Camera Austria International

118 | 2012

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  • JENS ASTHOFF
    Natalie Czech: Readings of Images
  • NATALIE CZECH
  • BARRY SCHWABSKY
    Natalie Czech: A Lover's Discourse
  • KENNETH GOLDSMITH
    Erica Baum: Closed Captions
  • ERICA BAUM
  • VANESSA JOAN MÜLLER
    Shannon Ebner: Non-Verbal Residuals
  • SHANNON EBNER
  • SUSANNE HOLSCHBACH
    Sven Johne: The Illusion of Eternal Summer
  • SVEN JOHNE
  • JAN VERWOERT
    Image as Witness 2/4 How to Go About the Haunting?

Editorial

“An initial pre-requisite to clarifying how the novelist [editor’s note: Marcel Proust] was referencing photography lies in how the two mediums—photography and the novel—resist forgetting the past. It was photography that conveyed the subjective subtlety of memory through the mechanics of technical, industrial processes. A further splendid analogous relationship links photography and literature: both strive for ultimate precision. Yet as mediums they are not identical.” This passage from Gislind Nabakowski’s review “What We Would (Perhaps) Not Have Seen without Books …” of three recent publications on the intermediatic affinity between literature and photography (see pp. 91–92 in this issue) aptly highlights the leitmotif of the current issue, “Photography_Text”, and thus congenially complements our exploration of the four artists to whom we will be introducing you by way of monographic contributions.
The thematic framework “Photography_Text” ensues from the observation that contemporary photographic artists are at present increasingly associating text and image mediums. The MoMA, New York, for instance, is currently focusing on this phenomenon with their exhibition “Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Languages”, where topical positions are cross-referenced with those historical and artistic movements of the twentieth century in which language was viewed as a material. Forms of superimposition—visually depicting writing with the medium of photography—assume the focal point of various artistic works, for example by Erica Baum, Natalie Czech, and Shannon Ebner: forming a central point of reference here is the genre of Concrete Poetry, a signifier of the disintegration of classical writing forms that fosters a priori a visual-linguistic constellation whereby writing becomes image.
Full text

Camera Austria International 118 | 2012
Editorial

“An initial pre-requisite to clarifying how the novelist [editor’s note: Marcel Proust] was referencing photography lies in how the two mediums—photography and the novel—resist forgetting the past. It was photography that conveyed the subjective subtlety of memory through the mechanics of technical, industrial processes. A further splendid analogous relationship links photography and literature: both strive for ultimate precision. Yet as mediums they are not identical.” This passage from Gislind Nabakowski’s review “What We Would (Perhaps) Not Have Seen without Books …” of three recent publications on the intermediatic affinity between literature and photography (see pp. 91–92 in this issue) aptly highlights the leitmotif of the current issue, “Photography_Text”, and thus congenially complements our exploration of the four artists to whom we will be introducing you by way of monographic contributions.
The thematic framework “Photography_Text” ensues from the observation that contemporary photographic artists are at present increasingly associating text and image mediums. The MoMA, New York, for instance, is currently focusing on this phenomenon with their exhibition “Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Languages”, where topical positions are cross-referenced with those historical and artistic movements of the twentieth century in which language was viewed as a material. Forms of superimposition—visually depicting writing with the medium of photography—assume the focal point of various artistic works, for example by Erica Baum, Natalie Czech, and Shannon Ebner: forming a central point of reference here is the genre of Concrete Poetry, a signifier of the disintegration of classical writing forms that fosters a priori a visual-linguistic constellation whereby writing becomes image.
Author Jens Asthoff for instance discovers how Natalie Czech, through her photographs, investigates language as a space of contingency, probes boundaries of meaning, experiments with word-image relations, and encourages stratifications of intertextuality to intersect with and permeate one another. In his literary contribution, Barry Schwabsky poses exploratory questions about Czech’s work—“Is it possible to see her work as one enormous love letter: a billet-doux to poetry?” and notes that the last thing lovers want to give up is the possibility of gazing at the beloved: “Photographing poetry means gazing at it.” After this issue goes to press, Natalie Czech in turn plans to translate parts of her artistic contributions published here into another personal photographic work.
Kenneth Goldsmith, poet and founder of UbuWeb, has already published texts in several of Erica Baum’s artist’s books: both as poet and as theorist. The works of Erica Baum—as those of Czech and Ebner as well—are beholden to the genre of Conceptual Poetry which involves “tactics using uncreativity, unoriginality, illegibility, appropriation, plagiarism, fraud, theft, and falsification as its precepts” (Goldsmith). The point of departure for Baum’s photographic work is her research on antiquarian books (usually) by American poets and on books with unique typographic features or tactile qualities. A further source of her work is categorical keywording in libraries or other text-based archives. When it comes to her textual, image, and associated systems of reference, a sense of suspense is maintained: Goldsmith, in his own associative way, traces the structures, rhythms, and hierarchies of her work while “reading” her photographs—so as to qualify them as loose, unconnected narratives, as parallel semiotic systems.
Shannon Ebner likewise explores correlations between image and language, or characters, in her photographs. On the basis of various linguistic patterns, found by the artist in poetry, experimental writing, and political rhetoric, Ebner constructs her photographic textual images, letters, and phrases. Her work analyses the ways in which language and image are mutually dependent and constitutive. Vanessa Joan Müller examines this “ambivalent realm of linguistic representation and optical presence” in the photography of Shannon Ebner, who localises words like sculptures in landscapes and abstract pictorial spaces, develops her own alphabets, or even stages letters as surreally embedded objects trouvés in everyday life.
The ways language/linguistic patterns are used and the functioning principles or manipulability of narration are decisive for understanding the work of Sven Johne: through his serial pieces he fosters complicity between image and writing. Taking reference to the work “Roses from Africa” (2011), Susanne Holschbach writes: “Yet the way in which photograph, caption, and narration are associated, in terms of both content and form, translates the relay function between text and image into an aesthetic configuration that no longer fosters reduction of meaning but rather equivocation on another level.” “The Illusion of Eternal Summer”—the title of Holschbach’s essay—also approximates Johne’s 2012 “Lampedusa Hotels”, a sixteen-page magazine stylised like a travel catalogue, which we will be inserting into this edition of Camera Austria International exclusively for our subscribers: edging in between the pages of this banal yet brilliant series of shots showing hotel rooms looking out on the pristine blue of the Mediterranean Sea is the “repertoire of our limited mediatic knowledge” about the refugees arriving on the island every day. Meanwhile: this ineluctable “morally charged message is consummated by the beholder” (Holschbach). The fact that we are able to offer our subscribers this edition by Sven Johne is thanks to a media partnership with “RAY Fotografieprojekte”. The MMK in Frankfurt co-produced this work by Johne for the inaugural exhibition on RAY, “Making History”, where the edition is available to exhibition visitors (see also the review by Verena Kuni in this issue, pp. 76–77).
We would like to take this opportunity to let you know that the first presentation of works by Sven Johne in Austria is currently in planning for the summer of 2013 at the Camera Austria exhibition space in Graz.
The Forum section of this issue has been curated by Mia ­Jankowicz (Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo) and Constanze Wicke (Museum für Photographie Baunschweig) and shows Cairo-based young artists. In a certain sense, it ties into the dossier “Images Du Monde Arabe” created for Camera Austria International by Catherine David exactly ten years ago (see No. 78/2002), which marked the beginning of a continuous preoccupation with artwork from the Arab region. Experienced in the Forum, against the backdrop of recent political upheaval, is a special intensification of perception: it was precisely for this reason that Mia Jankowicz and Constanze Wicke placed importance on portraying the diversity of a young generation of visual artists who substantially influence discourse on contemporary art beyond the Arab world—so as not “only” to focus on pictures of the revolution, but to place these pictures in an expanded discursive context of artistic self-conception vis-à-vis political commitment and activism and to educe the dividing lines, so important to the artists themselves, in the reception of their photographic works.
The encounter between the word and the image has impacted discourse on photography from the very outset, be it through the Benjaminian turn, where the image is said to always be enveloped by unspoken text, or be it through more current confrontations: “images jostle together making words suddenly appear, words jostle making images suddenly appear, images and words collide making thought take place visually” (Georges Didi-Huberman).
You will find us at the following art fairs and festivals: at ­PHoto España (Madrid), Art Basel and LISTE (Basel), as well as at the festival PhotoIreland (Dublin).
Maren Lübbke-Tidow
Reinhard Braun
June 2012

Contributions

Forum

Vorgestellt von Mia Jankowicz und Constanze Wicke:

AHMED KAMEL

MOHAMED EZZ

IMAN ISSA

TAREK HEFNY

OSAMA DAWOD

MOHAMED ABDELKARIM

JASMINA METWALY

Exhibitions

Revolution vs Revolution
Beirut Art Center
WALID SADEK

Occupy! The Struggle for Free Spaces since the 1970s
Wien Museum, Vienna
MARINA GRZINIC / DANILA MAYER

Sofie Thorsen: Schnitt A-A’ / Cut A–A’
Kunsthaus Graz
Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz/Basel
MARGIT NEUHOLD

Thomas Ruff
Haus der Kunst, München
EVA MARIA STADLER

Making History
RAY 2012 Fotografieprojekte
MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, MMK Zollamt,
Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main
VERENA KUNI

Zwischen Neuerung und Restauration. Zum 50. Jubiläum des Oberhausener Manifests bei den diesjährigen Internationalen Kurzfilmtagen
58. Internationale Kurzflmtage Oberhausen
RAINER BELLENBAUM

Chantal Akerman: Too Far, Too Close
MHKA, Antwerp
YOANN VAN PARYS

Hans Haacke: Castillos en el aire / Castles in the air
Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
MARCELO EXPÓSITO

Zoe Leonard: Observation Point
Camden Arts Centre, London
PAOLO MAGAGNOLI

Luigi Ghirri: Project Prints. An Adventure in Thinking and Looking
Castello di Rivoli
GABRIELE FRANCESCO SASSONE

John Gossage: The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler / Map of Babylon
Sprengel Museum Hannover
CAROLIN FÖRSTER

Boris Mikhailov: Time Is out of Joint. Fotografien 1966-2011
Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
JULIA GWENDOLYN SCHNEIDER

Ursula Biemann: Mission Reports
Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz
MAREN RICHTER

What Is Left of Avant-Garde Performance Art – And Who Owns It …?
Gina Pane. E per amore vostro: l’altro
MART, Rovereto
STEFANIE SEIBOLD

La Triennale – Intense Proximity
Palais de Tokyo and various venues
ESTELLE BLASCHKE

Hito Steyerl, Thomas Keenan & Eyal Weizman, Paulo Tavares: Mengeles Schädel. Der Aufstieg der forensischen Ästhetik
Portikus, Frankfurt
MAREN LÜBBKE-TIDOW

Josephine Pryde: Miss Austen Enjoys Photography
Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf
MELANIE OHNEMUS

Books

Erik van der Weijde: Palm Tree, 2009, Der Baum, 2010 und Bonsai, 2011.
4478zine, Amsterdam
JAN WENZEL

Michael Schmidt: Lebensmittel
Snoeck Verlag, Köln 2012.
JOACHIM BROHM

Gyula Halász Brassaï: Proust und die Liebe zur Photographie.
Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2001.
Kentaro Kawashima: Autobiographie und Photographie nach 1900. Proust, Benjamin, Brinkmann, Barthes, Sebald.
Transcript Lettre, Bielefeld 2011.
Anne-Kathrin Hillenbach: Literatur und Fotografie. Analysen eines intermedialen Verhältnisses.
Transcript Lettre, Bielefeld 2012.
GISLIND NABAKOWSKI

Imprint

Publisher: Reinhard Braun
Owner: Verein CAMERA AUSTRIA. Labor für Fotografie und Theorie
Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz, Österreich

Editor-in-chief: Maren Lübbke-Tidow (V.i.S.d.P.)
Editors: Margit Neuhold, Rebecca Wilton

Translators: Dawn Michelle d’Atri, John Doherty, Steven Lindberg, Wilfried Prantner
German proofreading: Daniela Billner
English proofreading: Dawn Michelle d’Atri

Dank / Acknowledgments:
Mohamed Abdelkarim, Jens Asthoff, Erica Baum, Kirsty Bell, Natalie Czech, Moyra Davey, Osama Davod, Florian Ebner, Shannon Ebner, Katja Eydel, Mohammed Ezz, Rike Frank, Peter Gorschlüter, Kenneth Goldsmith, Denhart von Harling, Tarek Hefny, Susanne Holschbach, Iman Issa, Mia Jankowicz, Ahmed Kamel, Sven Johne, Annette Kelm, Meike Kröncke, Markus Lüttgen, Robert Meijer, Jasmina Metwaly, Clara Meister, Vanessa Joan Müller, Barry Schwabsky, Adam Szymczyk, Ursula Teich, Jan Verwoert, Wallspace Gallery (New York), Thomas Weski, Constanze Wicke

Copyright © 2012
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. Nachdruck nur mit vorheriger Genehmigung des Verlags. / All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced without publisher’s permission.

Für übermittelte Manuskripte und Originalvorlagen wird keine Haftung übernommen. / Camera Austria International does not  assume any responsibility for submitted texts and original materials.

ISBN     978-3-900508-02-9
ISSN     1015 1915
GTIN    4 19 23106 1600 5 00118