and land-art. Kiluanji Kia Henda places comparison with the legacy of Western history at the centre of his work, reflecting on crucial issues within the African, European and global debate, such as migration, nationalism and the role of memory as a factor of civilisation. His works have been exhibited widely including the Venice Biennale, where he represented his native Angola in 2007, Somerset House in London and Centre Pompidou in Paris amongst others. He won the Frieze Artist Award in 2017. His first European solo show opened at MAN Museo in Nuoro, Italy, in January 2020. Kiluanji lives and works in Luanda, Angola, and in Lisbon, P ortugal. ANTAWAN I. BYRD is associate curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, and a PhD candidate in modern and contemporary art history at Northwestern University. Byrd recently co-curated, The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster (Art Institute of Chicago, 2019), and was a co-curator of the 2nd Lagos Biennial of Contemporary Art (2019).
176 tweaked and twisted by its position in the sequence. Mountains are a very powerful subject in this Odyssey — Labyrinth, with their majesty and sublime presence being associated with eeriness, danger. Those apparently immaculate landscapes carry heavy memories and leaps: while contemplating a glacier, a broad peaks view, it is barely needed to name Hitler’s relation to those very mountains to immediately hear a definite sound of broken glass in our minds. The interplay here is created by a number of cross tensions: between the tamed landscape and the tamed humans primarily, and also between the guilty landscape, frightening nature, and our inevitable solitude. There are many interventions in the places, making it somewhat a game to try to decode them all. As an example, all the plates with a little black star indicate which ones were part of the Mauvoisin Dam exhibition: a monumental site-specific installation, in which two-sided boards were placed on the top of the dam dialoguing with the surrounding peaks and valleys. In other plates, details and characters from the German language illustrated stories Max and Moritz are visible. Published for
the first time in 1865, it quickly became a great classic of German children’s literature. Grisly tales of two very naughty boys, they represent yet another problematic chapter in visual culture, many of their settings and stories presenting very problematic elements in term of postcolonial and racial perspectives. While her practice echoes the creation of the Atlas of Mnemosyne, she profoundly differs from Aby Warburg in purpose. Where Aby Warburg was decoding the language he saw in the canon of Classical Art being brought into Renaissance, Batia Suter is creating a different language, a code that can be used to identify what we bring into images, and what images do to us. She does so by creating an environment that lies outside of a definite time and space, forcing us to get lost and engage in spaces and places that stay in the gray area between our memory and our feeling. We know they existed, we know probably they existed at some point, and most probably we can even recognise them — maybe we have been there? Didn’t I see this already, somewhere? — Text by Elisa Medde
All images from the series Hexamiles © Batia Suter, courtesy of the artist BATIA SUTER produces monumental installations of digitally manipulated images for specific locations, and works on photo-animations, image sequences and collages, often using found historical pictures. The underlying themes of Batia Suter’s practice are the ‘iconification’ and ‘immunogenicity’ of images, and the circumstances by which they become charged with new associative values. Her work intuitively situates old images in new contexts to provoke surprising reactions and significant possibilities. By this method, she generates hypnagogic spaces where pictures can communicate by their own logic, in a force field of imaginative metamorphosis. ELISA MEDDE is a photography editor, curator and writer. With a background in History of Art, Iconology and Photographic Studies, she worked for various cultural institutions, publishing houses and non-profit organisations as project and research co-ordinator as well as independent curator and editor. Her academic research reflects on the relations between image and power, particularly in the context of contemporary photography. She served as juror for many prizes, including the Luma Rencontres Book Award, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Premio Celeste and Lens Culture. She has been nominator for the Mack First Book Award, Prix Elysée, MAST Foundation for Photography Grant and Leica Oskar Barnack award amongst others. Since 2012, she is the Editor of Foam Magazine.
HUMBLE NOTES ON REFUSAL, BLACK VISUAL CULTURE & COLONIAL RESIDUE Essay by Amal Alhaag
ing of sound. Campt says, ‘while the ear is the primary organ for perceiving sound, at lower frequencies, infrasound is often only felt in the form of vibrations through contact with parts of the body. Yet all sound consists of more than what we hear. It is an inherently embodied modality constituted by vibration and contact.’ Artist and archivist Ajamu is in contact with the images, his people their queerness, bodies, sweat, love, joy and tears. In Ajamu’s work there are no extras, no nostalgic beings, but fierce attitudes, everyday feelings and real beings in love, out of focus, intimate and curious. For Ajamu there is ‘no fixed line between a photographer and activist. A photographer is an activist, as there is no clear line between an artist and a curator or between an academic and an artist. Politics are complex. It is never either or. It is more nuanced. It is more like gray.’ I spent some days listening to these images and films and their counter conversion, as scholar Sara Ahmed conceptualises how a threat can be converted into a potential. Ajamu’s rukus! Federation Archive has existed since 2000 and it is an unruly archive that has success fully existed amidst its community of Black lesbian, gay, trans artists, activists and cultural producers in the UK and across the world. The work is dynamic in its ways of imagining and knowing that the complexity of the colonial past, its excesses in the present remains in close proximity to the community people who consti tute the bodies, the faces and ani of the archive. To softly conclude these notes, I invite the reader to listen to the images in lower frequencies. These works demand that we the viewers, listeners or bystanders register through feelings rather than vision or audible sound. To decolonize the gaze is to trouble the senses that are central to the eurocentric visual canon. It is to mock the gaze and hold captive the wandering eye while asking yourself what does it mean to be sent by history? AMAL ALHAAG is an Amsterdambased independent curator, dj and researcher who develops ongoing experimental and collaborative research practice, public programs and projects on global spatial poli tics, archives, colonialism, counterculture, oral histories and popular culture. Her projects and collabora tions with people, initiatives and institutions invite, stage, question and play with ‘uncomfortable’ issues that riddle, rewrite, remix, share and compose narratives in impermanent settings. She is currently Senior Research and Cultural Programmer for the Research Center for Material Studies (RCMC), a flagship research institute within the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden), the Afrika Museum (Berg en Dal) and the Wereldmuseum (Rotterdam) that serves as a focal point for research on ethnographic collections in the Netherlands.
INDIGENOUS DIGITAL MEDIA AS SACRED SPACE Laurence Butet-Roch and Meagan Byrne in conversation
193 PATRICK WATERHOUSE Restricted Images. Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia
THIS SPACE IS OURS TO KEEP
‘encompassing culture’ and deny the best inter ests of any of the other cultures you would other wise have been a part of. Being Indigenous is political. We are living in a place in time where we are not conquered, but still don’t have the power to fully protect ourselves and enforce the treaties through might. It’s like we rented one apartment in our building to a bad faith tenant and then they just forced everyone else in the building out and moved their buddies in... and they still haven’t paid their rent! It’s so infuriating to have no power and have this bully push you around. But I think things are changing for the better. Recently there has been an increasing amount of attention being brought to this idea in Australia’s Pay The Rent movement in which non Aboriginal Australians are encouraged to donate money gained through their occupa tion of Aboriginal land, which we also need in Canada. I actually found out about it because an Australian game development company House House said that they are giving 1% of ‘Untitled Goose Game’ profits to Pay the Rent. I love the space games can create and I love the opportunity to use games to talk to others about difficult things without opening yourself up to only having your pain consumed for entertainment. LAURENCE BUTET-ROCH is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies at York, where she analyzes the dis courses advanced by the visual narra tives associated with environmental contamination and systemic envi ronmental racism in Canada and looks back at the work she's pro duced as a photographer in places where communities must navigate a tense, complex and often conflicting, relation with resource extraction such as Thetford Mines and Aamjiwnaang First Nation. This follows the comple tion of a Master of Digital Media at Ryerson University that explored how to foster a more generative and inclusive interactive media land scape, where people usually kept to the margins can share their stories in ways that respect and reflect their storytelling traditions. She now teaches Interactive Storytelling at her Alma Mater. MEAGAN BYRNE is an Âpihtawikosisân (Métis) game designer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She has been creating interactive works since 2014. Her designs incorporate narra tive, game mechanics, sound and traditional art. She sees her work as a constant struggle to navigate the complexities of Indigenous identity within a deeply colonized system. Meagan uses her work to explore questions of cultural belonging, the Indigenization of media and the future of Indigenous language and culture. She is currently the owner and lead narrative designer at Achimostawinan Games.
212 Today, photographs are often prohibited in Aboriginal communities and institutions limit access to the historical record. These measures are designed to protect Aboriginal people, but also have the pernicious effect of depriving them of agency, in some way redacting them from their country’s history. By inviting the Warlpiri artists to use his pictures to create Restricted Images, Waterhouse has attempted to allow them to manage this process of representation. In so doing, he is relegating his own photographic work to the background in order to invite us to consider the implications of the act of photography. At a time when nothing goes unphotographed, Revisions and Restricted Images are an invitation to reconsider the value of a photograph and the dynamic that underlies how it is made, distributed and preserved. — Text by Marc Feustel
In order of appearance: — Look This Way. Restricted with Jessica Napanangka Lewis — Front Portrait. Restricted with Marissa Napanangka Anderson — Side Portrait Right. Restricted with Adrianna Nangala Egan — Side Portrait Left. Restricted with Nathania Nangala Granites — Front Portrait. Restricted with Kirsten Nangala Egan — Grandparents Used to Walk This Way. Restricted with Alma Nungarrayi Granites — That Way. Restricted with Sarah Napurrurla Leo — What About My Picture? Restricted with Hilda Nakamarra Rogers — Looking for Honey Ants. Restricted with Julie Nangala Robertson — Again This Way. Restricted with Jessica Napanangka Lewis — I Gave My House to Yapa. Restricted with Ruth Nungarrayi Spencer — You Can Feel This Place. Restricted with Otto Jungarrayi Sims — Still Making Camp. Restricted with Steven Jangala Hargraves — Here Every Day. Restricted with Joy Nangala Brown — Which Way? Restricted with Jessica Napanangka Lewis — Digging for Iguana. Restricted with Shanna Napanangka Williams, Selma Napanangka Tasman and Adrianna Nangala Egan — Hip-Hop Gospel and Tanami. Restricted with Athena Nangala Granites and Alma Nungarrayi Granites — Nigel Is a Policeman for That Place. Restricted with Julie Nangala Robertson — Look. Restricted with Ruth Nungarrayi Spencer — Side Portrait Right. Restricted with Athena Nangala Granites — Front Portrait. Restricted with Adrianna Nangala Egan — Front Portrait. Restricted with Athena Nangala Granites — Side Portrait Left. Restricted with Wilma Napangardi Poulson — This Way Up. Restricted with Melinda Napurrurla Wilson, Polly Anne Napangardi Dixon,
CHLOE DEWE MATHEWS In Search of Frankenstein
— — —
Kirsten Nangala Egan and Delena Napaljarri Turner Want a Henry One. Restricted with Athena Nangala Granites What’s the Light Light Dark Dark Point Point? Restricted in work shop at Warlukurlangu Art Centre Let’s Go to Mining. Restricted with Dorothy Napurrurla Dickson, Sabrina Nangala Robertson and Julie Nangala Robertson Nephew. Restricted with Pauline Nampijinpa Singleton
All images from the series Restricted Images. Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia, restricted at the Warlukurlangu Art Centre in the communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi, Northern Territories, Australia © Patrick Waterhouse/Warlukurlangu Artists, courtesy of the artists. PATRICK WATERHOUSE is an artist who plays with narrative representation and explores the construction of history, often through collaboration. He won the Deutsche Börse Photo graphy Prize in 2015 (with Mikhael Subotzsky) and has exhibited work in The Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao), National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C and IZIKO South African National Gallery, amongst others. His books include Ponte City (Steidl) and Restricted Images.Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia (SPBH editions). MARC FEUSTEL is an independent curator, writer and editor based in Paris. A specialist in Japanese photo graphy, he has curated several exhibitions including Tokyo Stories (Kultur huset, Stockholm), Eikoh Hosoe: Theatre of Memory (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney), Okinawa: une exception japonaise (Le Plac’Art Photo, Paris). Recent book projects include Michael Wolf: Works (2017), the first retrospective catalogue of Michael Wolf’s work, and BLACKOUT by Hitoshi Fugo (2018). He writes regularly about photography and photobooks for publications including British Journal of Photography, The Eyes, Foam Magazine, IMA, The PhotoBook Review and Polka.
226 rooms, containing variously a bed, showering facilities and a lone bucket, are decorated in unmistakably pastel hues, adding a surreal touch to these otherwise stark subterranean chambers. In order to magnify the contrast, Dewe Mathews purposely over-exposed for the snow-whiteness of the exterior, which had, in any case, turned an off-grey: ‘The grey bulk of melting glacier became, like Frankenstein’s creation, an embodiment of human folly,’ she writes in her introduction. The vast snow-covered rocky expanses that would once have been perceived with due awe, as their summits touched the very heavens, now remind us more than ever of our collective failure to protect the natural world, even as we have the means to play God. Dewe Mathews captures this sense adroitly in an image of three statues, their heads bowed in reverie, as though they might be praying for the future of the glaciers. Michelangelo said that every block of marble possesses a sculpture within, and it is for the sculptor to find it. With this photograph, it is Dewe Mathews’ eye that has carved these spectral figures from the mountain, whose futile task is to try to guard their land; already lost forever. Along with a couple of plastic human skeletons in a teaching room inside the mountain, these apparitions offer the only semblance of human figures. Somewhere in the spaces between these two registers of imagery, there is an odd conflation between Switzerland’s status as a place where death itself can be controlled via medical euthanasia, and the preserving qualities of ice, which have preserved and returned fallen walkers in fact and fiction. In W G Sebald’s The Emigrants, the narrator chances upon a newspaper article, which details the recovery of Johannes Naegeli, recovered in the O beraar glacier. ‘They are ever returning to us, the dead,’ observes the narrator. The dead and the undead still haunt these mountains.
ELSEWHERE Dewe Mathews is such a talented imagemaker that she might well have created a large-scale book of colour photographs. Yet her decision to create this at times frustrating image-text is crucial to the cautionary tale she wishes to convey; that the human hand can create monstrousness in fact as in fiction. ‘I shall be with you on your wedding night,’ pronounces the nameless creature to its creator, Dr Frankenstein. This utterance stands among the most terrifying sentences in English literature… yet we have not heeded the warning. The ‘hideous progeny’ of Dr Frankenstein did indeed go forth and prosper. Shelley’s darkest observation is surely that human race seems fated to sow the seeds of its own destruction in its endless quest for knowledge and power — the original Faustian pact. While the nuclear threat may not be as pressing as it was during the Cold War, environmental disaster seems unstoppable. Even the fictional monster has presaged this future fact in this nearperfect rendition of the Anthropocene: ‘The cold stars shone in mockery, and the bare trees waved their branches above me; now and then the sweet voice of a bird burst forth amidst the universal stillness. All, save I, were at rest or in enjoyment; I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me, and finding myself unsympathized with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin.’ Dewe Mathews has not utilised the photographic image as she might easily have done, to ‘enjoy the ruin’ but has instead created an awkward, brilliant and discursive intervention into the pursuit of knowledge and its consequences. As scary as Mary. — Text by Max Houghton (originally reviewed for Photomonitor)
ARKO DATTO Dinos of Hindostan
All images from the series In Search of Frankenstein © Chloe Dewe Mathews, courtesy of the artist CHLOE DEWE MATHEWS is a British artist whose work has been exhibited in museums such as Tate Modern and Irish Museum of Modern Art. She was the Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography at Harvard University and her monographs include Shot at Dawn (Ivorypress, 2014), In Search of Frankenstein (Kodoji Press, 2018) and Caspian: The Elements (Aperture/ Peabody Press, 2018). MAX HOUGHTON is a writer, editor and curator in the field of contemporary documentary photography. She is Course Leader of MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication. She co-authored Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now (2017) and her latest monograph essay on Mary Ellen Mark will be published in 2021 (Steidl). She is a Laws faculty scholarship PhD candidate at UCL and cofounder of research hub Visible Justice UAL.
It all falls into place today. I am of course referring to the curious incident of the three dinosaur eggs ‘stolen’ from the National Fossil Museum in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh back in that fateful year of 2014. After years of concerted search efforts yielding very few results, we suddenly received this image via confidential sources this morning. It seems clear now that the recently circulating rumours about the illegal captive dino breeding program attaining success are probably true. As we inch closer to the elections, we advise people to exercise utmost caution as these terrifying new hybrid-dinos might be used to spread terror among the populace. We also advise people to exercise restraint, tolerance and the prevailment of common sense in case the dinos are used as guinea pigs in terror plots to drum up hysteria and nationalistic war-cries to divert from real issues. — From emergency press conference called by Dr Parthasarathy, Institute for Contemporary Dinosaur Studies, Kolkata
240 was the Chief Minister of when an antiMuslim pogrom — during which more than 2,000 Muslims were killed — took place under his watch in 2002. Modi’s looming spectre, which has terrorised a large population in present-day India, repeatedly makes an appearance in Datto’s work. In one public advisory, issued with an image of a dinosaur’s towering shadow upon a middle-class housing society building, Dr Parthasarathy talks about receiving frantic calls from distressed children whose parents have been using the threat of Nomorex ‘coming at night and taking them to detention camps in the Far Eastern Dominions if they failed to perform well in their exams.’ As one peels the layers of Datto’s work, the symbolism slowly begins to reveal itself, as does his political commentary. The detention camps here refer to the first detention centres, for people who cannot prove their Indian citizenship, that are presently under construction in Assam, a state in east India. These detention camps have haunted the minds of Muslims in India in recent times, particularly those who are paper-poor, inviting parallels to the gas chambers of Nazi Germany. Nomorex’s binomial name is also a nod to the fact that, India’s first dinosaur fossil, with the binomial name Rajasaurus Narmadensis, was found in Modi’s state of Gujarat. Each image in Datto’ image-text pairing — which he carefully constructs and attributes to the concerned voices of Parthasarathy or BeeGee — carries multiple cross-references, traversing genres. The latter himself is an ode to WeeGee, the intrepid photographer Arthur Fellig, who had a reputation for being the first to arrive at a crime scene. BeeGee however has much less luck than his 1940s counterpart, because in today’s India, being at the scene to document injustice can cost you your life, or as in his case, throw you under the attack of a machete. The parallels are not just in the past, as Datto further alludes to another photographer who was indeed attacked by a machete, in the currently ongoing resistance movement against the CAA in India.
ELSEWHERE In another photograph, a dinosaur’s upper body can be seen limply balanced between two thin tree trunks, BeeGee expresses his disappointment at having, unusually, reached the scene too late. He does, however, express sympathy towards Bhola, the Velociraptor, who appears to have been lynched, while ‘eyeing bovine delights’, having crossed over into territory clearly not meant for him. The Dino, once a threat, now finds himself at the other end of the violence. The image, without BeeGee’s commentary appears innocuous, but with it his seemingly severed body has a dark familiarity. BeeGee remarks that India has indeed seen ‘an increase in crimes of lynching, particularly in rural areas’. Unfortunately, the coincidences do not end there, as Bhola’s case, and his accidental trespassing into the other’s territory, underlines the deaths of many Muslims and Dalits who continue to be lynched under even the suspicion of consuming cow meat. Datto, as in all his works, continues to engage with the politics of his time. In the recent wave of resistance and student protests in India, as citizen journalism became one of the key news-gathering avenues, our social media feed became more and more politicised. One day, the flood of images of news events and personalities was interrupted by an image of Nomorex accompanied with Dr Parthasarathy’s words. Datto had cleverly managed to weave the work into our daily feed, and positioned the Institute’s archives, and resulting announcements, within the contours of news, reality and fake news at the same time. Dino is as much a critique as it is a comment on the absurdity of our current political existence, where fact, fiction and fake news collude to make a heady mix, leaving us all unsettled in its wake. — Text by Tanvi Mishra
ROB HORNSTRA Man Next Door
All images from the series Dinos of Hindostan © Arko Datto, courtesy of the artist ARKO DATTO was born in India and studied physics and mathematics in Paris before he decided to study photography in Denmark. His focus in photography is to question what it means to be a photographer in the digital age while simultaneously playing the role of observer and commentator on critical issues. Today he lives and works in Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. His work has appeared Time Magazine, National Geographic and Newsweek among others, and has been associated with Kochi Biennale, Obscura Photography Festival and Chennai Photo Biennale. He recently published MANNEQUIN with l’Artiere Editions in 2018, and his forthcoming book SNAKEFIRE is set to be release by l’Artiere in 2020. He is represented by East Wing Gallery, Dubai. TANVI MISHRA is a Delhi-based curator, photo editor and writer. Among her interests are the politics of representation within the photographic medium and its impact on South Asian histories and narratives, as well as the notion of fiction in photography, particularly in the current political landscape. She currently works as the creative director of The Caravan, a journal of politics and culture published out of Delhi. She is also part of the editorial team of PIX, a South Asian publication and display practice.
256 his and his family’s privacy, but also acts as a way of further disconnecting these variations of the same person. Kid would often tidy their shared outside spaces and would keep a watchful eye over Rob’s home while he was travelling. At the same time Kid himself would often be away for short stretches of time, serving various prison sentences. It is here that the gap between the real and imagined self begins to widen irretrievably. What began as a slow spin now becomes a rapid descent as Kid loses his grip on social norms and expectations. This is what it looks like to reach the tipping point, without having a safety net of friends of family to catch you for long enough to return to a more established path. As Kid becomes older and less resilient, his narrative arc takes him further away from his idealised photo album character, towards a version of himself which exists only beyond the picture frame. This literal narrative is recounted through the
MATTHIEU GAFSOU H+
police reports detailing his altercations and transgressions. Kid lived with epilepsy, and this, combined with his alcohol and drug abuse, led to increasingly erratic behaviour in public, confirmed by the police reports. While serious and concerning, the reports, from the police’s perspective, often show Kid as being sincere and thankful, much like the neighbour Rob knew him to be. These reports plot out the last year of Kid’s life. They are stepping stones leading towards a devastating end to this story, in which Kid is found dead in a canal in Utrecht. Kid was a stranger to his family, a vulnerable, kind-hearted neighbour to Rob, and something of a nuisance to the public and police. In these intersecting stories, Kid showed us the many different intersecting points where these characteristics overlapped and created a complex, unsettled understanding of a life lived. — Text by Mariama Attah
All images from the series Man Next Door © Rob Hornstra, courtesy of the artist ROB HORNSTRA is a Dutch photo grapher who creates predominantly long-term documentary projects, both at home and around the world. He is the founder and former artistic director of FOTODOK — Space for Documentary Photography and runs a popular live talkshow about photo books in his home town Utrecht. Also, he is currently co-head of the photo graphy department at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. MARIAMA ATTAH is a photography curator and editor, with a particular interest in the power of photography to re-present visual culture. Mariama is curator at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. She was previously Assistant Editor of Foam Magazine and Curator at Photoworks where she was responsible for developing and programming exhibitions and events, including Brighton Photo Biennial and the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards. she was also commissioning and managing editor of Photoworks Annual.
272 tous cyborg technology) foregrounds more touchingly human textures of lipstick grease and the minute hairs on the subject’s nose. Lumpen sub-dermal implants protrude rosily from under the skin with mild horror and eroticism, while the mundane functionality of these bulges — RFID implants used as credit card payment, or car keys — conversely suggests not fantasies of functionality, per se, but about the thrill of connecting one’s body with the world in new ways. In a world in which nootropic enhancements are taken not as experiments in humanity, but as efforts to increase productivity against the (bio)metrics of c apital, the transhumanist project will more likely be progressed by accident than by design. Contemporary humanity is powerfully shaped by what Paul B. P reciado has called the ‘pharmacopornographic’ era, the deconstruction of the body by the regulatory effects of politics, capital, and the bio medical industries. To imagine that a body can be upgraded is also to create an infrastructure for its ownership, maintenance,
BART EYSINK SMEETS Finding Myself in India
and eventual obsolescence. As documented by Gafsou, the movement’s participants are predominantly white, able-bodied and male — suggestive of a human subject that has never had cause to scrutinise its own humanity, a neutral canvas upon which to design a new species. At the same time, in the inevitable and disruptive transformations of the human and environment that will take place in our time, the optimism and invention surveyed in H+, cast in heavenly white light, are a balm to the dystopian experiences of the present. One imagines that representatives of our cyborgian futures are more likely to emerge from Amazon warehouses, where indentured Amazon workers labour around the clock with timed-release Adderall implants and bone-conduction interfaces instructing directly into their skull, than from these hallowed temples of scientific knowledge. But we can hope, with the subjects of H+, that there is light at the end of the stack. — Text by Gary Zhexi Zhang
All images from the series H+ © Matthieu Gafsou / Galerie C / MAPS MATTHIEU GAFSOU lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. After completing a master of arts in philosophy, literature and cinema, he studied photography at the School of Applied Arts in Vevey. Gafsou won several prizes and grants, has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions and published five monographs. In 2018, the H+ exhibition was one of the highlights of Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles. GARY ZHEXI ZHANG is an artist and writer based in New York, whose work investigates real and fictional infrastructures. His current project, on the nature of catastrophic risk, will be exhibited at Bloc Projects with Arts Catalyst in Sheffield, October 2020. He teaches at Parsons School of Design and is a 2019-20 Film Study Center Fellow at Harvard University.
280 nition of the vast differences between a comfortable Western life and life at the lowest levels of poverty imaginable. India seems to provide such extremes of existence that it becomes impossible to not feel their effect. This is what finding myself really means. To find oneself is to be displaced from one’s everyday reality where there is a propensity to lose sight of basic existential questions. It is under displacement, not a here but through an elsewhere, where this happens, and this can really happen in any corner of the world. In postcolonial theory, it is in recognition of the Other that contributes to the self-identification of the modern western subject. Photography was instrumental in promoting this idea through representation and later, international travel became accessible as one of the ways in which to confront the Other directly, outside of the image. In this way, Eysink Smeets’ project is a reminder that through travel, we are essentially reidentifying with who we are and where we are from.
ELSEWHERE Instead of actual travel, Smeets returns us back to the image and displaces his tourist artificially. Although he denies himself the aesthetic experience of self-identification in India, his digital visit appropriates the image to draw attention to the experience of digital tourism and I believe this is an important effect of the work. The aesthetics of experience is replaced by the anaesthetics of experience, first on the screen, then into the book. Hito Steyerl, in her collection of essays referred to humanity now being the wretched of the screen, perhaps as slaves to digital culture. In this issue of Foam Magazine, themed around elsewhere and otherness, a critical point to establish is the extent to which otherness is embedded in digital visual culture. When Frantz Fanon referred to the colonised as the wretched of the earth, it becomes pertinent to then ask, how might we find ourselves in the absence of a palpable, actual Other? — Text by Sunil Shah
All images from the series Finding Myself in India © Bart Eysink Smeets, courtesy of the artist BART EYSINK SMEETS studied at Design Academy Eindhoven where his focus went from visual design to conceptual storytelling. After graduating in 2012 he started working at communication agency KesselsKramer, known for its artistic and out-of-thebox approach to advertising. During these years Eysink Smeets evolved his love for simple, intelligent, elegant but slightly weird ideas. In 2017 Eysink Smeets quit his job to become a full time artist. SUNIL SHAH is an artist, curator and writer based in Oxford, UK. His critical interests span exhibition histories and the sites and structures of artistic production and presentation. Current specific areas of focus are global art, postcolonialism, photography and archives. He is Associate Editor of American Suburb X online photography and visual culture platform.
Carry me gently, I’m a superstar Selena Gomez for Dazed Spring 2020. Photography Brianna Capozzi, styling Emma Wyman
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288 ISSUE #56, Elsewhere EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Marcel Feil EDITORS Mariama Attah, Marcel Feil, Elisa Medde MANAGING EDITOR Elisa Medde ASSISTANT EDITOR Mariama Attah MAGAZINE MANAGEMENT Maureen Marck ART DIRECTOR Hamid Sallali DESIGN & LAYOUT Ayumi Higuchi, Hamid Sallali TYPEFACES Haarlem (Adrien Menard), L15 Medium, L15 Medium (type), FK SCREAMER (Florian Karsten) CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS & ARTISTS Laia Abril, Lisetta Carmi, Arko Datto, Mark Dorf, Alinka Echeverría, John Edmonds, Daniel Everett & Mårten Lange, Matthieu Gafsou, Jim Goldberg, Katinka Goldberg, Joji Hashiguchi, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Rob Hornstra, Graciela Iturbide, Chloe Dewe Mathews, Gloria Oyarzabal, Bart Eysink Smeets, Batia Suter, Patrick Waterhouse, Henk Wildschut FRONT COVER Projection, 2019, from the series Contours © Mark Dorf, courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery, NYC BACK COVER Look This Way. Restricted with Jessica Napanangka Lewis. From the series Restricted Images. Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia © Patrick Waterhouse, courtesy of the artists INSIDE BACK COVER From the series Hexamiles © Batia Suter, courtesy of the artist
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Amal Alhaag, Peggy Sue Amison, Mariama Attah, Sadé Ayorinde, Clare Barlow, Laurence Butet-Roch, Antawan I. Byrd, Meagan Byrne, Jörg Colberg, Alinka Echeverría, Marcel Feil, Marc Feustal, Max Houghton, Kim Knoppers, Elisa Medde, Tanvi Mishra, Paola Paleari, Lorenzo De Rita, Liz Sales, Sunil Shah, William J. Simmons, Diane Smyth, Gary Zhexi Zhang
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INSIDE BACK COVER SPREAD From the series Rooted © Henk Wildschut, courtesy of the artist