Lois Dalphinis

Rendering The Real

…people’s realities are multi-layered and often untold; however they can be unpacked through the work they produce.

(Mullings, 2011)

Rendering the Real

In April 2012, I attended the Visual Residue Symposium at the 198 Gallery, SW9. Accompanying an art exhibition, Visual Residue presented works of 10 practitioners who have commented on the concerns of everyday life that young people have to contend.   Dr Shawn Sobers of Firstborn Creatives was in attendance amongst other practitioners including Gerard Hanson, and Lorenzo Bordonaro.

Gerard Hanson, Mogla '09

Sireita Mullings described the project as ‘paying attention to the strategies employed to amplify the voices of marginalised, disaffected and socially excluded community groups and youth.’  My response, as a whole, is a poetical one since this is a reflection on events, experiences and learning.

Photographs, by nature, create space between subject and object, and in that space old memories are preserved. Sometimes, however, the rules and functions of photography can be inverted so that new memories are produced.

(Fashioned Realities)

Ghetto Six, Lorenzo Bordonaro

Growing up in a city or suburb can be fast paced and becoming settled in life and within ourselves is an achievement which we work towards through-out our lives as we develop and change.   Bordonaro and Hanson touch on this from different perspectives in both of their projects ‘Ghetto Six’ and ‘The Meaning of Style’ respectively. What was noticeable in both projects was that although working from different locations (e.g. Cape Verde and Jamaica), both projects expressed an experience of inner city living, personal and social development.

Environment is an important aspect of daily life and knowing if, how and where to access information or resources can be an important factor in learning experiences.

From storing and sharing photos to editing your pictures, the advent of digital photography and the web has changed the way we take pictures.

In the 1800’s people flocked to London to trade, do business, socialise and in cities throughout the world, this remains pretty much the same in the 21st Century.  Historically, World Fairs were events at which nation’s inventiveness and style were on show, displaying the best of the best.  Since that time, the surge of internet culture has spawned a modern-day pop cultural rebirth, transforming the way in which we communicate and exchange ideas and information. The city has in some ways been displaced to a virtual safe haven online.

The choice of photography as a means of expression for the Rendering the Real project is an appropriate one since the technology has close links with documentary and scientific enquiry.  Like with all arts photography is a continuous process which involves observation, production and in some cases a reflection on its function.

‘Outsiders’ by JR. This image featured as part of the ‘Street Art‘ exhibition at Tate Modern in 2008

     

  ...an extraordinary invention capable of arresting a moment forever.

 

In 1963, Andy Warhol in his famous quote  said ‘I want to be a machine‘, and this was in no way hidden in his use of industrial silk screen printing and photographic techniques in creating what came to be known as ‘Pop Art‘.

The legacy of Pop Art is so ingrained into the everyday that we forget it to be that way. When Warhol reproduced an image of a Campbell’s Soup can, he elevated “the everyday” to the status of art object.  In a sense, Warhol and the Pop Art movement further opened the eye of the viewer to what could be classed as art.  In its subject matter and production methods, Pop Art was a far cry (in technique) from the Salon painters in France during the French Revolution, although the seemingly quick execution and bold use of colour could be compared and paralleled with the work of the Impressionist painters during the 1800’s.

Both Impressionism and Pop Art elevated the everyday, creating an art object from the “overlooked”.  Warhol’s depiction of celebrity did echo back to the Salon painters subject matter, who painted mythic figures Zeus or Apollo for example, but he rendered photographic portraits in a modern, stylish way, bridging the gap or at least blurring the boundary between High and Low Art, and notions of status.

Recently I read an article from BBC news ‘Computer uses images to teach itself common sense‘. For me, the article illustrates how time and money are spent on endeavours such as this and still the most poignant and pressing issues in society such as hunger, homelessness or climate change remain unsolved.

 

Q: How can you effect change (In people/community)?

A: Be real 

(Amiri Baraka)

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