Intervene

Anne Wyman

Anne_Wyman_01 Anne_Wyman_02 Anne_Wyman_03 Anne_Wyman_04 Anne_Wyman_05 Anne_Wyman_06

Aiming to explore the issues surrounding the lack of plants within urban spaces, this series uses the placement of plants to help people visualise how nature could enhance the urban environment. Concrete buildings and high-rise towers can become overwhelming with a constant repetition of shapes and colours. Through the introduction of plants into unexpected places, these photographs enact a visual ‘takeover’ of the city.

Anne Wyman is a final year student of Photography at the Leeds College of Art.

The Offence

Karolina Breguła

Inspired by Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz’s 1937 novel Ferdydurke, in which obsession with youth and the new takes an absurd and unnatural form, The Offence is a short story in the form of a film. The narrative follows a chorus of characters in a provincial Hungarian town, obsessed with tradition and fearful of the unknown. The unassuming hero of the story is a town official who decides to rescue his fellow citizens from their backwardness by an unusual method: with an uncanny understanding of the human desire for perversion, he forces progress through unnecessary prohibitions and restrictions that he knows will be broken. The film is about the paradoxically liberating effects of censorship, capable of attuning society to its needs and desires.

The Offence was shot in Hungary in the summer of 2013, in reaction to a conservative political climate. Like Breguła’s more recent works, it addresses the complex relationships between non-specialist or “uninitiated” art audiences and the abstractions of modern art.

The Offence was written and directed by Karolina Breguła, with cinematography by Robert Mleczko, sound by Weronika Raźna, and editing by Stefan Paruch. It was produced by Breguła and Tamas Liszka.

Chelsea Haines for Guernica

Karolina Breguła, born in 1979, creates installations, happenings, film and photography. She graduated form the National Film Television and Theatre School in Łódź. She has performed and exhibited in places such as the Venice Art Biennale (Italy), Jewish Museum in New York (USA), National Museum in Warsaw (Poland) and Zachęta National Gallery in Warsaw (Poland). She has received numerous awards, including Views 2013 and Samsung Art Master 2007, Polish Ministry of Culture Scholarship, as well as the Młoda Polska and Visegrad Scholarship. She is the author of works such as Fire-Followers (2013), Art Translating Agency (2010) and Let Them See Us (2003). She lives and works in Warsaw.

Adventures in Sound & Music with John Gruntfest

Adventures in Sound & Music Broadcast on Resonance FM with John Gruntfest & Stevphen Shukaitis Minor Compositions editor Stevphen Shukaitis is hosting a radio show on the work of free jazz saxophonist and poet John Gruntfest. The show will broadcast Thursday April 7 from 9-10:30PM on Adventures in Sound & Music produced by music magazine The Wire, for London-based art and experimental … Continue reading →

The Politics of the Office

Andreia Alves de Oliveira

1 Lobby. Advertising agency.

The office is a defining, everyday space of modernity, a space which is far from disappearing. Andreia Alves de Oliveira’s curiosity was not so much focused on what people spend their time doing in offices, but rather on the space itself. Office space is the default space in the lives of professional, corporate, creative, academic, administrative and civil servant workers. It upsets as well as bores people, it frustrates and enervates, it makes people feel inferior or superior, miserable or powerful. It rarely provokes indifference.

The project documents the offices of financial, corporate, and legal institutions based in the City and Canary Wharf in London. These provide an interesting case study not only because they encapsulate a vast body of knowledge, materialised in disciplines such as organisational behaviour, environmental psychology, ergonomics or office design, that has been applied to the architecture and design of offices in general. But they also reveal a contradiction between the visibility of these institutions – occupying imposing buildings in urban centres, with their activities impacting on the whole of society – and the invisibility of the space where these activities take place. Images of such office interiors exist mostly in the form of films, TV series and commercial photographs. It took nearly two years and five hundred companies conducted before the artist obtained access to the offices of around fifty of such institutions, which perhaps explains the general paucity of documentary representations of office spaces.

2Clients’ entertainment floor. Audit, tax, and advisory services firm.

3CEO’s office. Hedge fund.

Alves de Oliveira’s photographs reveal the new, post-Taylorist office, where discipline is achieved through rather subtle, symbolic means: spectacular, richly decorated receptions and clients’ areas which blur the lines between work and fun; colourful, stylish ‘breakout’ areas and staff ‘amenities’ provided as a trade-off for the loss of personal space in the now widespread ‘non-territorial’ offices, where there are no assigned desks; a system of spatial ‘status markers’ – quantity and quality of furniture, décor, amount of space per person, location within the floor and the building – put in place to signal hierarchical relations of power, reflecting wider systems that influence life in industrialised society, where material possessions often signify social status. Although the offices shown are devoid of people, human presence is felt throughout. The low vantage point of the photographs places the furniture at eye level within the frame, accentuating the chairs’ anthropomorphic qualities, making them stand for the people who inhabit these offices. The lower than usual camera height also has the effect of depicting space on a human scale, eschewing the spectacular, pleasing vistas typical of architectural and interiors commercial photography which define the common visual representations of these spaces.

4 Back office. Professional services firm.

5 Copy area. Reinsurance firm.

In their emptiness and neutral mood, these offices may bring to mind what Walter Benjamin saw in Eugene Atget’s photographs of Paris’ empty streets: forensic photographs of crime scenes. Benjamin was referring to crimes that were social and political. Similarly, the scenes here would refer not to individual incidents, but to events that have the capacity to impact on the whole of society happening everyday in these hidden interiors – no less than what could be termed, metaphorically and perhaps less metaphorically, as the crimes of capital.

While questioning how power is exercised through the space in/of the image, The Politics of the Office offers the opportunity to witness photographs of offices that are largely inaccessible to the general public. By making these spaces visible and by addressing them in their totality, the work creates an expanded image of the office that aims to contribute, following the philosopher Henri Lefebvre, to the production of this space – an everyday, overlooked, but defining space of industrialised and service-based society.

6Middle office. Insurance firm.

7 Staff bar. Advertising agency.

Technical specifications
Andreia Alves de Oliveira, The Politics of the Office, 2011 – 2014. 130 photographs, 20 x 30 cm each, with captions.

Andreia Alves de Oliveira (b. Portugal, 1979) is a photographer and researcher based in London. Her practice explores subjects related to contemporary life, more specifically life in Western, service-based society. She is interested in what is around; in the reality she is immersed in; in what makes life here, now.

Ways of Something

Lorna Mills

Ways of Something – Episode 1 by Lorna Mills

Ways of Something is a contemporary remake of art theorist John Berger’s BBC documentary, Ways of Seeing (1972). The project consists of one-minute videos by over 114 network-based artists who commonly work with 3D rendering, gifs, film remix, webcam performances, and websites to describe the cacophonous conditions of art making after the internet.

Curated and compiled by Lorna Mills, this remake is based a four-part series of thirty-minute films created by Berger and produced by Mike Dibb. In the original films, voice-of-God narration over iconic European paintings offers a careful dissection of traditional ‘fine art’ media and the way society has come to understand them as art. This current project invited artists to respond to what Berger called ‘learned assumptions’ about art in dialogue with the camera and the screen in its reproduction. It is, in effect, art about art about television about the internet.

Featuring formal, figural and kitsch practices to videomaking, Ways of Something consists of aesthetically diverse interpretations of Berger’s ideas on looking at art after the introduction of digital media. Ultimately, it turns the highbrow nature of documentary film into a wondrous and disjointed series of alternative outlooks on how artists understand art today.

Artists participating in Episode 1:

Minute 1: Daniel Temkin
Minute 2: Rollin Leonard
Minute 3: Sara Ludy
Minute 4: Rhett Jones
Minute 5: Jaakko Pallasvuo
Minute 6: Dafna Ganani
Minute 7: Jennifer Chan
Minute 8: Rea McNamara
Minute 9: Theodore Darst
Minute 10: Matthew Williamson
Minute 11: Hector Llanquin
Minute 12: Christina Entcheva
Minute 13: V5MT
Minute 14: Marisa Olson
Minute 15: Joe McKay
Minute 16: Carla Gannis
Minute 17: Nicholas O’Brien
Minute 18: Eva Papamargariti
Minute 19: Rosa Menkman
Minute 20: Kristin Lucas
Minute 21: Jeremy Bailey & Kristen D. Schaffer
Minute 22: Giselle Zatonyl
Minute 23: Paul Wong
Minute 24: Alfredo Salazar-Caro
Minute 25: Sally McKay
Minute 26: RM Vaughan & Keith Cole & Jared Mitchell
Minute 27: Andrew Benson
Minute 28: Christian Petersen
Minute 29: Faith Holland
Minute 30: Jennifer McMackon

* Episodes 1 and 2 of Ways of Something were originally produced by the One Minutes in Amsterdam.

Lorna Mills is a Toronto-based new media artist.

For Internal Use Only

Philip Welding

Philip Welding’s new photobook, For Internal Use Only, doesn’t exist. At least not yet. Influenced by the 3D printing phenomenon and Ikea’s flat pack processes, it is a ‘future book’ that you can download – for free – but you have to build it yourself.

PW Bound   IMG_0484

The photographs in the book depict the office workplace, an environment where there is an emphasis on worker productivity. What is evident, however, is that workers continually struggle to fit into this rigid framework, adopting strategies to effectively navigate the working world. Some of these strategies are at odds with the pursuit of productivity and could be seen (by the company) as ‘time-wasting activity’ – or as distraction from achieving the company’s objectives.

©RickyAdamPhoto (2 of 2)

To own the book, you are instructed to print it out at work and bind it using whatever materials are available. To make the finished product an official copy and a numbered edition, a photograph of it in the workplace must be emailed to the address below. In doing so, you are acting on company time, using company resources. Is this just one of many distractions from your agreed objectives? Or just another strategy for workplace survival?

clair_Robins_Book_01

The photographs from the project are only available by downloading the book. The website doesn’t reveal the project itself, but instead shows the photographs that people have taken of the printed and bound book situated in their workplace.

Instructions:
Go to http://www.philipwelding.co.uk/ to download the book. Email photographs of the finished book in the workplace to trajectoriespublications@gmail.com

Philip Welding was born in Leicester, UK, and works as Principal Lecturer in Photography at Leeds College of Art. In 2000 he graduated from Nottingham Trent University, then completed an MRes at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2012. His work fits into a narrative that he has been exploring for ten years in various forms, which incorporates notions of labour, creativity, boredom, resistance and productivity to critique our relationship with daily working lives. Welding was selected to exhibit at Format International Photo Festival in 2015.

The Port

Richard Whitlock

Richard Whitlock, The Port, 2015, HD video, 8 min. loop, ca. 3m x 5m.

The Port is a silent video that depicts cranes loading and unloading ships in the harbour of Thessaloniki in Greece, and people strolling along the quay. At first glance it looks like a normal film, but it is in fact made up of many fragments of looped video and still photographs arranged in a flattened orthographic projection – like a moving painting rather than a film.

This work continues the artist’s enquiry (see Photomediations Machine 18/5/2014) into the effects of non-standard perspective configurations on our experience of photographic images, a viewpoint that has been constrained until now by the perspective of the camera lens. Yet digitalisation now affords the photographer the opportunity to make changes in this standard central perspective. The challenge, taken up in The Port and in Whitlock’s previous work, The Street, is to alter perspective in the moving image.

Many different ‘times’, many parallel narratives, can now coexist on a single screen. The Port has about 40 layers, one for each object, or sometimes two. For example, the sea is not one sea but rather two superimposed layers of waves. Time is thus enriched, being both circular (loops within loops) and multiple (many layers and speeds). This intrigues the eye, giving the feeling of seeing something for the first time.

The objects could of course be synchronised, and made to follow a regular rhythm, like a soundless music, but the artist has chosen to maintain the characteristic irregular pulsations of each type of object, intervening only minimally in the phasing of the cranes and the grouping of the strollers on the quay.

Richard Whitlock (b. Liverpool 1952) has made sculptural, graphic and photographic installations in many parts of the world. Dissatisfied with photography as a means of adequately representing these works, he began making photographs and films in unusual ways, avoiding the central perspective natural to these media. This by-work became a major preoccupation, leading to non-perspectival photographic and video installations in Helsinki, Grenoble, the Crimea, Taipei, Thessaloniki, Athens and New York. He lives in Greece.

An Open Letter of Concern to the Medieval Academy of America

by Eileen Joy Responses to the website of prominent Anglo-Saxonist Allen Frantzen (Loyola University, Emeritus) have generated a wide conversation, centering especially on the need for what we might call ‘truth and reconciliation’ in the field of academic medieval studies, conducted in person, by phone, and on social media (which was also partly sparked by[...]

Mechanical Calculators (from The Imitation Archive)

Matt Parker

Matt Parker, Mechanical Calculators (from The Imitation Archive), HD Video with Sound, 05 mins 43 secs, 2015

In early 2015 Matt Parker was artist in residence at The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park. The museum host the UK’s largest collection of fully functioning historical, vintage computers and artefacts. Among the digital and electronic devices within the museum archives are a large number of pre-digital, mechanical computers / calculators / comptometers. They are manual tools used by accountants the world over from the 1930s to the 1970s, before digital computing technologies took over. The comptometer is a functional tool yet it is utterly obsolete and abstract as a device for someone like Parker, who has only ever known to use a digital calculator, his fingers – and occasionally his brain – to count. Comptometers have varied design schemas, reflecting so many different methods of invention, all with the aim of achieving basic arithmetic with large numbers.

Parker found the idea of grinding, punching and literally ‘crunching’ the numbers to be something to explore, as he placed each item within the vast collection of The Imitation Archive (a collection of over a hundred sound recordings of computer technologies produced during the residency) as a media archaeological exploration into the sounds and functions of pre-digital computing. He explores the sound of each device, woefully misused by a curious but incompetent user, incapable of understanding the logic behind these most logical of devices and unable to programme even the most basic arithmetical calculation. The video depicts the objects with a vintage glow whilst the sound of a ‘digital native’ attempts to perform the same, mathematically basic addition task but struggles to even understand how to wind the correct rotary dials or push the correct buttons.

Matt Parker is an audiovisual composer and sound artist working with and producing archives that amplify hidden connections between every-day technology and the environment. His work is influenced by principles of acoustic ecology, preservation, immersion and saturation. He is a PhD candidate at the London College of Communication within the Creative Research into Sound Art Practice Centre (AHRC funded). He has a Master’s in Music Technology from Birmingham Conservatoire, is the winner of the Deutsche Bank Creative Prize in Music 2014 and was shortlisted for the Aesthetica International Art Prize 2015.

Links:
http://www.earthkeptwarm.com
http://www.thepeoplescloud.org