“my work throws into question the relationship of memory faded by speed, resistance from it, and the relationship between human beings and nature inside the city. this rapidly changing environment erases our memories and we have to prepare ourselves to let go of the memories without making them.”

20/08/2012 § Leave a comment

minouk lim, the weight of hands (film still) (2010)

 

playing on the popular experience of taking a sightseeing bus tour in so-called destination cities, ‘the weight of hands’ offers an alternative perspective on seoul’s urban landscape.  in this case, its usual heritage sites and tourist traps are shunned for a pilgrimage to secured construction zones.  this staged action, which commemorates the lss of place and memory, firmly channels funerary rituals through its haunting soundtrack of a lone drummer’s solemn beat set against a singer’s personal lament.

for lim, the work is a means to reclaim locations that have become privatized and ultimately inaccessible to the city’s inhabitants because of pervasive proprty development.  at the same time, it attempts to purposefully reinsert the body into these vacant spaces.  through the use of thermal imagery, captured with infrared technology that is often used in surveillance systems, lim maps the literal and immediate environmental shift that occurs as a consequence of human presence.  the heat emitted by the trespassers tangibly articulates the incompatibility of living, breathing subjects with a physcial void that waits to be filled by inanimate, “cold” and ahistorical buildings.

 

the heat of shadows

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title + text]     the above text and title are taken from the gallery pamphlet accompanying minouk lim’s exhibition at the walker.

 

“a third strike in 1933 had world wide impact because of the new techniques it demonstrated. up until that time, drilling had been on the near-vertical, directly over an oil pool, with the invention of controlled directional drilling, first used successfully here to tap the tide land pools, a well could be drilled on a slant, in any desired direction. within a year, 90 wells were producing from tall rigs along the coastline.”

06/08/2012 § 1 Comment

huntington beach (c. 1920-40) (via)

orange county archives, view huntington pier oil well derick historical beach california (c. 1930-40s) (via)

huntington beach oil wells soapbox derby (c. 1930 – 40s) (via)

 

woah.  last week i joked about the improbability of mary lydecker’s collages.  her works were believable but they also seemed a bit to far fetched.  turns out i never grew up in huntington beach during the oil boom.

 

there will be greed

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     the title comes from this website which has a catalog of uncanny huntington beach photographs.

[images]     the images come from a variety of places linked above.  but it all began with this tumblr image i stumbled across on polychroniadis.

[more uncanny landscapes]     as mentioned mary lydecker has pieced together some amazing collages.  i wonder if she was aware of these real bizarre landscapes.

“they say there’s nothing more difficult than to define a spiral in words; they claim it’s necessary to use the unliterary hand, twirling it in a steadily upward direction, so that human eyes will perceive the abstract figure immanent in a wire spring and a certain type of staircase. but if we remember that to say is to renew, we will have no trouble defining a spiral: it’s a circle that rises without ever closing.” fernando pessoa [1]

13/07/2012 § Leave a comment

toyo ito, white u (1976)

 

yesterday’s post concerned circles and mindless task of drawing.  so, while on the subject of circles and the act of doing: a u is a circle split with both ends pulled away and held parallel to each other.  white u is a house which no longer exists.  more specifically: it was a house designed by toyo ito for his grieving sister who’s husband had recently passed away.  less specifically: it was a white circle split with both ends pulled away and held parallel to each other, never to intersect again.  currently: white u is a set of images disintegrating under the process of print, scan, post, repeat.

 

 

a year ago (plus or minus a week), i made a promise (which claudette recently reminded me of, thanks!) to print, scan, post, repeat.  a process that has no serious goal in sight, other than the task of seeing what will happen and i’m pretty sure i know what will happen.  which reminds me:

“look,” said rumfoord, “life for a punctual person is a like a roller coaster.”  he turned to shiver his hands in her face.  “all kinds of things are going to happen to you!  sure,” he said, “i can see the whole roller coaster you’re on.  and sure – i could give you a piece of paper that would tell you about every bogeyman that was going to pop out at you in the tunnels.  but that wouldn’t help you any.” [2]

the fun part is doing, because while this process is cyclical, the result is more of a spiral than a circle.  this process is not a closed circuit; each iteration loops away from the origin.  i’ve already begun to notice small bits of information disappearing or maybe another way to think of it would be, the noise is starting to fade and the sentiment is coming forward.

 

 

this time around, as the white light of the scanner passed over the freshly dried ink of the 8.5×11 sheets of paper, i began to think about a recent lecture i read by john sarkowski concerning journalistic photography.  at one point he said:

the history of photography as a radical picture making system, can be defined as the history of the definition of new subjects.  sometimes these new subjects are extensions of ideas that exist in latent form in the work of exceptional photographers of an earlier generation.  sometimes they are genuinely primitive ideas mothered by a new technical breakthrough or a new market demand.  but in either case, the picture’s new meaning and its new appearance are the same. [3]

there seems to be a new subject arising today in photography: scanned imagery.  every day images in books, catalogues whatever are being uploaded to blogs, tumblrs, twitter, facebook, whatever.  point being, we are all essentially photographing photographs.  which might mean we are all following in the footsteps of sherrie levines [4] but then again it feels like we are also circling away from her.

 

spiraling controllably

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[1]     Pessoa, Fernando. The Book of Disquiet. [s.l.]: Penguin, 2003. P: 107. Print.

[2]     Vonnegut, Kurt. The Sirens of Titan. London: Millenium, 1999. P: 54.  Print.

[3]     for the entire lecture check out this american suburb x post.

[4]     specifically after walker evans.

[images]     the original photographs were taken from this toyo ito monograph:  Scheider, Ulrich, Hayakema Sakamao, Manfred Speikl, and Toyo Ito. Toyo Ito: Blurring Architecture 1971-2005. Milan: Charta, 1999. Print.

“a research project on visual representations of traveling by photographs of travel agencies in downtown cairo. here traveling is not embodied by images of palm beaches, but maps let the ‘client’ in fact imagine its own pictures of destinations. world maps figure as projection surfaces.” – maia gusberti

29/06/2012 § 1 Comment

maia gusberti,  travel agencies (2008)

 

aleya hamza  how did you become interested in working on the travel agencies series?
maia gusberti  i have a special interest in maps and geography and one of my older projects was based on mappings (www.logicaland.net).  this photography project began spontaneously when world maps in small travel offices catering locals in downtown cairo caught my attention.  at the beginning i was fascinated by one or two examples of world maps until i realized that the world map is a central object in many travel agencies, and that they all have totally different forms from reliefs to old fashioned maps to light-boxes.  meanwhile i wondered about the quasi absence of photographic depictions of travel destinations when these representations of the ‘dream-destination’ are a key tool to promote holidays in europe.  there we often encounter the image of the palm island, the sand beach, the exotic street life…commercialized, globalized and standardized products selling personal leisure, glamorous tourist adventures or cheap flight tickets for a jet-set weekend elsewhere.  here in downtown cairo if at all you’ll find one photographic image of the kaaba in mecca.  so instead of photographic representations we are confronted with world maps as ‘projection surfaces’ for imaginations.  maps allow us to produce our own private images, to travel in our fantasies.  this replacement of the image by the map made me want to take images about the absence of the image to produce imaginations.  the map is therefore a wonderful example of a standardized symbol stimulating individual interpretations.  my photographs are about places void of pictures but rich in dreams, images, imaginations and promises.

aleya hamza  your images have a deliberate snapshot appearance, informal and un-composed.  why?
maia gusberti  i did not want to have well-composed and perfectly styled pictures since it was practically impossible to pull through a strong composition concept.  when i began asking for permission to take pictures of the maps in travel agencies telling them i’m an artist interested in maps i was often grilled about the project with curious questions, amused nods and a general lack of understanding of how anyone could possibly be interested in such an issue, but i was more or less allowed to shoot every time.  usually i took more than one picture – but lots of the employees were uncomfortable and just left while others continued with their work – but of course i felt like i was disturbing them after a while especially since clients sometimes had to wait while i finished.  most of the offices are very small and narrow which made it difficult to find a good spot to compose my image and i had to get what i wanted by finding (more than choosing) a possible angle and the light conditions were very different between offices that had daylight or neon-light.  initially i was more or less ‘documenting’ these places with my old analog nikon, judging the images after developing the film, until i realized this could become a series.  i also didn’t want to change the rough-and-ready style of these offices.  i deliberately wanted the atmosphere of a temporary and provisional space – lost somewhere between imagination and realization.  i see myself as a passenger, passing by these places in transition or about to transition.  the project has never been about a shiny composed study or a record of 60’ies and 70’ies interior design.  it is about an atmosphere and a location existing somewhere in the ‘in betweenness’ of fantasia and on a first step towards a destination.

aleya hamza  why does the representation of travel interest you?
maia gusberti  it makes me think about possibilities, conditions or reasons for traveling and their relationship to desires, promises and illusions.  here in cairo traveling means something totally different than it does on the high streets of western european cities and on some level they both refer to socio-political realities.  many agencies here are specialized in hajj and sell tickets to saudi arabia for work purposes.  it’s not really about the ideal of the palm island.  who can afford a dream of palm islands here?  the reality is more about survival strategies, working abroad, pilgrimage, fighting for a visa etc.

these travel-specific desires and illusions can be somehow summarized in maps.

as a designer and artist i try to look out for visual signs and i wonder about the layers of meanings which can be imagined and explored by digging a bit deeper.

 

– interview between aleya hamza and maia gusberti

 

maps of desire

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title + images]     today’s title is the project description for today’s photography.  all of which can be found… here on maia’s website.  check out travel agencies and the rest of her work.  great stuff.

[interview]     the following interview was found on maia gusberti’s website.  for the complete interview click… here.

[more everyday photography]     for a previous essay excerpt on photography of the everyday terrain, follow this link.

“the structures in the bechers’ original photographs are almost identical, though in khan’s hands the images’ contrast and opacity is adjusted to ensure each layer can be seen and has presence. though khan works in mechanised media and his images are of industrial subjects, their effect is of a soft ethereal energy. they exude a transfixing spiritual quality in their densely compacted details and ghostly outlines.”

27/06/2012 § 3 Comments

works by idris kahn
from the top down:  every… bernd and hilla becher gable sided house (2004)
every… bernd and hilla becher prison type gasholder (2004)
every… bernd and hilla becher spherical type gasholder (2004)

 

when bernd and hilla becher first went around the german countryside to photograph various industrial complexes they, like most any one, felt as though gasholders were all the same.  it wasn’t until they began accruing more and more portraits of the steam punk objects, that individual characteristics began to appear.  so maybe its fitting that idris kahn’s ‘super-image,’ as he refers to them, obliterated any differences by overlaying all the portraits revealing an ideal form of a gasholder, or a gable.

 

single super-image

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title + images]     today’s title and image were taken from idris kahn’s artist profile on the saatchi gallery website.

[for more typology]     bernd and hilla were previously mentioned here on ayh.  and, i can’t help but link to an older post on alec soth’s studies of old texas theaters.

“by turning her camera onto her computer and ipad screen to produce this series of photographs, erlea maneros zabala transforms the original documentary on the screen into otherworldly landscapes. surface detritus such as dust, spit, and dog hair interrupt and collapse the space of the pictures. this crossover between analogical and digital contributes to the idea of mixing fantasy and reality. this exploration ultimately constitutes an imaginary territory, a sort of test zone, marked by time, lost in a formal anachronism that accentuates the gap between prospective vision and fallen mythology.”

26/06/2012 § 2 Comments

works by erlea maneros zabala,
from the top: pilgrimages for a new economy (blur building, expo 02, 2002, yverdon les baines, switzerland)  (2007)
pilgrimages for a new economy (museo soumaya, 2011, mexico city, mexico) (2012)
pilgrimages for a new economy (hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden, 1974, washington d.c., usa) (2007)

 

shortly after posting yesterdays gauzy museum expo (here + here), i ran across the work of artist erlea maneros zabala on we find wildness.  erlea photographs images of what she calls “spectacular museum architecture” on her computer.  having grown up in bilbao it’s no surprise she’s interested in the topic.

 

spectacular pilgrims

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     today’s title + imagery comes from the pilgrimages for a new economy project description available at we find wildness.     

[more fuzzy photos]     all of this reminded me of an old post/project that i should probably revive again involving toyo ito’s white u house.  for more read this ayh post.

“le salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace – paris le bourget ouvrira les portes de sa 50e édition. evénement plus que centenaire, c’est le plus ancien et le plus grand salon au monde consacré à cette industrie. le salon s’inscrit, depuis sa création, au cœur même de l’évolution du marché mondial de l’aéronautique et de l’espace, dont il est devenu, au fil des années, le lieu de rencontre privilégié. ouvert aussi bien aux professionnels qu’au grand public, il est à l’origine de nombreuses vocations.”

18/06/2012 § Leave a comment

photographer unknown, salon de locomotion aerienne – grand palais (1909)

 

in response to pretty much nothing, except urban events – above is an image from the 1909 salon de locomotion aerienne.

 

happy monday

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     today’s title comes from the salon du bourget website.

[image]     i’m not sure where i came across the above photograph, nor who took the photograph, but the rights belong to jacques boyer / roger-viollet.  do you know who took this photo?  i’m a big proponent of providing credit.

“highway 66 is the main migrant road. 66–the long concrete path across the country, waving gently up and down on the map, from the mississippi to bakersfield–over the red lands and the gray lands, twisting up into the mountains, crossing the divide and down into the bright and terrible desert, and across the desert to mountains again, and into the rich california valleys.” [1]

29/05/2012 § 1 Comment

hans gremmen, the mother road (2010-11)

 

i’ve been taking day trips around the hill country recently;  itching to move further west.  which reminds me:

  • of an older post following a recent trip out west to visit space port america near truth or consequences, new mexico,
  • and, it also reminds me of another video of almost the entire train ride from bergen to oslo, norway,
  • but really, i want know what david hockney thinks of gremmen’s video.

 

vacation is almost over

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     title taken from hans gremmens website.

    more videos may be found here.

“so i read and read, a little of everything, haphazard, but books of philosophy especially. heavy stuff, i grant you; but when you get a little of it inside you, you grow light as a feather and begin to touch the clouds. i believe i was always a bit queer in my head. but these readings quite finished me. when i no longer knew what i was about, i would shut up the library, and go off along a little path that led down a steep incline to a solitary strip of seashore. the sight of that monotonous expanse of water filled me with a strange awe that changed little by little into unbearable oppression.” [1]

04/02/2012 § Leave a comment

dag alveng, the photographer shoots himself (1981)

 

this semester started with a bang.  currently catching up with a lot of projects.  hope to post soon.

 

gone for a dip

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     today’s title comes from the book the late mattia pascal by luigi pirandello.  today’s excerpt was taken from the guttenberg press website’s version of the text found here.

[image]     the image today comes from dag alveng.  for more of his photography visit his website… here.

[previous levitation]     s.2011 and f.2011.

“l’esprit est aussi subtil et insaisissable qu’un souffle. il est une energie qui circule entre les etres et les choses. il voyage avec la lumiere, les vents, les nuages ou les vagues, s’immisce dans les pierres, les plantes et animaux. il se manifeste aux frontieres du visible, dans une dimension que seul l’imaginaire peut penetrer.”

16/01/2012 § Leave a comment

 

 

all photographs by henry roy
from top:
es vedra smoking, ibiza (2005)
congo river, brazzaville (2002)
two old men watching, tanger (2008)

 

happy to see henry roy’s book, spirit, published by gottlund verlag is now available at twelve books.  henry couples a series of photographs from across europe and africa with a set of his short stories.  i’m honored to have worked with henry on the translation from french to english.  last year henry roy started a photoblog, portrait lab, which contains his own photographs, as well as, guest contributions.  check it out!

 

happy monday

a young hare

 

 

note:

[title]     today’s title comes from the introduction to henry roy’s book spirit.

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