Before the advent of the Internet, the act of taking a photo was often intended to make memories; to store and preserve our past in still, printed images. In today’s digital age the very act of taking photos can be enough for the photograph-taker. Today a photo has a different claim to time, living much more in the “now” than in the “has been” of its 19th and 20th century pre-internet forbearers. We, in turn, live in a culture of the perpetual present, in a meme-driven world where photos can effortlessly be shared, but where they most often disappear into digital oblivion. How do contemporary photographers produce and operate in such an environment? How do they challenge it?
These are some of the questions raised by Making Memeries, a travelling installation and live programme hosted this week at Unseen Photo Fair. A collaboration between Bruno Ceschel, director of Self Publish, Be Happy, and artist Lucas Blalock, the project explores the world of augmented reality. Consisting of eight movable walls inspired by theatre scenery, elements of the installation can be “activated” by downloading the Making Memeries app to a phone or tablet. The panels become interactive, expanding the photographs beyond the picture plane using sound, 3D renderings and animations.
In addition to journeying into new dimensions, the installation also plays an important physical role, functioning as a staging area for workshops and performances. At Unseen, this space will be brought to life by a three-day programme that invites visitors to play and explore the boundaries of contemporary photography – live – with artists, graphic designers and performers working at the forefront of the medium. Taking advantage of the festive atmosphere of its temporary outdoor home on Unseen Photo Fair’s onsite project terrain, the structure will become an informal meeting point for new conversations, tactile encounters and experimentation – a place where photography gets physical.
On Friday, the programme opens with a performance by Foam Talent 2016, Ilona Szwarc. A live interpretation of her project I am a woman and I cast no shadow, Szwarc will use a moulding process to cast the faces of two of her doppelgängers, engaging in a corporeal kind of image-making. Next, you can drop into The Clinic with an image you’ve taken or found and let it lead to a new conversation. Get some new perspectives on photography from a group of people with very different backgrounds. The day is rounded off by Mountain of Politics by graphic design collective The Rodina. Visitors are invited to ‘vote’ on the large object The Rodina will be building throughout the evening, accompanied by live music by Jonathan Castro.
Saturday kicks off with a bumper workshop with Ordinary Magazine and friends. Join a roster of great photographers and get involved in the on the spot creation of a mini magazine that revolves around an unlikely subject. The Clinic will be open again so swing by for a 15-minute session using an image as a starting point and see where that takes you. In the evening, Japanese photographer Fumi Ishino opens his Barter Pop-up Shop for business. Ishino will explore the value of judgement by engaging with visitors in a live trade-off between his image and their text.
On Sunday morning, catch Blank Paper before they do their afternoon talk on alternative education in the Living Room by dropping in on their editing workshop and experiencing their approach in person. Then, Lana Mesić will be closing the programme with a live interpretation of her latest photographs of card towers, which you can see in the fair at LhGWR’s stand. Visualising the creative process, the trials and tribulations of building a card tower will be mirrored live by a performative human tower.
For timings and more detailed information about each performance, please visit the online programme.
(cover image) Making Memeries installation at the Tate, 2016 © Self Publish Be Happy
(body images) I am a woman and I cast no shadow, 2016 © Ilona Szwarc; Ordinary, 2016 © Chris Maggio
(below left) Still Life, 2016 © Fumi Ishino
(below right)Visitor is Present, 2016 © The Rodina