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Summer talks rethinking current photojournalistic practices in war & conflict

The Moth House will be announcing in June a series of thought provoking talks by various artists rethinking current photojournalistic practices, to be developed in conjunction with the University of South Wales, Redeye Network and the Imperial War Museum.
‘Photographs as an act of resistance – The Holocaust, Georges Didi-Huberman and Georges Perec’, will focus on writings by Georges Didi-Huberman and Georges Perec to respond to the photojournalist Anton Hammerl’s disappearance/death, during the Libyan war, an event without witness. The way to address such an event should not be about filling the absence, but instead confronting it. It requires a composite approach, noisy, multiple, fragmentary, which holds in tension memory, experience and history in the form of rags— much like in Jean-Luc Godard’s A Histoire du Cinema. In Images in Spite of All (2008) Georges Didi-Huberman argues that “Godard seems always to have situated his reflection on the powers and limits of cinema in the systole and diastole of the image itself: its essentially nature alternating with its capacity to become, suddenly, excessive. It is a pulsation – our ‘dual system’ of the image –where the limit is able to become transgression, that is, the power to give more than what is expected, to disrupt the gaze, to disrupt the veil. How is this possible of an image that is ‘just an image’, in other words, the contrary over an all, of a unitary capturing, of an absolute, whatever that may be? It is possible because an image does not exist as ‘One’: ‘There is no image, they are only images.’ (Didi-Huberman 2008: 134-135). Both Didi-Huberman and Perec’s writing are rooted in and confront the most disturbing historical realities [the Holocaust and the disappearance/loss of a parent (during the Holocaust)]. Both seem to address the notion of ‘unimaginable’ horror, albeit in very different ways.
Stay tuned for news on upcoming dates and speakers.

CIVILIZATION: The Way we Live now at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tãmaki, Auckland

CIVILIZATION: The Way we Live now, an exhibition curated by William Ewing featuring works from our books The Time Machine and 00:00.00 + many more artists, to be exhibited at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tãmaki, Auckland from 04.04.2020 to 04.07.2020

What Photography has in Common with an Empty Vase at Macau Museum of Art

The exhibition What Photography has in Common with an Empty Vase originally scheduled to open at the Macau Museum of Art, 31 July 2020 has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A new edition of the book will, however, be published this Summer.
What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase is a multifaceted body of work developed from a collaboration with Grain Projects and HM Prison Birmingham (the largest category B prison in the Midlands, UK), its inmates, their families as well as a myriad of other local organisations and individuals. Using the social context of incarceration as a starting point, I explore the philosophical concept of absence, and address a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect. From a humanist perspective the work seeks to reflect on how one deals with the absence of a loved one, brought on by enforced separation. From an ontological perspective it seeks answers to the following questions: what does it mean for Photography if it does not identify with the referent but the absence of the referent? How does Photography represent a subject that eludes visualization, that is absent or hidden from view? How can documentary photography, in an era of fake news, best acknowledge the imaginative and fictional dimension of our relation to photographs? By giving a voice to inmates and their families and addressing prison as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, my work proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.
Composed of three distinct chapters, including film, audio, sculpture and installation, the work shifts between image and information, between fiction and evidence, strategically deploying visual and textual details in tandem so that the viewer becomes aware of what exists outside the confines of the frame.

More information about the work can be seen here.

What Photography & Incarceration… at Galeria Filomena Soares, Nov 2019

Edgar Martins’ What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase will be exhibited at Galeria Filomena Soares, from 11 Nov 2019 – 4 Mar 2020.
Martins new project is a multifaceted body of work developed from a collaboration with Grain Projects and HM Prison Birmingham (the largest category B prison in the Midlands, UK), its inmates, their families as well as a myriad of other local organisations and individuals. Using the social context of incarceration as a starting point, I explore the philosophical concept of absence, and address a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect. From a humanist perspective the work seeks to reflect on how one deals with the absence of a loved one, brought on by enforced separation. From an ontological perspective it seeks answers to the following questions: what does it mean for Photography if it does not identify with the referent but the absence of the referent? How does Photography represent a subject that eludes visualization, that is absent or hidden from view? How can documentary photography, in an era of fake news, best acknowledge the imaginative and fictional dimension of our relation to photographs? By giving a voice to inmates and their families and addressing prison as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, my work proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.
Composed of three distinct chapters, including film, audio, sculpture and installation, the work shifts between image and information, between fiction and evidence, strategically deploying visual and textual details in tandem so that the viewer becomes aware of what exists outside the confines of the frame.

More information about the work can be seen here.

What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase @ Photo London 2019

Edgar Martins’ What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase will be presented at Photo London 2019 at Purdy Hicks Gallery and Galeria Pilar Serra.
Martins new project is a multifaceted body of work developed from a collaboration with Grain Projects and HM Prison Birmingham (the largest category B prison in the Midlands, UK), its inmates, their families as well as a myriad of other local organisations and individuals. Using the social context of incarceration as a starting point, I explore the philosophical concept of absence, and address a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect. From a humanist perspective the work seeks to reflect on how one deals with the absence of a loved one, brought on by enforced separation. From an ontological perspective it seeks answers to the following questions: what does it mean for Photography if it does not identify with the referent but the absence of the referent? How does Photography represent a subject that eludes visualization, that is absent or hidden from view? How can documentary photography, in an era of fake news, best acknowledge the imaginative and fictional dimension of our relation to photographs? By giving a voice to inmates and their families and addressing prison as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, my work proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.
Composed of three distinct chapters, including film, audio, sculpture and installation, the work shifts between image and information, between fiction and evidence, strategically deploying visual and textual details in tandem so that the viewer becomes aware of what exists outside the confines of the frame.

More information about the work can be seen here.

00:00.00 at Usimages Biennial of Industrial Photography, France

00:00.00 included in Usimages Biennial of Industrial Photography, France.

This project resulted from an unprecedented, 18-month long artistic collaboration with the BMW Group and surveys the fabrication, tooling and assembly of the modern era automobile vehicle.  The project focuses solely on BMW’s plant and R&D centres in and around Munich (Germany). However, these images also look beyond the mere referent, representing therefore a point of resistance.
Conceived around the simple premise of ‘slowing down time’,  this project undertakes an examination and articulation of the world of flux and flow that we live in, a world defined, haunted and consumed by mobility and transience. Symptomatically titled 00:00.00, this series was produced with long exposures of 5 – 45mins. Photographing with prolonged exposures in a fast moving environment represented a significant challenge, thus requiring a great deal of coordination and support from BMW.
All the images were therefore produced during scheduled (and, at times, unscheduled) production breaks.
00:00.00 represents the final phase of an overarching project that has engaged with environments as varied as hydropower plants (The Time Machine, 2012) and space facilities (The Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite, 2014) and whose main goal has been to examine and re-evaluate our relationship with technology and industry and its impact on our social and cultural consciousness.

To order a copy of the book click here.

What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty vase

A Symposium on Incarceration, Absence, Photography and Fiction.

At The Shell, Parkside, Birmingham City University
5th December 2018, 2pm – 6pm
Tickets must be purchased in advance; £8.00/£4.00 (plus booking fee).

What Photography has in Common with an Empty Vase is a multifaceted body of work by Edgar Martinsdeveloped from a collaboration with GRAIN Projects and HMP Birmingham (the largest, category B prison in the Midlands).  The collaboration was based on engagement with the prison’s inmates and their families as well as a myriad of other local organisations and individuals.

Using the social context of incarceration as a starting point, artist Edgar Martins explores the philosophical concept of absence, and addresses a broader consideration of the status of the photograph when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect.

By giving a voice to inmates and their families and addressing prison as a set of social relations  rather than a mere geographical entity, Martins’ work proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.

The project thus wilfully circumvents images whose sole purpose, Martins argues, is to confirm the already held opinions within dominant ideology about crime and punishment: violence, drugs, criminality, race – an approach that only serves to reinforce the act of photographing and photography itself as apotropaic devices.

By focusing on ideas of absence, separation, hope and boundaries the project sends out a clear message: that the usual power relations and discourse associated to this kind of environment should not be perpetuated.

Composed of three distinct chapters, encompassing film, archive and new photography, installation, sculpture, text and sound, Martins’ work shifts between image and information, between fiction and evidence, strategically deploying visual and textual details in tandem so that the viewer becomes aware of what exists outside the confines of the frame. This work marks a significant transition in Martins’ creative trajectory, signalling a growing inclination towards a broader, more hybrid and interdisciplinary perspective of images.

Artist Edgar Martins will be joined by Dr Mark Durden, Dr Maryse Tennant, Paul Tebbs and Dr Anna Kotova.

Edgar Martins ‘Siloquies and Soliloquies…” awarded a SONY World Photography Award

Edgar Martins Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death Life and Other Interludes is a awarded 1st prize in the Still-Life category of SONY World Photography Awards. The Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite and 00:00.00 were also awarded second-prize in the Architecture series.

Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death Life and Other Interludes @ Photo Oxford 2017

Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death Life and Other Interludes, by Edgar Martins is to be presented at the inaugural edition of  Photo Oxford 2017, from 8 -24 September (Barn Gallery, St. John’s College, St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP).
Photo Oxford presents the UK premiere of Edgar Martins’ new work Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes.Produced in collaboration with the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences in Portugal, Martins’ work is borne out of a frustration with photography’s inability to show the nature of death, as opposed to what he describes as the media’s ‘glorification of the gory and the bizarre’. Contemporary depictions of death focus on spectacle, rather than attempt to create the space to encourage an understanding of its causes, contexts and consequences and Martin seeks to bring these to the fore.
The physicality of death is inevitably horrible and often shocking, while its literal depiction in photography – of the dead body in particular – is intrusive. Subjects are powerless, unable to shield their faces or refuse. The challenge of the photograph then, and the photographer, is to communicate something meaningful about death and investigate its anthropological, social and historical contexts as well as its personal relevance.
Through the use of new photography, appropriating previously unseen archive material – including historical photographs, confidential case and medical files, crime and suicide-scene evidence – installation and projections, Martin’s offers a poignant study that proposes to scrutinise, expose and hold in tension many of the contradictions and problems inherent in the depiction on death, as well as on language and semiotics. The artist deploys both documentary photography approaches and fiction and in turn, his series of photographs and text becomes a process of unveiling, rather than straightforward, factual accounts.
Inspired by his own experience of traumatic death, Martins’ project focuses on violent death and, in particular, suicide. In doing so, he meditates on the often unforeseeable but always inevitable nature of mortality and, investigates its legacies through the depiction of material evidence – from extracts from suicide notes, to press photographs reporting family murders to photographic records of deceased persons’ belongings.
This archive material is variously manipulated by Martins, yet forever haunted by the spectres of its victims or perpetrators. Martins photographs become like late nineteenth and early twentieth century spirit photographs, only without the absurd (but for the recipient, tangible and moving) double exposures of ghostly faces or ectoplasm. They move to the heart of the matter, exploring motivation and intent rather than venture into the shocking or grotesque.
Each iteration of Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes is unique, responding to the space and location in which it is displayed. Presented in complex and suggestive sequences, the project is a visual journey towards the struggle of contemplating death, in search of people, places and images that have connection with us on the far side of time.
Curated by Tim Clark and Greg Hobson

Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes @ José de Guimarães International Art Centre

Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes will be presented from the 28 January to 4 June 2017 at the José de Guimarães International Art Centre in a wider capacity, including new multi-media presentations using 35mm slide projections and magic lanterns as well as historical archive imagery and objects from the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science’s collection. The show will be presented under the new title Destinerrance (Destinerrância: o lugar do morto é o lugar da fotografia).