Image–based actIvism today
1 Preface 2 Image-Based Activism 足Today
9 Chapter I The Editor
hapter II C The Reactionist
121 Chapter III The Artist
233 Chapter V The Idealist
NA-AP04 Ismat Omar Mansouri (Democratic Front) from Ramallah. Askalan prison, 1998.
I dedicate this portrait of me to comrade Nabih Awada, hoping it reminds him of the moments of suffering that we shared, and the common fate that united us behind these bars. I am offering it to you as an expression of my wish to communicate outside these fences. I wish you a quick release, and wish your family and people eternal happiness when all your hopes and goals are realized, when our South is liberated. Your friend Ismat Omar Mansouri Deir Jarir Ramallah West Bank Tel: 9952592 Askalan prison April 17, 1998
277 Bios 288 Colophon
185 Chapter IV The Essayist
This issue of Foam Magazine explores image-based activism and the impact that photography can have on the world. The focus is on the people who are trying to send a message, those people who utilise both their role and platform to communicate a cause or a crisis to the public. In a world that is overcome with images what is needed to make you take notice?
Under the influence of ever-advancing technological developments, documentary photography, especially photojournalism, has changed enormously over the past decade. More than the digitalization of the medium, the use of social media has produced a dynamism that has completely undermined and transformed traditional ways of dealing with images. Everyone can now make, distribute, forward, use, adjust and comment upon images. The result is not just that we now need to relate to a barely conceivable quantity of material but that it is increasingly difficult to determine how we should understand all these images. Are we at all able to decide who created a particular imÂage and why, what the circumstances were in which a photo was made, who distributed the image, with what intentions and through which channels? In short, do we still know what we are looking at and what it teaches us about the world we live in? The media landscape has become extreÂ mely complex and these questions are almost impossible to answer. Fundamental changes brought about by technology and social media have had far-reaching consequences for the value and significance of the image and its relationship with reality. We all increasingly have to take on the role of an editor who adopts a critical attitude to the images that reach us and therefore to our world. Images are never neutral. There is always an image-maker with an agenda, a sender who often has ambiguous reasons for distributing a specific image in a specific context. Who determines what we see and why? Who determines what is news? We have decided to focus in this issue of Foam Magazine not in the first instance on the image itself but on a number of gatekeepers who are important in determining which images of an event we get to see, and in turn promoting a cause or influencing change. The Editor, The Reactionist, The Artist, The Essayist and The Idealist: our selection is of course not complete, and it is a subject of debate in itself. Nevertheless we hope that with the categories we have chosen, and the way the diverse methods
they use operate upon each other, we have done justice to some extent to the complexity of the current image climate. Each of them has a specific way of working and a specific media strategy. Each has a message and seeks an audience, utilising photography as a tool of contemporary activism. This applies to the picture editors in traditional media such as newspapers or magazines, which are not just platforms for still photography but, in their digital formats, have to devote more and more space to moving images, multimedia projects and longer-running reports. It is quite some years now, however, since they had a monopoly on the telling or interpretation of news. The growing influence of NGOs is striking. With budgets that are often greater than those of traditional journalistic media, they are important not only in commissioning reports but also in distributing images. Besides this, photographers increasingly take the helm themselves and create podia on which they present their own work. The hybrid character of the contemporary media market means that tasks that used to be shared by producers, editors, distributers, viewers and activists now often fall to a single person. At the same time, collaboration and cross-fertilisation have become essential. The current dynamism and the multiplicity of platforms regularly prompt a reaction and a sustained critical attitude to media and the questioning of both the players and the playing field is more essential than ever if we are to achieve an appropriate stance towards todayâ€™s world. Because even though there are more images, more image-makers and more distributors than ever, our consciousness of this means that it may perhaps be harder than ever to form a reasonably realistic impression of the world around us. Marloes Krijnen Editor-in-Chief
The Messenger Image-Based Activism Today
ImageAc Today 2
-Based ctivism Introduction
by Marcel Feil 3
Given the origin, nature an what influence do they ha of and opinion and judgem
For our knowledge of the world, visual material is an extremely important source of information. Photography, but also video and film, are essential in informing us about what is going on in the world and putting us in a position to form an image of it. But the amount of material available has increased to almost unmanageable proportions over the past decade. How can we make a relevant selection? And what should be our attitude to images if we have little hope of finding out who sent them, or why they were produced and distributed? Because no image is neutral. Everything is made for a reason, however unfathomable that reason may be. Precisely because visual information is so essential in a society shaped by the media, it is ideally suited to add force to certain convictions. Many parties follow a hidden agenda by communicating through images, whether the intention is to inform, to comment, to activate, to seduce or indeed to mislead. Image-based activism is increasing, but it has many, often deceptive, faces. The rise of digital photography and of software that makes it possible to manipulate images (both within the functionality of a camera and in applications online) and to distribute them has radically changed the photographic landscape. Devices with which photographic images can be created, whether they be traditional cameras, smart phones, tablets or something else, are cheap and available to all. This means that photos are no longer the preserve of a limited, specialized group. Everyone can make images and everyone does – continually and all over the place. More and more digital applications, as accessible as the image-making equipment itself, allow images to be produced, distributed, shared and manipulated at great speed. The result is that images are everywhere. These changes are so radical, both for
the medium itself and for the social and psychological consequences of the use of images, that it would be no exaggeration to call the first part of the twenty-first century ‘photographic’. Having said that, these fundamental changes to the photographic landscape also mean that within the company of photographic practitioners, viewers, critics and theorists, there is an increasing and legitimate desire to redefine ‘the photographic’. Because what are we talking about these days when we speak of photography and the photographic? Perhaps not what we were talking about in the last century, when photography was universally seen as a medium based on silver-gelatine emulsion and a physical object. Photography was always bound to a physical phenomenon with certain physical characteristics, whether in the form of the negative or a print. Digital ization has made the medium immaterial and reduced it to a collection of data based on algorithms. Whereas the physical object was allocated time and space, digital data can escape those limitations and reveal themselves at many different times and places
nd functioning of images, ave on our knowledge ment about the world?
We should take good note of the fact that the technical apparatus with which images are currently produced and viewed is far from straightforward. It is almost impossible to pin to an unambiguous definition. Because although we can speak as easily of cameras as of photographs, the word barely suffices to designate the equipment used. What are we talking about when we refer to the equipment that is part of today’s photographic reality? Trevor Paglen, as gifted an artist as he is a theoretician, has made an interesting attempt in the blog Still Searching at the Photography Museum Winterthur – which is well worth reading – to approach ‘the photographic’ in an alternative and comprehensive way by using the term ‘seeing machines’. He is referring not just to the way in which people use technology to ‘see’ the world but how machines see the world for the benefit of other machines. The term ‘includes familiar photographic devices and categories like viewfinder cameras and photosensitive films and papers, but it quickly moves far beyond that. It embraces everything from iPhones to airport security backscatter-imaging devices, from electrooptical reconnaissance satellites in low-earth orbit to QR code readers at supermarket checkouts, from border checkpoint facialrecognition surveillance cameras to privatized networks of Automated License Plate
Recognition systems, and from military widearea-airborne-surveillance systems to the roving cameras on board legions of Google’s Street View cars.’ For Paglen the crux of the definition of photography he proposes is that it is so wide-ranging. It embraces “imaging devices” (“cameras” broadly understood), the data they produce (“images” being one possible manifestation of that data), and the seeing-practices with which they are enmeshed.’ Now it is not my intention to lose myself in a theoretical discourse about the ontology of contemporary photography or to go looking for an appropriate vocabulary in which to talk about it. What interests me is the third aspect of Paglen’s definition: ‘seeing-practice’. Although the other two aspects (imaging devices and data) are certainly essential for a proper understanding of the nature of contemporary photographic reality, they are mainly technology-driven and at a certain distance from the direct, daily involvement of people. It is a different story with ‘seeingpractices’, which do demand the direct involvement of people and ultimately determine
Image-Based Activism Today
simultaneously, as soon as they have been entered into a digital network. A simple upload is sufficient to lose sight of, and control over, an image. The vocabulary of photography and the theoretical frameworks within which photography can be discussed and understood need to be revised, and fortunately many people within the photographic community are making creditable moves in that direction.
the value and significance given to an image (although Paglen probably does not exclude the possibility that this ‘seeing-practice’ has a bearing on ‘seeing by machines’). Because given the origin, nature and functioning of images, what influence do they have on our knowledge of and opinion and judgement about the world, simply by virtue of the fact that we see the images and attribute significance to them? In short, how does ‘seeingpractice’ contribute to a better understanding of the world? Or, even better, does it contribute at all to a better understanding of the world? The central question here concerns the relationship between image and reality, a question that in essence has been asked since photo graphy began. The trustworthiness of photo graphy as a truthful documentation of reality, the value of photographic representation and the contribution made by photographic material as evidence, whether in the judicial sense or not, has always been the subject of discussion, and is so now more than ever. Because the medium has become so much more dependent on technology and because of the countless, often almost untraceable steps that can be taken between the moment of shooting and the moment of viewing, a verifiable relationship between image and reality has become extremely complicated. The public seems increasingly aware of this, with the result that some people turn lethargically away (although perhaps the abundance and ubiquity of images may be at the root of this), while others try to make active use of the possibilities offered by those same media, especially social media, to develop new structures and strategies for relating consciously to the world around us.
Where in the past the availability of media was not so democratized as it is today and photography was often the only visual source of information, receptivity to intrinsic and often engaged messages could be many times greater than it is now. An iconic example of nineteenth century social documentary photo graphy is How the Other Half Lives, a project by Jacob Riis that recorded the appalling living conditions in which the homeless and unemployed lived in New York in about 1890. The title says a great deal, underlining the value of the photos as a truthful document: just look, this is how it is, this is how the other half lives. The title also underlines the fact that the public called upon to look at the photos represents a different segment of society than the people in the photos. There is a clear division between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and Riis clearly takes a position in favour of the people he photographed. Through the act of looking he makes a direct appeal to the conscience of society. In the early twentieth century a rapidly emerging social conscience and the organizations that arose from it led to an increase in engaged documentary photography that, with its pronounced political agenda, was often directed at specific social groups, such as the work of Lewis Hine, who was commissioned by the National Child Labor Committee. The rise of documentary photography as a new visual instrument received a boost in the interwar years. This happened partly under the influence of processes of social democratization, emerging mass media (film theatres, a new illustrated press, the rise of advertising etc.) and a new, vigorous visual culture, but also under the influence of what artist, critic and curator Jorge Ribalta describes as ‘a double ideological impulse’: an impulse from above, originating in a growing awareness of the potential of the notion of ‘the documentary’ among influential, socially engaged persons and institutions, and an impulse from below that was far more revolutionary in nature and had its roots in a self-organizing, disobedient proletariat with a powerfully antibourgeois agenda. The first of these impulses (the liberal one, if you will) was dominant in the United States in particular as part of a modernistic
Ribalta calls the FSA a ‘retrospective canonic influence’, a ‘source reference’ for countless forms of documentary photography and photojournalism, in the postwar period especially. He points in particular to the postwar interpretation of the FSA archive by Edward Steichen, who in retrospect saw the victims of the Great Depression as forerunners of victims during the war. Steichen’s interpretation and his institutional power led to a hegemony of liberal photographic humanism, in which ‘the key idea is about the representation of the human condition, the fixation on the “new images of man”. That is, representations of the human figure and body under a post- traumatic experience, namely war, bombings, killings, camps, dead bodies, etc. The war iconography of mass victims that proliferated in illustrated magazines is a key source of such existentialist visual rhetoric.’ The fact that Steichen’s liberal photographic humanism was above all an institutional discourse with a strongly ideological slant became all the more clear in his iconic exhibition The Family of Man, held in the MoMA in 1955, in which in a sentimental way ‘the other’ was taken up into a worldwide family. Photographic reality was and is generally very different. Many photojournalists, especially those who record war and conflict, adopt the position of an apparently neutral third party who is purely reporting what comes in front of their camera. That which is photographed is mainly ‘them’, the others, definitely at a
distance from the photographer, a distance that ultimately recurs in the inability of a viewer truly to connect with the people in a photo. In an article for Aperture Magazine about the shift in photojournalistic practice from neutral observer to the position of participant, Fred Ritchin quotes the British critic John Berger, who for decades has advocated a photographer who does not so much see himself as someone reporting on the world but rather as someone who records on behalf of those involved in the event that is being photographed. There would then be a far better chance of the person photographed being seen not as an exotic other but as someone who is an integral part of the viewer’s experience. Then, Ritchin writes, there would be a ‘shared web of relationships that would resonate today with the intimacies of social media and hypertextual qualities of the web. Rather than represented as distant, the victims of war, those who instigate it, and those watching from afar could be made more proximate and potentially more mutually engaged.’ This shift in perspective whereby ‘we’ are photographed rather than looking at ‘them’, is perhaps visible most clearly and convincingly in images made not by professional photographers but by those involved in a conflict. The wide distribution of equipment with a camera function and the ease with which photos can be made and distributed has led to forms of citizen journalism that are responsible for the most valid and revealing pictures of conflict, images that were not made by an external third party but by someone on the inside who records as a person directly involved, from a powerful case of ‘us’. It is precisely where the professional photojournalist is lacking, for example because it is far too dangerous or because access is impossible, that we are often reliant upon material from the inside. The problem of course is that such images come from people who are anything but neutral, and opportunities to verify the material or to give it an explanatory context are generally lacking. The web project Watching Syria’s War by The New York Times, to which we also pay attention in this issue, is a brave and perhaps necessary attempt to offer a platform to a voice from a divided but deadly dangerous country. In his contribution, online editor Liam
Image-Based Activism Today
explanation of the emergence and rise of the documentary genre, and it was influential until long after the Second World War. During the interwar years it reached its highpoint in the photographic practice of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), which hired photographers to record the miserable circumstances in which poor farmers were living, whose economic existence was threatened. Under the leadership of Roy Stryker, head of the Infor mation Division of the FSA, a clear goal was set, namely ‘America for the Americans’, such that the photographer, who documents and reports, functioned as an intermediary, a messenger, between the state and the dispossessed and threatened. Above all a strongly political agenda was followed to push through societal change.
Stack looks at the choices that have been made in order to deal in a responsible way with the countless dilemmas inherent in this kind of contemporary reporting.
But now that everyone (the good, the bad and the ugly) is in possession of what Trevor Paglen calls ‘seeing machines’, and now that everyone has the ability to produce and distribute images at lightning speed and so make them part of the metadata of the web, and therefore in theory everyone can be a player in the fight to win over public opinion, photo graphy is an increasingly powerful weapon, not to be underestimated. Visual material can have a direct influence on the course of events. After the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009, in which demonstrators made much deliberate use of social media, it was above all the mass protests in Cairo, leading to the fall of Mubarak in 2011, that could be seen as a watershed in the use of social media by protest movements. Social media in general, and Facebook in particular, provided new sources of information that the regime could not easily control and that were crucial in shaping how citizens made individual decisions about participating in protests, the logistics of protest, and the likelihood of success. Countless people produced and disseminated visuals from the demonstrations, mainly through Facebook. The value of visual material within certain prominent events (protests, conflicts, wars, but just as much within political election campaigns, for example) has hereby shifted from primarily that of reporting, whether seen as true or untrue, to a clearly active constructive interest. That which is apparently documentary more and more often works as a catalyst for certain events. Images evoke an immediate reaction, colour opinions and steer the debate, and they quite often have a direct influence on decision-making processes. This knowledge makes a sophisticated media strategy an inseparable part of contemporary means of combat. Gruesome examples of this have been provided by ISIS. The format of the horrifying beheading video is perfectly suited to be watched on a mobile phone and is therefore aimed at sowing fear in as wide a public as possible – quite apart from the cynical decision to dress prisoners in orange overalls in a clear reference to prisoners at Guantanamo
Bay. Images evoke other images, images can be a constructive or a destructive force, even if it is impossible or unbearable to determine their authenticity. In addition, ISIS gives a clear signal by hacking American government services. The battle is fought on several fronts and at several speeds, from the barbaric and bloodthirsty battle in the desert to a technological battle for the virtual arena. Having said that, the new media landscape has brought about an astonishing and fundamental shift with regard to the possession and use of images, of information and with it power and possibilities, a shift that cannot be reversed and that has direct consequences for the notion of power. Traditional powers, from nation states to multinationals, have to take more and more account of new forces that are organized from below in all kinds of ways and for all kinds of reasons, in response to perceived need. Coalitions that have grown organically or been organized with a clear goal in mind, made up of angry citizens or duped consumers, of information and media activists or citizen journalists: they all potentially have a distinct and influential voice in the twenty-first century interplay of forces. That is a historic change. It raises questions about who we are, what we feel part of, how we should behave as citizens, as members of a community that is different from and more fluid than anything defined by the boundaries of a sovereign state. It raises questions about what we share and with whom, about how we should organize ourselves and through which ethics and aesthetics this new notion of ‘being’ can resonate. It is less and less about an ancient division according to social and economic class or about ‘them’. Rather it is about a new sense of ‘us’.
Opening the Conversation, by Fred Ritchin, p. 10 / VICE, Tim Freccia, Saving South Sudan, p. 15 / VICE, Annie Flanagan, Sweet Crude, p. 25 / VICE, Donald Weber, Molotov, p. 31 / Recasting the Landscape, by Matthew Leifheit, p. 33 / Hans Aarsman, De Aarsman Collectie, p. 35 / The New York Times, Watching Syria’s War, p. 43 / Watching Syria’s War, by Liam Stack, p. 53 / Jan Dirk van der Burg, Censorship Daily, p. 55 / Under the Blue Tape, by Thomas Erdbrink, p. 63
t e editor
Opening by Fred Ritchin
Conversation The Messenger
What is the role of an editor given the undiluted barrage of imagery already available on social media? How does an editor manage to interest an image-weary readership in issues that urgently concern society? How can an editor advocate for social change? 10
VICE Tim Freccia, Saving South Sudan
Hans Aarsman De Aarsman Collectie
Playground in Aleppo, 3 November 2014, photo Baraa Al-Halabi /AFP
The height she is now Why do we see only two children here? It’s beautiful weather, the playground should be full. This is Aleppo, of course; outdoors you take your life in your hands. Any moment there might be shooting, or a bomb fall. But it’s not safe indoors either. The girl on the right lost both legs when the family’s home was hit by a shell. Aleppo, the city fought over by various groups, each more ruthless than the last. A house is visible between the trees, the sun on it. You can tell from the crooked, partly blown away balconies that there must have been explosions here. Or is it more a matter of lack of maintenance? The photo was taken by one Baraa al-Halabi. A search tells me Baraa is an Arab girl’s name. There’s little else to be found about Baraa alHalabi. She sends her photos to the international press agency AFP, but she doesn’t travel herself. All her photos are made in Aleppo. Her twitter account doesn’t include a picture of her, only details of photos she’s made. It seems she wants to remain anonymous. Baraa al-Halabi could be a pseudonym. Sensible, maybe, in an environment in which having dealings with Western organizations is quickly seen as disloyalty. Did she wait until no one was around before taking the photo? Still, a woman photographing two children – who would think of a press photographer? A mother, that’s what you think of. The girl on the right is called Shuruq, according to the AFP caption. Not necessarily her real name. She’s put her wheelchair under the seat of the seesaw and heaved herself onto it. Shuruq is older and bigger than the girl on the left, yet she seems to be lighter. Her side of the seesaw stays up. Do the legs she’s lost make such a difference to her weight? No, it’s her hand, beneath her, you can see it behind the seesaw. She’s holding the right armrest of her wheelchair to push herself up. That’s as far as she can seesaw, down to the seat of the wheelchair and then up to the height she is now. I puzzled over how well Shuruq and the photographer know each other. Might they be family, mother and daughter perhaps. There’s no straight forward way to find out. But that’s good too. As if the photo wasn’t already heartbreaking enough.
The New York Times Watching Syria's War
Jan Dirk van der Burg Censorship Daily
Today’s Future: Hacking the Lens-Based Network, by Zippora Elders, p. 66 / James Bridle, Dronestagram, p. 71 / Mining the Glut, by James Bridle, p. 79 / Zach Blas, Facial Weaponization Suite, p. 81 / Facial Weaponization Suite, by Zach Blas, p. 85 / #Dysturb, Untitled, p. 87 / Space nterrupted, by Pierre Terdjman, p. 103 / Street Ghosts, by Paolo Cirio, p. 105 / The Art of Surveillance, by Juha van ’t Zelfde, p. 111 / Responses to Photography’s Omnipresence, by Geert Lovink, p. 115
the react ionist
Todayâ€™s Future: Hacking the Lens-Based Network by Zippora Elders
In an issue that deals with the current state of lens-based activism, we cannot ignore our new environment formed by digital network culture. The artists and thinkers in this chapter respond to the current status quo. 66
James Bridle Dronestagram
Zach Blas Facial Weaponization Suite
Street GhostS by Paolo Cirio
In this project, I exposed the spectres of Google’s eternal realm of private, misappropriated data: the bodies of people captured by Google’s Street View cameras, whose ghostly, virtual presence I marked in Street Art fashion at the precise spot in the real world where they were photo graphed. These images do not offer details, but the blurred colours and lines on the posters give a gauzy, spectral aspect to the human figures, unveiling their presence like a digital shadow haunting the real world. 105
The world after 9/11 has created its own art: the art of mass surveillance. Martha Rosler, Laura Poitras and Trevor Paglen are artists who have joined the ranks of activists, whistleblowers and journalists in criticising the overreach of governments, intelligence agencies and corporations that use the threat of terrorism to gain power, control and profit. They eavesdrop on the entire internet, cover cities with a network of cameras that record every step we take, and terrorize villages from the air with military drones.
Artists are addressing this injustice and violation of civil liberties, asking hard questions and imagining better answers in ways that are both novel and familiar. By creating countermemes, design足ing anti-drone fashion, and photographing the invisible architectures of surveillance, artists are using the rules of engagement of the systems they critique.
The Art of Surveillance
The Art of Surveillance by Juha van 't Zelfde
Hito Steyerl and Metahaven are two examples of the numerous artists who deal with the contemporary by being truly contemporary. With their deep, heuristic and analytical understanding of the cultural ramifications of Moore’s Law, Silicon Valley and viral culture, they create necessary stories to counter the endless stream wand propagandist stories we encounter on our screens daily. They surf popular culture to make us look better at the media we consume. And they troll the powers of our nightmares, whether they are ISIS or the US.
All images from the video How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, 2013 © Hito
Steyerl, courtesy of the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York
Responses to Photography’s Omnipresence by Geert Lovink
Responses to Photography's Omnipresence
‘The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.’ — Oscar Wilde In his notes on the photo-sharing social net work Instagram, Vincent Larach observes that ‘the photograph has become an integral part of our lives. It is so deeply embedded in the way we capture moments in time and share information that we barely notice the medium that we employ to do so much'. We barely notice: welcome to the technosubconscious, a rapidly growing realm, facilitated by the ever-growing amount of gadgets and recording devices that surround us. 115
The part of the mind below the level of conscious perception is constantly steered by the feedback loops of the machines. At first we are fascinated and sense the disruption but soon after the app or feature dissolves in the background and becomes part of every day life. Image production and consumption have become an integral part of the not-wholly conscious sphere, resulting in the victory of the public gaze over privacy—in any possible circumstance. In today’s ever-changing media environment, it is an ongoing effort to build up — and main tain — a critical understanding of all the hidden ideologies inside the software, interfaces and platforms that directly feed the technosubconscious. This is also the case for artists and activists who for aesthetic and sociopolitical reasons intensively explore the possibilities of new technologies. Artists, Ezra Pound once declared, ‘are the antennae of the race'. A century ago they were suppo sed to be the first to sense the dramatic changes to come. These days, however, our avant-garde consists of geeks and venture capitalists. It is the virtual class that defines the user framework of new products and 116
Entering the Frame, by Max Houghton, p. 122 / Zanele Muholi, Faces and Phases, p. 127 / Zanele Muholi's Direct Address, by Thomas Keenan, p. 143 / Bringing the War Home, Martha Rosler in conversation with Kim Knoppers, p. 145 / Invisible Landscapes and Forbidden Exhibitions, by Savas Boyraz, p. 149 / Eefje Blankevoort & Anoek Steketee, Love Radio, p. 153 / A Tool for Reconciliation, by Eefje Blankevoort & Anoek Steketee, p. 169 / Whitey on the Moon, by Ossian Ward, p. 171 / Matthias Bruggmann, Theatre of Operations, p. 175 / When Force Is Gone, There’s Always Mom, by Matthias Bruggmann, p. 183
Chapter III The Artist
Entering the by Max Houghton
Frame The Messenger
Picture an audience: countless pairs of eyes, engaged in the act of looking. Letâ€™s say the object of the gaze is a portrait, taken by a photographer. For some, the name and recognisable style of the photographer will carry the most weight. For others, the subject of the portrait, is everything. 122
Zanele Muholi Faces and Phases
Bringing the War Home Martha Rosler in conversation with Kim Knoppers
KK: You belong to the generation of artists of the sixties and seventies who questioned the authority of the documentary image and its function by using photomontage. House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home became one of your signature series. How did that work come about? MR: I was appalled by the broadcasting of the war into our living rooms during dinnertime. I was even more appalled by the war. I wanted to make some agitational images. KK: The title of the series is a combination of the title of a popular interior magazine and a popular sixties anti-war slogan: the title is a montage in itself. Why did you choose that title? MR: The work did not have a series title until much later. The title seemed like a reasonable mash-up. KK: Where did the images first appear? MR: The images were photocopied (black and white only, of course) in numbers, and handed out at demonstrations, and where people gathered against the war. When I moved to California, a few years after I made them, a few were published in so-called underground newspapers and magazines. Some I did not even know about until later, since, I think, people reproduced them from the photocopies.
KK: You did not originally intend to show these works in art institutions. So what changed to make you decide to show them in an art context ten years later, and where did you exhibit them? MR: In 1982 a critic published a feature on appropriation art in Artforum, and it included a fullpage image of one of the works. Then, about ten years after that, a small New York gallery invited me to exhibit some of the photomontages, and I hesitated. I spoke to a friend – a critic and curator – who warned me about the then-current trend for redoing works of the 1960s and 1970s, of course, but then he offered an argument in favour of introducing these works further into the art world environment. He reminded me that I had intended people to take the message from the works that ‘you can do this too! It’s simple!’ and if the works were on view, people would know they had been made as anti-war agitation and would have the opportunity to make use of their example. Further, if they were to go on exhibit, they would be associated with my name. I felt that he had made an argument for history, pedagogy, and ego, and that that was irresistible! KK: How did you try to have a direct impact on the viewers of House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home? What kind of found material did you use to come up with an intriguing and seductive image that could generate interest for a serious matter like the Vietnam War and the role that media images play? MR: I put idealised bourgeois home environments, as pictured in magazines and architectural prints, together with news images of the war. Neither type of image was unusual to a mass public, but together they suggest other meanings. I wanted the images to be immediately comprehensible, and without words. But seduction is not my interest; I’m too much of a rationalist. I am in favour of turning on the lights.
Bringing the War Home
Martha Rosler has for many years produced works on war and the national security climate, connecting life at home with the conduct of war abroad, in which her photomontage series played a critical part. She stood alongside other seminal artists of the 1970s, including Allan Sekula, Barbara Kruger and Sherrie Levine, who were highly critical about mass media, and who led the way for artists using images to criticise consumerism and capitalist society. Kim Knoppers, a curator at Foam, talks with Rosler about the artist as activist and the power of images.
Invisible Landscapes and Forbidden Exhibitions
Invisible Landscapes and Forbidden Exhibitions by Savas Boyraz
Observation The work started off in the traditional documentary photography sense. The aim was to unite and highlight the conditions of an oppressed group, the Kurds in the borderlands between Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq, the region known as Kurdistan. For a long time I photographed the Kurds living in villages close to the state borders that separated them from neighbouring Kurdish villages. With the help of the photographic image I was attempting, in a symbolic way, to unite a Kurdish identity that is torn by four borders. My photography took place between May 2010 and July 2012. Re/action – re/enactment On 28th December 2011, the tragic Roboski / Uludere Massacre took place in a village on the Turkish-Iraqi border. Two Turkish F16 jets hit civilians who were smuggling household commodities over the border, killing thirty four people, half of them children. That incident changed the way I handle the concept of borders throughout the project. As an instinctive reaction to this tragedy I decided to cross the borders I was photographing, illegally 150
Eefje Blankevoort & Anoek Steketee Love Radio
Whitey on the Moon by Ossian Ward Broomberg and Chanarin test the existence of institutionalized racism, through the prejudices found in the medium of photography itself. in typically spiky style by Jean-Luc Godard during a similarly doomed assignment in Mozambique. All but one of the 400 images they took managed to reveal something after being developed in the dark room. Only a lowly, desiccated palm frond was left as proof of their efforts, the remaining image and the entire research trip seemingly having been filtered through a purply haze brought about by the Pygmy tribe’s powerful Iboga-induced trip.
To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light. In 2012 the London-
based artists were sent on an assignment to the forests of Gabon to photograph the hallucinogen-fuelled rituals of a West African (Bwiti) religious ceremony. Suspicious of their roles as intrepid photo-anthropologists, they decided to take only rolls of long-expired Kodak film. This outdated photographic stock, dating from the late 1970s and known to perform poorly on black subjects, had been dubbed ‘racist’
Whitey on the Moon
The impulse to document a country or its people is doubly denied in Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s series,
Almost a century before them, a group of artists, linguists, writers and ethnographers from Paris set off to document the cultures of Senegal and Eritrea on the now-famous Dakar-Djibouti Mission, which traversed the continent of Africa from east to west between May 1931 and February 1933. Led by explorer Marcel Griaule, with the famed surrealist Michel Leiris and others in tow, the expedition’s aim was to remove the exoticism surrounding previous studies and to empirically record rituals, dances, artefacts and everyday life in great detail. Among the outcomes and materials gathered between Dakar and Djibouti (3,600 objects, 300 manuscripts, 6,000 photographs and 200 sound recordings, now in Parisian museums) were Leiris’s polemic journal, L’Afrique fantôme and Griaule’s photos, which could both be described as highly subjective bodies of evidence, despite the team’s best-laid plans. No amount of ethnographic or academic rigour can rid language of its inherent argument or bias, nor excise an angle or framing decision from a supposedly
non-artistic, descriptive photograph – a masked face, a posed group of tribal elders or a white man conversing with a villager are all, in their own ways, charged with post-colonial angst, especially when viewed from the perspective of the 21st century. Even Broomberg and Chanarin’s refusal of their photo-journalistic commission to document the Bwiti rituals and the solitary frame that resulted from their visit to Gabon, can tell us something important and pointed about the context in which the image was (almost accidentally) produced. Far from constituting a failure for the artists, Kodak Ektachrome 34 1978 frame 4, as the mauve-tinged palm photograph is titled, instigated a complex vein of research by Broomberg and Chanarin into the racial profiling or colour preferences inherent in the conditions of photography, a subject that lent this diverse project its overarching title: To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light (2012-13). This phrase was invented by employees at Eastman Kodak in the early 1980s to extoll the virtues of its improved Gold Max film, but was perhaps a veiled reference to criticism that previous film stocks couldn’t cope with black or dark-skinned faces, the emulsions apparently not reproducing browns, greens, and other tones with sufficient variegation.
With no horses in sight, Broomberg and Chanarin chose instead to focus on the exclusively white female models, used by Kodak and other companies, to match colours in early colour photography swatches and test cards of the 1950s. These beauties, each generically named Shirley, apparently after the first such model, provided reference points for balancing Caucasian skin tones and ignored the possible existence of any ethnically-diverse Shirleys, at least until relatively recently. This erasure is implicit in Broomberg and Chanarin’s found and re-printed Shirley portraits but explicit in the text found on some of the original prints, in which the accompanying caption proclaims the model, her colour and the rest of the image to be ‘Normal’. Certainly as artists working sceptically and critically within the photographic medium, Broomberg and Chanarin are only too
aware that there is no normal when it comes to the production and presentation of photographic imagery. Indeed, the outwardly mundane or ordinary is often merely the smokescreen for something unexpected or sinister, as per Hannah Arendt’s coinage of the term The Banality of Evil or as in the colloquial English phrase, ‘You’re a dark horse,’ referring to a person with hitherto hidden traits or talents (unlike Kodak’s sleight of hand, this expression has no overt racial connotations, in fact it is said to originate in Victorian politician Benjamin Disraeli’s description of a surprise winner coming from behind in a horse race). Beyond the smiling ladies who represent colour but who themselves ironically have no colour are the ghostly collages produced by Broomberg and Chanarin, entitled Magic and the State (also 2012). These eight images, also photographed in Gabon, depict the bodies or rather the silhouettes
Matthias Bruggmann Theatre of Operations
Demanding Space, by Kim Knoppers, p. 186 / Rabih Mroué, Extinguished Eyes, Excerpt from The Pixelated Revolution, p. 191 / On Extinguished Eyes, by Rabih Mroué, p. 197 / Cairo. Open City. New Testimonies From an Ongoing Revolution, by Florian Ebner & Constanze Wicke, p. 199 / Akram Zaatari, Untold, p. 203 / Untold, by Akram Zaatari, p. 217 / Antiphotojournalism, by Carles Guerra, p. 219 / A Protester in Homs, Syria, by Florian Göttke, p. 225
Chapter IV The Essayist
the Essay ist
Demanding by Kim Knoppers
Space The Messenger
The artists in this chapter reflect mainly on the functioning of images in the Middle East. Although the countries in the Middle East are of course extremely diverse in social, economic and cultural sense, there is no other recent example of a geographical area that has been so frequently and emphatically the theme of the work of artists, curators, filmmakers, writers and researchers. 186
Rabih MrouĂŠ Extinguished Eyes, Excerpts From The Pixelated Revolution 191
We went to Cairo for the first time at the end of summer 2011, our aim being to learn more about the images we had seen of the revolution spearheaded by Tunisian and Egyptian youth using the digital media and social networks to galvanize protest. We felt we could only really understand the background by going local. Till that moment we had been media spectators, more of those Western observers of an uprising by an internetsavvy generation, using their cameras and mobile phones like Kalashnikovs, an image depicted in countless illustrations and pieces of graffiti with which we could all identify. Cairo. Open City. New Testimonies from an Ongoing Revolution, was an experiment, a constantly transforming project, a local dialogue. It took on the concrete form of an exhibition as a gesture of empathy and fascination for the mass of reports and feature articles that in spring 2011 helped lead to the Facebook Revolution. But our stay in Cairo and our conversations with the photographers and artists, activists and journalists, filmmakers and curators we met there changed our perspective. Some things could only really
Cairo. Open City. New Testimonies From an Ongoing Revolution
Cairo. Open City. New Testimonies from an Ongoing Revolution by Florian Ebner & Constanze Wicke
be comprehended by being there: representation does not take precedence over reality; images can skew oneâ€™s view of the actuality they reference; the time for such considerations may not yet be ripe. And if our view was already focused on the pictures, then the image culture of the uprising is made up of far more than the new recordings of events that consigned old-style photojournalism to the past. The exhibition was a response to what we learned from the people we encountered on our trips and the many things they showed us; it was their viewpoints and attitudes that were represented, their contributions and input determined the way the material was selected. Lara Baladi, Osama Dawod, Rowan El Shimi, Heba Farid, Thomas Hartwell, Tarek Hefny, Ahmed Kamel, Jasmina Metwaly, Alex Nunns and Philip Rizk were all closely involved in the determination of the exhibitionâ€™s conception. The project attempts to present a typological cross section of the images produced by the revolution, a cartography delineating usages to which images are put, a photo album of the complex process of social and political upheaval,
We felt we could only really understand the background by going local.
Akram Zaatari Untold
NA-AP04 Ismat Omar Mansouri (Democratic Front) from Ramallah. Askalan prison, 1998.
Your friend Ismat Omar Mansouri Deir Jarir Ramallah West Bank Tel: 9952592 Askalan prison April 17, 1998
I dedicate this portrait of me to comrade Nabih Awada, hoping it reminds him of the moments of suffering that we shared, and the common fate that united us behind these bars. I am offering it to you as an expression of my wish to communicate outside these fences. I wish you a quick release, and wish your family and people eternal happiness when all your hopes and goals are realized, when our South is liberated.
NA-CP34 Bassam Hamid (Abu Rima, the Popular Front) from el Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp (Syria). Askalan prison.
Your faithful friend Bassam Hamid, Abu Rima Syria, el Yarmouk camp Facing Palestine Mosque
My comrade and my precious friend Nabih, The time we spent together, even if marked by pain, had a very special taste even when deprived of our freedom. We were able to embody freedom thanks to our mutual understanding while conditions around us were painful. My dear, the day when we sit together on Fayzaâ€™s lap in Beirut will come soon [Fayza is Nabihâ€™s mother], and we will have our whiskey glasses in our hands. Until then, I send you my love and my kisses.
Antiphotojournalism by Carles Guerra
Antiphotojournalism sounds like an offensive word but the idea behind it is not. On the contrary, it looks deep into photojournalism and many of its implicit ideas. Because the humani足tarian drive that galvanizes the behaviour of professional photographers has almost forbidden a critique of their work. I cannot think of any image production regime so immune to criticism. Its informative character is based on the authenticity of the contact with real events. This makes its mission something indistinguishable from a pri足vileged access economy. The empirical contact with the real is often celebrated as the climax of this photographic genre and has become a credo since the days of Robert Capa. At this moment, any judgement on photojournalism is confronted with a solid system, however based on beliefs rather than rational arguments. 219
Photojournalism, as we know it, is riddled with paradoxes. The empirical contact with the ongoing events experienced by the photographer has no correspondence on the side of the newspaperâ€™s readers. The images poorly printed on the morning papers or flashing up on our computer screens cannot be tested. We can only hope that what they convey is true. In short, photojournalism is our fundamentalism. We desperately need it but, in case we doubt, nothing else is ready to replace it. The intention of Antiphotojournalism was not to kill photo220
A Protester in Homs, Syria by Florian Göttke
I look at him; he looks at me. His face is covered by a mask, but I can clearly see his eyes behind it. Our gazes meet, piercing through all of the intermediate layers of the media, in what feels like a live encounter. He looks at me with expectation: he poses a question; he makes a demand. 1 The mask covering his face reminds me of a Mexican wrestler’s mask – tightly fitted, transforming the face into one smooth surface. It seems to be handcrafted from a keffiyeh, a scarf symbolically linked to the Palestinian resistance, and that, in recent years, has also become a fashion item. The mask is as revealing as it is concealing; it hides the protester’s identity, but not his individuality.
1 This sense, that we looked each other in the eye, that we became aware of each other’s presence and recognised each other’s existence is what Roland Barthes would have called the ‘punctum’ of the photo – the force of which struck me at that moment. Now, the closer I look at this image, the less sure I am that his eyes are actually visible. Still I keep having
the feeling that he is looking at me – maybe even more so because I can’t precisely determine the position of his eyes. 2 I spoke with a Syrian artist and learned that, at that time in shops across Syria, people had to show their ID to buy fabric and paint – the standard items necessary for making protest banners.
The sign he holds up to the camera is not a standard protest sign; it looks like a red velvet pillow in the shape of a heart, taken right off of his parent’s living room couch. It is emblazoned with a single word in Arabic: ‘freedom’. Love is his message and freedom his demand.2 The protester is wearing a sky-blue tracksuit top and black pants. His sex is not easily determined. His somewhat rounded hips suggest he might be a woman, but this could be a distortion resulting from the camera perspective, and in the Arab-Middle Eastern context his short haircut makes it much more likely that he is a man. In his left hand, he is holding what might be a bag. The rest of the photograph is fairly empty: the surface of the asphalt, the hood and roof of a silver car. An uncropped version of the same photograph I found online shows the feet of four more pro-
To avoid police scrutiny, protesters in Syria creatively used other means: individually crafted protest signs scaled down from public square to camera-ready size, slogans written on the palm of hands, symbols painted on faces, c artoons drawn on pieces of p aper – and the most unexpected protest sign: a red velvet cushion. I imagine it coming from a kitschy living room
with a big overstuffed couch and countless pillows on it, the heartshaped one being the most eyecatching and thus the most appropriate to adapt for the protest. It is quite impossible to determine from the photograph how the word was applied to the cushion. The letters could have been embroidered, painted on, stitched on, or glued to the pillow.
A Protester in Homs, Syria
On October 3rd, 2011, I open my morning paper and look down onto a street in Homs, Syria, directly into the eyes of a protester.
From Art to Advocacy, by Tamara Leigh, p. 234 ⁄ Marcus Bleasdale, Human Rights Watch: Central African Republic, p. 239 ⁄ Finding a Photographic Language, by Caroll Bogert, p. 255 ⁄ Kadir van Lohuizen, A Never Ending Story..., p. 257 ⁄ Two Sides of the Lens, by Peter Schouten, p. 273 ⁄ Journalist or Activist, by Kadir van Lohuizen, p. 275
The Ideal ist
From Art to by Tamara Leigh
Advocacy The Messenger
The last few years have seen an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises across the world, from Syria through to Ukraine, Iraq and South Sudan. The UN declared that 2014 was the â€˜worst year ever for childrenâ€™. Considering their data sets only start in the 1950s there is little evidence to support that statement, for history is long and our memories short. We canâ€™t be sure that the world is more dangerous or crisis-stricken today than it was in the past, but we can be certain that humanitarian crises are far more visible than ever before. 234
Marcus Bleasdale Human Rights Watch: Central African Republic
Kadir van Lohuizen A Never Ending Story...
Biographies HANS AARSMAN (b. 1951, the
Netherlands) can best be described as an observer. He has produced several books of photographs including Scenes of Holland and Aarsman’s Amsterdam, and has exhibited several times in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Since 2004 he has written a regular column for the Thursday edition of Dutch daily de Volkskrant, called ‘De Aarsman Collectie’, in which he studies photos like a detective. This year his one man show Own Conclusion, about doing your own fieldwork, is touring Dutch theatres.
Canada) is co-founder of the journalism production company Prospektor. She writes articles and books and makes (multimedia) documentaries. For the exhibition ANGRY at Nederlands Fotomuseum, she produced video portraits of radicals and ex-radicals. The interactive music documentary Hidden Wounds and the two-part radio documentary Men don’t cry, about veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, were recently released. She is currently working on the feature-length production Bring the Jews home. ZACH BLAS (b. 1981, United
States) is an artist whose work engages technology, queerness, and politics. He has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, and the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. In 2013-14, he was a resident at Eyebeam, New York; the White Building, London; and the Moving Museum, Istanbul. He holds a PhD from the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo. All images from the series Facial Weaponization Suite
© Zach Blas, courtesy of the artist
SAVAS BOYRAZ (b. 1980,
MARCUS BLEASDALE (b. 1968, United Kingdom) is a documentary photographer who uses his work to influence policy makers around the world. His work on human rights and conflict has been shown at the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the United Nations and the Houses of Parliament in the UK. His work has appeared in a range of publications including The New Yorker, Harpers, Foreign Policy Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine, Stern, TIME and Newsweek. He is a con-
tributing photographer for
National Geographic Magazine.
All images © Marcus Bleasdale, courtesy of the artist and VII CARROLL BOGERT (b. 1961,
United States) is Deputy Executive Director, External Relations at Human Rights Watch. She oversees the organisation’s external relations and works with the executive director on advocacy and fundraising. She previously served as communications director, publicizing the organisation’s work and drawing attention to human rights issues in more than 90 countries worldwide. Before joining Human Rights Watch, she spent more than a decade in international news reporting for Newsweek. She holds a MA in East Asian Studies and a BA from Harvard University.
Turkey) lives in Stockholm. He contributed to various movie productions of the Mezopotamya Cinema Collective between 1998 and 2006 in Istanbul. He graduated from the Photography Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul in 2009 and recently graduated from the Art in Public Realm Master Program at Konstfack, Stockholm. He was part of the Hassleblad Foundation’s New Nordic Photography 2013 and was awarded the Master Group Victor Fellowship. All images from Invisible
Landscapes And Forbidden Exhibitions © Savas Boyraz,
courtesy of the artist
JAMES BRIDLE (b. 1980, United Kingdom) is an artist, writer, and publisher based in London. His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Wired, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic, New Statesman, the Guardian, the Observer and many others, in print and online. His artworks have been commissioned and exhibited worldwide, most recently with Seamless Transitions at The Photographers Gallery, London. He lectures regularly at universities, conferences and other events. His formulation of the New Aesthetic research project has spurred debate and creative work across multiple disciplines. Keep up to date with Dronestagram at instagram. com/dronestagram.
All images from the series Dronestagram © James Bridle, courtesy of the artist
Kingdom) are artists living and working in London. Together they have had numerous international exhibitions including The Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, The Gwagnju Biennale, the Stedelijk Museum, the International Center of Photography, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, The Photographers Gallery, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art and Museo Jumex. In 2013 they were awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for War Primer 2, and most recently they were awarded the ICP Infinity Award 2014 for their publication, Holy Bible. They are represented by Lisson Gallery, London, and Goodman Gallery, South Africa. Kodak Ektachrome 34 1978 frame 4, 2012, Shirley 1, 2013, and Strip Test 7, 2012 ©
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, courtesy of the artists and Lisson Gallery, London
(b. 1978, France) sees his photography as a questioning of the relationship of the photographic medium to itself, and of photojournalism to its history and conceptualization. He documents wars because he hopes it might be of use to those he photographs. He has worked, among other places, in Haiti, Iraq, Somalia and Syria. He has exhibited often and his work has featured in such publications as TIME, Paris Match, Le Monde 2, Le Figaro Magazine and VICE Magazine. He is represented by Galerie Polaris. All images from the series Theatre of Operations © Matthias Bruggmann, courtesy of the artist and Contact Press Images/Galerie Polaris
Eefje Blankevoort (b. 1978,
ADAM BROOMBERG (b. 1970, South Africa) and OLIVER CHANARIN (b. 1971, United
#Dysturb was formed by PIERRE TERDJMAN (b. 1979, France) and BENJAMIN GIRETTE
JAN DIRK VAN DER BURG
(b. 1978, the Netherlands) is a photographer and filmmaker. His most well-known work is the book of photographs Desire Lines (2011), both an optimistic indictment of an abuse of the landscape and an ode to the shortest way to get from A to B. He also compiles the best Twitter accounts in the Netherlands in autobiographical anthologies in the ongoing series Tweetbundels. Currently, he is in Ukraine working on a documentary and a book in which he tracks a plastic bag trend as a way to decode the complicated human relationships in society. He lives and works in Amsterdam. All images from Censorship Daily © Jan Dirk van der Burg, courtesy of the artist
PAOLO CIRIO (b. 1979, Italy)
graduated with a BA in Drama, Art and Music Studies from the University of Turin. His artworks investigate various issues in fields such as privacy, finance, copyright, and democracy, and actively engage broad audiences in current social and critical debates. He has exhibited in museums and institutions internationally and regularly gives public lectures and workshops. Currently he lives in New York, while having headquarters in London and Turin. All images from the series Street Ghosts © Paolo Cirio, courtesy of the artist
(b.1986, France); both experienced photojournalists, having worked for Gamma agency and IP3 Press agency respectively. The primary goal of #Dysturb is to make news stories accessible to the general public. #Dysturb made their first appearance in Paris, then at Visa pour l’Image. More recently, the PhotoBook Melbourne Festival invited them to Australia, where they pasted approximately 40 images and also held a two-day workshop for aspiring photojournalists at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. All images © Capucine Bailly and Benjamin Girette, courtesy of the artists and #Dysturb
FLORIAN EBNER Florian Ebner
(b. 1970, Germany) studied Photography at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles and History of Art, History and Romance Languages and Literature at the Ruhr University, Bochum. He is Head of the Photography Department at Museum Folkwang Essen and curator of the German Pavilion at 2015 Venice Biennale.
ZIPPORA ELDERS (b. 1986, the
Netherlands) has been a curator at Foam Museum since 2014. She studied art history and museum curating at the University of Amsterdam and the VU University, where she specialized in visual art of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is particularly interested in time-based media art, new media art and network society. She has worked and written for various Dutch art institutions, including the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Sandberg Instituut, the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten and Nieuw Dakota.
THOMAS ERDBRINK (b. 1976, the Netherlands) is one of the few Western reporters accredited for U.S. media in the Islamic Republic of Iran, he joined The New York Times in 2012 as Tehran bureau chief. He began reporting on Iran in 1999 and has been based in Tehran since 2002, when he worked for NRC Handelsblad. He covered the unprecedented anti-government protests that engulfed Tehran and other cities after the presidential election of 2009. He managed to remain in Iran at a time when other media pulled out and some journalists were forced to leave. Annie Flanagan (b. 1986,
United States) is a photographer, filmmaker and educator based in New Orleans. Their work explores topics of self worth, personal narrative, gender and friendship within the documentary framework. Through film and photography, they work to push the boundaries of the format while exploring social issues. A recent graduate from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, their work has been recognized by various publications and awards including VICE, N.P.R., The Washington Post and The Alexia Foundation. All images from Sweet Crude © Annie Flanagan, courtesy of the artist Tim Freccia (b. 1964, United
States) has covered crisis and conflict worldwide. His work has been featured by VICE Magazine, The New York Times, Business Week, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, and a variety of other print and broadcast outlets. He has produced still photography and motion pictures for a number of NGOs and organizations including the UN, CARE, Human Rights Watch and World Vision. He is currently based in New York, working in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He is represented by Ricco/ Maresca Gallery, New York. All images from Saving South © Tim Freccia, courtesy of the artist Sudan
FLORIAN GÖTTKE (b. 1965, Germany) is a visual artist and researcher based in Amsterdam. He investigates the functioning of public images and their relationship to social memory and politics. His lecture and book Toppled about the fallen statues of Saddam Hussein, is a critical study of image practices of appropriation and manipulation in our contemporary media society. Toppled was nominated for the Dutch Doc Award for documentary photography in 2011. Currently he is working on his PhD in Artistic Research entitled Burning Images – performing effigies as political protest at the University of Amsterdam and the Dutch Art Institute/ MfA ArtEZ.
All images from A Protestor in © Florian Göttke, courtesy of the artist
CARLES GUERRA (b. 1965,
Spain) is an artist, critic and curator, and holds a doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona. He has been an adjunct lecturer at Pompeu Fabra University since 2006, as well as a member of the Greenroom Project, an initiative geared to the analysis of contemporary documentary practices, at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, where he has also been a visiting lecturer. He lives and works in Barcelona.
MAX HOUGHTON (b. 1970, United Kingdom) is based in Brighton. She edited the photography biannual 8 magazine for six years, and now writes about photographs for a variety of international publications. She is senior lecturer in photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. She has curated photographic exhibitions in London, Brighton and New York.
KIM KNOPPERS (b. 1976, the
Netherlands) has been a curator at Foam Museum since 2011. She studied art history at the University of Amsterdam. She was previously curator at De Beyerd Center of Contemporary Art and has also worked as a freelance curator. 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. Matthew Leifheit (b. 1988, United States) is Photo Editor of VICE. He is also an independent photographer, writer, and curator based in New York City. Having studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, he has written on photography for TIME, Vice, Foam, and the Camera Club of New York. Leifheit selfpublishes MATTE magazine, a platform for emerging artists that has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
TAMARA LEIGH (b. 1987,
London) is a communications and advocacy advisor. She helps aid agencies to raise awareness on issues of humanitarian concern in the media and public forums, advocating governments to respond. After graduating with a degree in Politics and Philosophy she moved to Nairobi to work for the United Nations, and has since worked with the International Red Cross and other NGOs across sub-Saharan Africa. She writes on humanitarian affairs and foreign policy and is currently based in London working for the humanitarian news service, IRIN.
KADIR VAN LOHUIZEN (b. 1963,
the Netherlands) started to work as a professional freelance photojournalist in 1988 covering the Intifada. He has covered conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, but is probably best known for his longterm projects on the seven rivers of the world, the diamond industry and migration in the Americas. He is a frequent lecturer and photography teacher, a member and co-founder of NOOR picture agency and foundation and is based in Amsterdam. All images © Kadir van Lohuizen, courtesy of the artist and NOOR
Geert Lovink (b. 1959, the Netherlands) is a media theorist and critic, and founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures. He holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and in 2003 was at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland. In 2004 he was appointed as Research Professor at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam and Associate Professor at University of Amsterdam. In 2005-06 he was a fellow at the WissenschaftskollegBerlin Institute for Advanced Study where he finished his third volume on critical Internet culture, Zero Comments (2007).
FRED RITCHIN (b. 1952, United
RABIH MROUÉ (b. 1967, Lebanon) is a visual artist, actor and playwright. Rooted in theatre, his work includes videos and installation art; the latter incorporates photography and texts. He is a contributing editor for The Drama Review TDR (New York) and the quarterly Kalamon (Beirut). He is also a cofounder and a board member of the Beirut Art Center. He has exhibited internationally including CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid; The ICP Triennial and MoMa, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.
All images from Extinguished Eyes © Rabih Mroué, courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Zanele Muholi (b. 1972, South
Africa) meshes her work in photography, video, and installation with human rights activism to create visibility for the black lesbian and transgender communities of South Africa. She is shortlisted for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her publication Faces and Phases. She has had solo exhibitions internationally, and in May 2015 a solo show of her work opens at the Brooklyn Museum. She is represented by Stevenson Gallery, South Africa, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.
All images from the series Faces and Phases © Zanele Muholi, courtesy of the artist and Stevenson Gallery, South Africa, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York
States) is Dean of the School at the International Center of Photography, and the author most recently of Bending
the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen (Aperture, 2013), and After Photography (W. W. Norton,
2008). He was previously professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he continues as co-director of the NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights educational program. He was also the picture editor of The New York Times Magazine (1978-82) and co-founded PixelPress in 1999.
MARTHA ROSLER (United States) works in video, photography, photo-text, installation, and performance. Her work focuses on the public sphere, exploring issues from everyday life and the media to architecture and the built environment, especially as they affect women. A retrospective of her work has been shown internationally, and her writing is published widely. Her most recent book is Culture Class (Berlin: e-flux and Sternberg Press, 2013). She lives and works in New York. Red Stripe Kitchen, from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, c.1967-1972 © Martha Rosler, courtesy of the artist and MitchellInnes & Nash, New York Prospect for Today and PhotoOp, from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home New Series, 2004 © Martha
Rosler, courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York
Thomas Keenan (b. 1959, United States) teaches literary theory and human rights at Bard College, where he directs the Human Rights Project and helped create the first undergraduate degree program in human rights in the United States. He is the author of Fables of Responsibility (Stanford UP, 1997), and, with Eyal Weizman, of Mengele’s Skull (Sternberg, 2012). He is co-editor, with Wendy Chun, of New Media, Old Media (Routledge, 2006), and with Tirdad Zolghadr, of The Human Snapshot (Luma/ Sternberg/CCS, 2013). He has curated two exhibitions exploring critical and innovative strategies in news photography: Antiphotojournalism, with Carles Guerra, and Aid and Abet, with work from the agency VII.
PETER SCHOUTEN (b. 1982, the Netherlands) has been press officer for War Child, based in Amsterdam, since 2014. In January 2015 he made his first field trip for War Child, to the eastern part of the D.R. Congo. He previously worked at the Ministry of General Affairs and the Hungarian Embassy in The Hague, and studied International Relations in Groningen and Journalism in Utrecht. LIAM STACK (United States) holds a BA in International Affairs from Georgetown and a MA in Near Eastern Studies from New York University. He spent four years as a reporter in Egypt before joining The New York Times’ Cairo Bureau and covering the Arab Spring. He then moved to New York, where his work editing Watching Syria’s War was honoured with an Online Media Award. He joined the intermediate journalist program in February 2015.
Anoek Steketee (b.1974,
the Netherlands) studied Photography at the Royal Academie of Arts in The Hague and at the St. Joost in Breda. Her work has been shown at various national and international exhibitions, including the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Tropenmuseum Amsterdam and Rosphoto Museum in St. Petersburg and featured in international magazines such as The Guardian, D La Repubblica and Ojodepez. Love Radio received numerous awards including the Zilveren Camera Prize for Innovative Photojournalism and the POPCAP Piclet prize. In 2014 the exhibition was shown in Foam, Amsterdam. All images from the series Love Radio © Anoek Steketee, courtesy of the artist and Flatland Gallery
OSSIAN WARD (b. 1975, Spain)
is Head of Content at Lisson Gallery and a writer on contemporary art. Until 2013, he was the chief art critic and visual arts editor at Time Out London and has contributed to magazines such as Art in America, Esquire and Wallpaper*, as well as newspapers including The Guardian and The Independent. Formerly editor of ArtReview and the V&A Magazine, he has also edited a biennial publication, The Artists’ Yearbook, for Thames & Hudson from 2005-2010. His book Ways of Looking: How to Experience Contemporary Art is published by Laurence King. Donald Weber (b. 1973,
Canada) has exhibited his diverse photography projects at festivals and galleries worldwide, including the United Nations, Museum of the Army at Les Invalides in Paris, the Portland Museum of Art and the Royal Ontario Museum. He is a dedicated teacher, noted for his ongoing series of lectures and workshops and a frequent trainer with World Press Photo. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and two World Press Photo Awards. He is a member of VII Photo and is represented by Circuit Gallery, Toronto. All images from the series © Donald Weber, courtesy of the artist and VII
CONSTANZE WICKE (b. 1983, Germany) is a curator based in Leipzig. She studied museology, aesthetics and art history in Leipzig and Braunschweig and worked as an assistant curator at the Museum für Photographie.
AKRAM ZAATARI (b. 1966, Lebanon) has produced more than forty videos, a dozen books, and countless installations of photographic material, pursuing a range of interconnected themes related to excavation and political resistance among others. He was a co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, and represented Lebanon at the 2013 Venice Biennale. He has taken part in dOCUMENTA (13), and the Istanbul Biennial (2011), and has exhibited in institutions including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Tate Modern, London, and Kunstverein and Haus der Kunst, Munich. He lives and works in Beirut.
All images from Untold © Akram Zaatari, courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery JUHA VAN ‘T ZELFDE (b. 1979,
the Netherlands) is a researcher, developer and exhibition maker working across art, music and technology. In 2008 he co-founded Non-fiction, in 2009 VURB and De Verdieping, and in 2012 Shippr. As a writer he has contributed to publications including De Volkskrant, Metropolis M, Volume and Monu. Notably, in 2013 he curated the landmark exhibition Dread – Fear in the age of technological acceleration, at De
Hallen Haarlem. In February 2014, he joined Lighthouse in Brighton as the new Artistic Director.
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Issue #41, The Messenger Editor-in-Chief Marloes Krijnen Creative Director Pjotr de Jong (Vandejong) Editors George Allen, Zippora Elders, Marcel Feil, Pjotr de Jong, Kim Knoppers, Marloes Krijnen Managing Editor Elisa Medde Acting Managing Editor George Allen Magazine Management Anne Colenbrander, Judith van Werkhoven (Vandejong) Communication Intern Niamh Hall Art Director Hamid Sallali (Vandejong) Design & Layout Gabrielle Pauty (Vandejong) Typefaces Akzidenz Grotesk BTP, aisforapple.fr Dominicale, raphaelverona.com Plantin Schoolbook Superachachi, raphaelverona.com M XB Grotesk, mediumextrabold.com Contributing Photographers and Artists Eefje Blankevoort and Anoek Steketee, Zach Blas, Marcus Bleasdale, Savas Boyraz, James Bridle, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Matthias Bruggmann, Jan Dirk van der Burg, Paolo Cirio, #Dysturb, Annie Flanagan, Tim Freccia, Florian Göttke, Kadir van Lohuizen, Rabih Mroué, Zanele Muholi, Martha Rosler, Donald Weber, Akram Zaatari Cover Photographs Front cover: image from the series Saving South Sudan © Tim Freccia, courtesy of the artist Back cover: image from the series © Donald Weber, courtesy of the artist and VII
Inside: Lounging Woman, from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, New Series, 2004 © Martha Rosler, courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York Inside (spread): image from the series Theatre of Operations © Matthias Bruggmann, courtesy of the artist and Contact Press Images/Galerie Polaris
Contributing Writers Hans Aarsman, Carroll Bogert, Florian Ebner, Zippora Elders, Thomas Erdbrink, Marcel Feil, Carles Guerra, Max Houghton, Thomas Keenan, Kim Knoppers, Matthew Leifheit, Tamara Leigh, Geert Lovink, Fred Ritchin, Peter Schouten, Liam Stack, Pierre Terdjman, Ossian Ward, Constanze Wicke, Juha van ’t Zelfde Copy Editor Pittwater Literary Services: Rowan Hewison Translations Liz Waters Special Thanks Raphaelle Jehan, Hito Steyerl, Anna Timmerman, Kyla Woods, Nada Zanhour Lithography & Printing Lecturis Kalverstraat 72 5642 CJ Eindhoven – NL Binding Binderij Hexspoor Ladonkseweg 7 5281 RN Boxtel – NL Paper Igepa Nederland B.V. Biezenwei 16 4004 MB Tiel – NL Editorial Address Foam Magazine Keizersgracht 609 1017 DS Amsterdam – NL T +31 20 551 65 00 F +31 20 551 65 01 firstname.lastname@example.org Operations Manager / Advertising Anne Colenbrander PO Box 92292 1090 AG Amsterdam – NL T +31 20 55165 00 F +31 20 55165 01 email@example.com Subscriptions Hexspoor Support Center Ladonkseweg 9 5281 RN Boxtel – NL T +31 41 163 34 71 firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions include 3 issues per year €60,Excluding postage Students receive 20% discount Single issue €22,50 Back issues (#2-40) available through our webshop Foam Magazine #1, #9, #24 and #34 are sold out www.foam.org/webshop
Publisher Foam Magazine PO Box 92292 1090 AG Amsterdam – NL email@example.com ISSN 1570-4874 ISBN 8710966455234 © Photographers, authors, Foam Magazine BV, Amsterdam, 2015. All photographs and illustration material is the copyright property of the photographers and/or their estates, and the publications in which they have been published. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders. Any copyright holders we have been unable to reach or to whom inaccurate acknowledgement has been made are invited to contact the publishers at firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights reserved. No part ofthis publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo-copy, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the publishers. Although the highest care is taken to make the information contained in Foam Magazine as accurate as possible, neither the publishers nor the authors can accept any responsibility for damage, of any nature, resulting from the use of this information. Distribution The Netherlands Betapress BV T + 31 16 145 78 00 email@example.com Europe Central Books T + 44 20 8525 8825 firstname.lastname@example.org USA/Canada/Asia/Australia Foam Magazine T + 31 20 551 6500 email@example.com The production of Foam Magazine has been made possible thanks to the generous support of paper supplier Igepa Netherlands B.V., Printing company Lecturis and Bindery Hexspoor.
Want the full issue? Go to shop.foam.org. This issue of Foam Magazine explores image-based activism and the impact that photography can have...
Published on Apr 13, 2015
Want the full issue? Go to shop.foam.org. This issue of Foam Magazine explores image-based activism and the impact that photography can have...