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Rutgers Prins Discord

The curatorial concepts are pioneering, the viewing experience nerve-wracking, and the conclusions occasionally terrifying, but the exhibition DATA RUSH — unlike the powers and digital infrastructures upon which it sheds light — will leave you empowered.

I just wrote, for Vantage, an in-depth review of Wim Melis and Hester Keijser‘s show DATA RUSH, which was the centerpiece to this years Noorderlicht Photofestival in the Netherlands.

The piece is titled This Exhibition Sees Our Ties to Data, Reveals the Future Is Now but it might as well be titled Finally, a Photography Show That Actually Deals with Our Relationship to Screens and Networks!

Arnold Koroshegyi

Arnold Koroshegyi. Electroscapes, 2011-2012

It was a slow process getting my head around the sheer volume of artists’ projects (45) in the show, but it was worth it. Virtually every project is worth a symposium in itself.

For photography, a comparatively conservative medium, DATA RUSH is light years ahead of most presentations. It’s precisely where our discussions about photography need to be if it we’re to comprehend the ways in which we are subject to images and image indexing.

Read the full piece which also boasts bigger images and some photos not included here below.

Hannes Hepp

Hannes Hepp. Not So Alone – Lost In Chatroom, 2012-2015

fotoftexprojektet-ii

Simon Høgsberg Grocery Store Project

Andrew Hammerand

Andrew Hammerand. The New Town, 2013

Fernando Moleres. Internet Gaming Addicts, 2014

crispin2

Sterling Crispin, Data Masks

Julian Röder. Mission and Task, 2012/2013. Situation room of the FRONTEX headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, June, 2014

Catherine Balet

Catherine Balet. Strangers in the Light, 2009

Nate Larson & Marni Shindelman. Geolocation, 2009 – present

Dina Litovsky

Dina Litovsky. Untag This Photo, 2010-2012

myrit

Daniel Mayrit’s You Haven’t Seen Their Faces (detail)

Mintio

Mintio. ~T.H.O.H.Y~ (aka The Hall of Hyperdelic Youths), 2010

Heinrich Holtgreve

Heinrich Holtgreve. The Internet as a Place, 2013-2015

It was 75 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:30am as I stepped out the Delta Airlines terminal at JFK. I sweated my way through the subway to pick up a friend’s bike, on which I would only sweat more.

83 degrees.

Cycling down to Brooklyn Bridge Park would have been more enjoyable had I cleaned off the excess degreaser I’d applied to the chain and sprockets; the brakes were less responsive with every heaving, muggy second that passed.

Cruel and Unusual is to be inside two 40 foot containers slap-bang-wallop in the middle of the Photoville grounds. As installers and photographers busied themselves hanging work, moving hardware and swilling gallons of water, I sat in one of Noorderlicht’s two empty containers. FedEx says the work will be here by 3pm Thursday “at the latest.”

The plans, PDFed by Marco weeks ago, were open in a window on my laptop. A virtual reminder of the install not getting done.

It’s not actually a huge issue; we’ll just move quicker tomorrow.

84 degrees.

After milling around a bit and checking out the other exhibitors’ works, I decide to take some photos. If inaction is the order of the day, then I might as well blog about it.

Inside the containers are lights, wires and one of ours had a table.

88 degrees.

I met Nicholas Calcott who is part of the Tierney Fellowship show. We *met* years ago through the photoblogosphere. And there he is in the flesh, Ray Bans and Levi’s.

Aloys Ginjaar explains that his “Wonder of Woman” show is the fruit of ten months labour searching on the internet, Facebook and magazines. 64 prints all by Dutch photographers.

Wyatt Gallery‘s Tent City looks great and big, but not too big. The PDN showings are a mixed bag but hold my attention.

It feels a bit strange getting excited about pictures on a upright surface when there’s a monster cityscape around and over every container.

89 degrees.

Photoville is providing all things necessary to stave of hunger, dehydration and UV rays. Of all the Photovillers, Alexis Percival is the one I met with today. Friendly faces abound.

I have to say, I am well looking forward to hobnobbing with photofolk on opening night (Friday) and over the weekend for the talks and lectures. I get this giddy feeling every time I come to NYC.

The surroundings are pretty awesome. If you ask the city, we’re at Pier 3. If you ask me, we’re in the midst of one of the world’s greatest skylines (albeit hazy).

A glance to the south and you’d see the statue of liberty.

Turn 90 degrees and you peer north to the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s certainly still a lot to be done on site, but there’s no doubt it’s coming together impressively.

Another 90 and there’s two elevated (noisy) roads.

See what I did in the photo below? Visually, I mean? It’s a visual pun. It’s Pundemonium

91 degrees.

The view from the restrooms is smashing.

The day topped out at 93 degrees. The forecast for tomorrow? 96 degrees.

Stay tuned.

There’s a new photo festival on the scene. It’s called Photoville and it is in New York. Specifically, it is in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photographs will be displayed in 30 shipping containers. Public submissions will hang on a big fence.

Hester Keijser, my co-curator, and I are honoured that Noorderlicht selected Cruel and Unusual as the exhibition to represent them on these American soils.

We’ll have two containers to fill. Cruel and Unusual showcases 11 photographers work in the main part of the exhibition. I shall be installing a wall with the images of 20+ more photographers that I met during Prison Photography on the Road.

PANEL DISCUSSION

Yesterday, Photoville announced its schedule of talks and events.

Included is a panel discussion that I’ll be moderating titled “Cruel and Unusual: The Prisons, the Photography or Both?” Panelists include the hyper-talented Deborah Luster, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Lori Waselchuk and Yana Payusova.

Photoville literature describes a talk by me “about documentary, institutional, vernacular and legal photography and the political uses of images by media, activists and families” but this is in fact going to be a very brief introduction by way of explaining my interests. The majority of the time will be exploring the stories behind the Luster, Kenneally, Waselchuk and Payusova’s images (sampled below).

The panel discussion “Cruel and Unusual: The Prisons, the Photography or Both?” is from 3:30pm – 4:30pm, on Saturday, 23rd June. It would be great to see you there.

Stick around for Michael Shaw/BagNewsNotes‘ discussion about “The State of the News Photo” immediately after. I’m looking forward to that.

BITTERSWEET MOMENTS

This welcome opportunity for the photographers, Hester and I at Photoville comes at a worrying time. Well-documented is the threat of Noorderlicht’s closure (here, here, here, here and here) after being refused 500,000 Euros of funding from the Dutch government for the years 2013-2016.

Ironically, the Dutch Advisory Board to the Cultural Council thinks that Noorderlicht doesn’t engage enough with other global organisations. This is false. Cruel and Unusual at Photoville is a typical example of Noorderlicht – a pioneering institution of international scope and influence – collaborating with an equally pioneering organisation.

PHOTOVILLE

Photoville director, Sam Barzilay, used to work with the New York Photo Festival (NYPH). He doesn’t any more. If it is a schism, or a parting of ways, a clash of ideologies or just new opportunities being seized I don’t know.

I do know NYPH had come under some criticism for poor prints, a certain lack of organisation and even elitism. I should say I have never attended NYPH; these are things I’ve read or heard. I have not heard how this years NYPH (last month) went either.

Given that Photoville runs over nine days with six days of viewing, given that it is free, given that they’re involved the public’s photographs, given that there’s a beer garden and a dog park and it is in a park, I suspect Photoville with be quite different in character to many photo festivals, NYPH included. I’m imagining something quite free and easy, welcoming and fun, underpinned by serious photography. It wouldn’t surprise me if I end up juggling a hacky-sack while discussing the merits of the documentary tradition!?

I digress.

On the talks and events schedule alone there is Ed Kashi, Janelle Lynch, Ben Lowy, Michael Itkoff, Taj Forer, ICP, Adriana Teresa, Wyatt Gallery, Elinor Carucci, Lori Grinker, Glenn Ruga, Lomography, Mediastorm, ASMP, En Foco, Michael Foley, Ariel Shanberg, CFAP, Jennifer Schwatrz and Camera Club of New York.

I’m intrigued by the ‘Activism & Photography’ panel, but the panelists are yet to be announced. It’s the mystery card, so to speak. There’s a stack of socially engaged photographers I’d like to hear speak. We’ll have to wait and see.

The exhibition containers will showcase an impressive line up of which you should just read through.

PANELISTS

© Deborah Luster

© Yana Payusova

© Brenda Ann Kenneally

© Lori Waslechuk

MORE ON PHOTOVILLE

Running from June 22nd – July 1st, 2012, Photoville is a new Brooklyn-based photo destination; “a veritable village of 30 freight containers transformed into temporary exhibition spaces.”

Occupying more than 60,000 sq. feet in the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Photoville includes exhibitions, lectures, hands-on workshops, nighttime projections, a photo dog run, a camera greenhouse, and a summer beer-garden with food trucks to “create a photography destination like no other.”

Photoville will be located on the uplands of Pier 3, along the Brooklyn Waterfront between DUMBO and Atlantic Avenue.

It is a project by United Photo Industries.

NOORDERLICHT

In operation since 1980, Noorderlicht is a many-faceted and international platform, originally only for documentary photography, but now for any photographer who has a good story to tell. It has a sharp eye for new developments, but averse to trends and hype.

Noorderlicht organizes an annual photography festival, mounts exhibitions in its photo gallery, organizes photographic commissions and arranges discussions, lectures and masterclasses. Noorderlicht publishes exceptional catalogues and photo books.

With its distinctive, cutting-edge programming and outstanding publications, Noorderlicht has built up an international reputation as an institution that is able to couple engagement with visual beauty. Noorderlicht productions are imaginative and compelling, enthusiastic and critical, personal and socially committed.

Noorderlicht is headquartered in Gronignen, The Netherlands.

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL

The title of the exhibition refers to the English Bill of Rights from 1689 and the Eighth Amendment to the America constitution, which stipulates that citizens must not be subject to  ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’ But when is punishment cruel and unusual? To assist in the public discussion of this issue, photography helps by providing insight into the various facets play a role in the question.

Cruel and Unusual looks at how the prison system is presented in images, and how these images are created, distributed and consumed. How do citizens – tax payers and empathetic humans – come to an understanding of life in prisons on the basis of the information – politicized or not – which they receive? 

Photographers Alyse Emdur, Amy Elkins, Araminta de Clermont, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Christiane Feser, Jane Lindsay, Natalie Mohadjer, Deborah Luster, Lizzie Sadin, Yana Payusova and Lori Waselchuk, each use their own strategies, materials and techniques. Given the extent of access to prisons, they work with amateur photography, alternative processes, texts, painted images, digital manipulation or traditional black and white documentary photography.

Cruel and Unusual takes a startling and sometimes disconcerting look behind prison walls around the world. It asks: how do current practices of mass incarceration reflect our changing sense of decency and justice?

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prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

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