July 30, 2010

Exhibition Afterword

The exhibition of my Devices project last Saturday night went much better than I could have imagined.

The show opened at 6pm with the official screening of the slideshow just after 7pm. The first screening was set to music and afterwards the images looped silently. There were a total of 69 images in the show, 17 of which were displayed on the Ida Nowhere walls. Fellow Australian and talented singer/ songwriter Waywardbreed performed in the Ida Nowhere basement which added to the fantastic atmosphere of the evening.

It was very well attended, much more so than I had anticipated. I enjoyed speaking with many, many people about their ideas, getting feedback and hearing anecdotes about things they had observed. For me, it was really important that I get feedback from people. I not only wanted to present the work, I wanted to hear from people what they thought about the ideas surrounding it. I wanted to know what other people thought about how owning these devices and being constantly 'on' affects us. Afterwards I made notes from what people shared with me and I also had a book where people could write down their ideas and comments.

I enjoyed myself so much that I didn't leave Ida Nowhere until around 11pm and that was only because the hunger pangs forced me too (I was too busy to enjoy the Vokü though I heard it was indeed tasty). Overall, I was very happy with the evening and the feedback I received and I'm already thinking about ways I can take the ideas behind it further.

Here are a few images taken during the preparations and during the evening:

Image by Edgar Maximillian Khandzratyan

Image by Edgar Maximillian Khandzratyan

Image by Edgar Maximillian Khandzratyan

Image by Edgar Maximillian Khandzratyan

Image by Edgar Maximillian Khandzratyan

Image by Steven Conway

I have more that I want to share about this project but for now this will have to do as this evening I head to Poland (a short 1.5 hour train ride away) to dance my feet off at the Woodstock festival. I only have one week left before I head back to Brisbane and I intend to make the most of it.

July 23, 2010

Final Preparations

Mette with phone, from Devices 2010.

It's raining outside, but it makes a nice reprieve from the heat of the last few days. Berlin is hot, hotter than usual, and the Berliner's aren't used to it like Brisbanite's. Most haven't considered the possibility of purchasing a pedestal fan let alone install air-conditioning. It makes things sticky, it makes my mind slower, but I balance that out with copious amounts of hot black tea. I am sensitive to caffiene so it works wonders and I have a silly theory that drinking the hot liquid makes me feel cooler on the outside.

I am in the final stages of preparing my exhibition that opens this Saturday. It is a one night only show, to be honest, I hadn't actually considered having a longer show. I consider the exhibition to be more like an event where I can share my ideas and encourage debate.

Ida Nowhere is an artist run project space. Most Saturday's they have musicians or experimental projects taking place there. They serve a Vokü - a home-cooked meal, usually vegan, available for a small donation - and have a casually run bar with very cheap beverages. The furniture is charming old and worn but very comfortable vintage couches, tables and chairs. The space is free, the artists that run it very relaxed and helpful, and I have full control over how I present my show. This is really exciting. It's the first solo show I've presented outside of a gallery and completely on my own and I'm really enjoying the autonomy and challenge of it.

I am also excited that during the evening Australian musician Waywardbreed will be performing in the basement of Ida Nowhere. So it's going to be quite an evening.

Today I finalized the slideshow that I will be projecting on the night. It took me a lot longer than I expected and I did a lot of experimenting with slide length, transitions and image order, treating the show as a creative piece in itself. I didn't want it to end up looking like a high school slideshow you find on YouTube. Music choice was also critical and I'm still not 100% sure I've made the right decision. Conceptually I think it would be better to leave the show 'silent' as the project deals in part with how we use music to escape from the world but aesthetically music can enhance the overall feeling I am trying to evoke with the images.

Initially I'd planned only to project images but with so much wall space available I ended up printing 17 images to hang. I am glad I did. I was so excited to pick up the prints from the lab yesterday. I had a friend come along with me to help carry them home and it was a fantastic feeling to see the images for the first time as large prints and have someone to share that moment with. I can't wait to see the images on the wall. I am generally highly critical of my prints, inspecting every part to make sure there is the right amount of detail present. In this series I deliberately wanted to destroy some of the detail in the blacks and highlights and while the traditional purist in me scowled a little for not doing things 'the right way' the conceptual artist was jumping up and down in excitement.

I'm also finishing my artist 'statement', clarifying and refining what I want to communicate about the work. I have pages and pages of notes, image references and quotations and cutting it down to a simple, coherent statement is taking time. It's also difficult as the effect our devices have on our lives is such a debatable topic- there are so many obvious benefits that to be standing up and being the voice that says there may be a darker side to these things is a little bit scary. I am finding that the more I think about the relationship we have with our devices the more it seems to tie into a lot of fundamental themes such as alienation, freedom and, ultimately, the search for meaning.

For now, I've still got thirty-nine hours left to prepare, and plenty more tea.

July 21, 2010

"Art may be practiced in one way or another, so that it reinforces the ego in its likes and dislikes, or so that it opens that mind to the world outside, and outside inside."
-John Cage

Busily preparing for my show and about to run out the door to go check the test prints for it and do a personal shoot. Will be updating with more information soon. For now, here is one of my favourite images from the upcoming show:

I hope you also enjoyed the quote, I have been researching musician John Cage's ideas as I find them relevant to part of what I'm trying to achieve in this project.

July 19, 2010

You are invited

Finally! As some of you know, late last year I photographed a new body of work. Previously somewhat elusive about it I am excited to finally announce the exhibition of this work at Ida Nowhere here in Berlin.

The Devices project aims to encourage debate about the effect our personal devices - phones, cameras, laptops, mp3’s - have on our relationships with other people and our external environment. No one can deny that we live in an age of access and are more closely connected to each other then ever before but this project aims to look at how these devices also cause disconnection and a shallower experience of our external world.

The show will be a combination of printed images and a digital projection.

The exhibition runs for one night only at Ida Nowhere, Donaustrasse 79, Berlin from 6pm-10pm. Official opening and screening is at 7pm.Hope to see you there!