Installation : Final Major Project
MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5
I have made periodic references to Edgar Martins‘ practice throughout my MA studies. Meeting him at ParisPhoto in 2016 and then hearing him talk in 2017, I remain awed by his tenacious and detailed research into each body of work that he creates.
In his series ‘Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes’, 2016-2017, he introduces it thus “this project proposes to scrutinize, expose and hold in tension many of the contradictions and problems inherent in the conceptualisation, definition and depiction of death. These intentions will likely collide, overlap and blur, revealing the fragility of our perceptual and cognitive systems.” and continues by stating that it “encompasses the production of new photographic work, following both a speculative and documentary approach, the appropriation of previously unseen archive material such as historical photographs, confidential case and medical files, crime and suicide-scene evidence, photo-installation and projection,”
Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Martins thus captured a series of objects and photographed them in isolation from the context of the research, as if allowing the images to exude their own presence and then, by insertion back into the body of work, a rope suddenly has a sad implication, a rock too, as tools of death. His strategies for narrative are via photo-books and large-scale installations, applying the images to a build a portrayal of his study; figs 2 – 7
Whilst more modest in approach, I have, since mid-2017, been ‘liberating’ objects that summarise the Pause Project, things left behind, the abandoned items that symbolise the use that has passed, actually a form of death. I have spent the last three days considering these items, the meaning and implications, as well as creating images of them as a way of incorporating them into the multi-media exhibition. Today, 22nd April, I have edited the objects and cropped them all into a sqaure format (a techniue I applied for my September 2017 exhbition), fig 1. The gaze is thus invited at parts of objects, to engage the viewer to consider their use and purpose. They vary from a rusty fixing, to masonic regalia, signs and sex toys.
In the context of Canto‘s work as archeology, I have made images (in parallel with the visual strategy above) of a sample group of concrete shards from the demolished Conservatoire, close up, to present them as if as fossils, as the trace of reinforcing bars, paint and surface stresses are all made clear via this edit, fig 8.
I have previously written about the potential for a zine concept and typology . I remain of the view that the zine will be produced, but it needs to be viewed as a contingency for the exhibition and its launch; the priority is the media to be displayed in the gallery spaces.
However, the zine concept allows the collection of a series of writings and images and remains an important tool in the armoury of sustaining the exhibition after it closes, as a tool of capture and promotion. It too may add to the material chosen to be shown as a strategy to illustrate the liberated objects, as there is yet to be a natural place for these in the exhibition space. If it is created for the exhibition then it has a greater visual width and sampling than simply a repetition of the exhibition.
Fig 9 states my thinking in terms of title, Birmingham Dust, flow and content, as a draft for discussion with peers.
Figures 1, 8, 9 – Philip Singleton
Figures 2 – 7 and 10 sourced from Edgar Martins’ website, accessed 22.4.2018 http://www.edgarmartins.com/work/siloquies-and-soliloquies-on-death-life-and-other-interludes/
Fig 10, below, is an illustration from ‘Destinerrance: The Place of the Dead is the Place of Photography at Centro de Arte José de Guimarães, Guimarães (Portugal)‘ showing the interplay between hung images and objects in a field as an exhibiting exemplar.