Camera Austria International

123 | 2013

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  • KAELEN WILSON-GOLDIE
    Eric Baudelaire: Narrative, Form, and Metaphor in "The Anabases"
  • ERIC BAUDELAIRE
  • NATAŠA ILIĆ
    Phil Collins: The Mystique of Education in the Age of Big Brother
  • PHIL COLLINS
  • RORY BESTER
    Jo Ractliffe: That land and landscape, parts I – XVII (after Walter Benjamin)
  • JO RACTLIFFE
  • ADI OPHIR
    Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin: Divine Violence*
  • ADAM BROOMBERG & OLIVER CHANARIN
  • T.J. DEMOS
    Spectro-Aesthetics 3/4 The Persistence of Hauntology

Editorial

“The old myth that photographs tell the truth has succumbed to the new myth that they don’t.” This sentence spoken by Allan ­Sekula concluded his speech at the Graz symposium on photography in 1996. The photographer, theorist, photography historian, essayist, and film-maker curated the event, and his contribution titled “Agents and Agencies: Photography between Discourse and Document” was subsequently published in Camera Austria International No. 59/60 (1997). During the lecture, Allan Sekula—in his non-imitable manner—meandered through the history of photographic representation, with the particular aim of characterising it as a political moment. Without doubt, Sekula could lay claim to spearheading discourse in this realm of expanded understanding of documentary practice, and he deeply influenced not only us but also Christine Frisinghelli and Manfred Willmann as the founders of this magazine. On 10 August 2013, Allan Sekula passed away in Los Angeles.

In appreciation of his rare ability to combine theoretical debate on photography with his artistic practice through a single critical project, Allan Sekula received the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz in 2001. We have therefore dedicated the cover of the current issue to ­Allan Sekula. “Dear Bill Gates” featured both in our jointly published book TITANIC’s wake and in the eponymous exhibition on show at Camera Austria in the year 2005. An obituary honouring Sekula has been written by Christine Frisinghelli, who as a longtime friend of the artist shared his devotion to critically exploring the medium of photography. It is on this note that we dedicate this issue to discourse on the documentary as political practice, which we hope to further pursue in our future projects.

Camera Austria International No. 123 deals with constructions of history and the powerful (and questionable or question-worthy) role played by photographic and filmic images in processes related to the production of new/old normative orders. The contributions to this issue range from visual opulence (Broomberg and Chanarin) to the utter emptying of pictorial space (Ractliffe). They thus highlight different approaches to dealing with logics of representation that govern the reproducible and manipulable picture. Explored in this issue is how decisive the (grand) narratives and the (individual) stories can be in the perception of images and how, conversely, pictures manipulate perception and the “establishment of truth”.

 

Full text

Camera Austria International 123 | 2013
Editorial

“The old myth that photographs tell the truth has succumbed to the new myth that they don’t.” This sentence spoken by Allan ­Sekula concluded his speech at the Graz symposium on photography in 1996. The photographer, theorist, photography historian, essayist, and film-maker curated the event, and his contribution titled “Agents and Agencies: Photography between Discourse and Document” was subsequently published in Camera Austria International No. 59/60 (1997). During the lecture, Allan Sekula—in his non-imitable manner—meandered through the history of photographic representation, with the particular aim of characterising it as a political moment. Without doubt, Sekula could lay claim to spearheading discourse in this realm of expanded understanding of documentary practice, and he deeply influenced not only us but also Christine Frisinghelli and Manfred Willmann as the founders of this magazine. On 10 August 2013, Allan Sekula passed away in Los Angeles.
In appreciation of his rare ability to combine theoretical debate on photography with his artistic practice through a single critical project, Allan Sekula received the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz in 2001. We have therefore dedicated the cover of the current issue to ­Allan Sekula. “Dear Bill Gates” featured both in our jointly published book TITANIC’s wake and in the eponymous exhibition on show at Camera Austria in the year 2005. An obituary honouring Sekula has been written by Christine Frisinghelli, who as a longtime friend of the artist shared his devotion to critically exploring the medium of photography. It is on this note that we dedicate this issue to discourse on the documentary as political practice, which we hope to further pursue in our future projects.
Camera Austria International No. 123 deals with constructions of history and the powerful (and questionable or question-worthy) role played by photographic and filmic images in processes related to the production of new/old normative orders. The contributions to this issue range from visual opulence (Broomberg and Chanarin) to the utter emptying of pictorial space (Ractliffe). They thus highlight different approaches to dealing with logics of representation that govern the reproducible and manipulable picture. Explored in this issue is how decisive the (grand) narratives and the (individual) stories can be in the perception of images and how, conversely, pictures manipulate perception and the “establishment of truth”.
Eric Baudelaire’s photographs, videos, and installations work with documentary and archival material, that is, with existing pictures and text, with strategies that may be localised somewhere between photo-essayism and anthropology. His focus is on the power of images and on constructing the self through ideologies, myths, and histories. The projects “The Makes” and “The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years Without Images” as thematised in Baudelaire’s contribution tie into the ancient narrative of Xenophon’s Anabasis. Anabasis serves as both a background and a metaphor for the representational-critical questions addressed by Eric Baudelaire through the stories of his figures, which are associated with the issues of resistance, violence, and terrorism. Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, an expert for art from the Arab and Mediterranean regions who is based in Beirut, in turn explores “how questions of authorship, collaboration, and the orchestration of events shift through the ideological thickets of dreams, desires, and fears, plus revolutions, class conflicts, and outright wars. At stake in all these chapters is the work of images—what they tell us, how we read them—in relation to the individual and collective stories so often told about the legacy of the radical left and the ascendancy of an emboldened right.”
A new artist’s book project by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin is at the heart of their contribution. By reprinting the book of all books, the Bible, the artists have covered the Old Testament with images obtained from the London “Archive of Modern Conflict”, which may well be the most comprehensive collection of photographs portraying violence, catastrophes, and the asininity of war. Their selection vicariously represents the horror and madness of global (wartime) catastrophes, but also our apathetic reception of the images that have swilled through mainstream media thousands of times. The project moreover reflects an attempt to visualise one of the pivotal theories put forth by the Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir. He asserts that God primarily manifests in (inflicted) catastrophes and that the power structures or justification strategies operating within the Bible correlate with those of modern governmental systems. “Ophir’s reading of the bible suggests a contract we are all silently and forcibly bound into with the modern state and our naïve acceptance of the harsh punishments the state meters out; prison, the death sentence, a war on drugs, on terror” (Oliver Chanarin).
The point of origin for the contribution by British artist Phil ­Collins is his piece “marxism today (prologue)” (2010), first shown as part of the 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, and also his work “use! value! exchange!” from the same year. In these works, Collins hones in on the lives of teachers from the former German Democratic Republic who taught the subject “Marxism-Leninism” and traces their lives after the ball of reunification started rolling in 1990. Collins combines archival material about teaching methods with his personal experiences. He uncovers layer after layer of his protagonists’ personal memories, convictions, and inner conflicts while operating under the assumption that all forms of teaching are ideologically charged, regardless of the systemic parameters. The artist combines these filmic works with pictures from his piece “free fotolab (Berlin)” (2010), an image archive that has evolved (and continues to do so) from the free development of 35mm-camera pictures in exchange for the image rights. In her accompanying text, the Croatian art critic and curator Nataša Ilić writes: “Both works were prompted by the ways in which the 20th anniversary of German unification framed relations to the past and constructed historical narrative. A selection of anonymous photos … in no way directly reflects on the transformations and enormous structural changes that Berlin has undergone since the fall of the Wall. The history of a divided city haunts those images …”
Jo Ractliffe, in her much-heralded work “As Terras do Fim do Mundo”, has documented the residuals of the war that raged at the border between Angola and South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. ­Together with former soldiers, she returned to the battlegrounds, where today literally nothing at all remains visible. Rory Bester, head of the art history department at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, writes about the special concept of “land­scape as pathology” that is apparent in Ractliffe’s work: “The land before / the land after / the photograph / and in between / tilling land into landscape.” Coming together in Ractliffe’s photographs is the ­mythos of conquering and reconquering a country, the reclamation and ravaging thereof, the oppression and freedom. The land­scape itself becomes a metaphor for the freezing of incidents. Yet of these events little remains seen, and they can hardly be reconstructed in image form; the land “eventually becomes meaningful in the mind’s eye.” Pushing the limits of what images can show, they become en­tangled in the cultural and political production of history.
Our increasingly strong presence at art fairs (this fall at Frieze, London, and ParisPhoto among others) and at art-book fairs (such as the New York Art Book Fair, Miss Read [Berlin], and the Fotobuch Festival in Kassel) inspired us to invite AA Bronson—artist, founder of Printed Matter (New York), and initiator of NYABF—to make a selection of new releases that in his view are exceptional art books. With his recommendations in mind, you can stroll through the art-book fairs and make fascinating discoveries. Such discoveries have also made their way into our Graz library thanks to favou­rable co-operation with many small publishers and self-press initiatives—to whom we would hereby like to extend our warm thanks.
Our Forum section also leads up to our participation at the New York Art Book Fair. In the current issue, Austrian artist Martin Beck, who resides in New York, is presenting six artists of whom four likewise live in this metropolis. The rubric thus ties into previous Forum contributions curated by artists like Peter Piller and Sharon Lockhart, where we have set out to exhibit the different paths taken by young artists and their individual perspectives.
In parallel to the completion of this issue, the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz was granted by a jury comprised of Sandra Križić Roban, editor of Život umjetnosti, Zagreb, Florian Ebner, head of the photographic collection at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, and Martin Beck, artist, ­Vienna and New York. Joachim Koester was selected as this year’s award recipient, an artist not only who has made an essential contribution to our magazine (as the award statutes require), but who has also participated in two Camera Austria exhibitions, in 2006 and 2009 respectively, both of which explored the relationship between concept and visibility, between knowledge, history, and image. Joachim Koester’s work may be considered exemplary for this theme. One of the most significant contemporary curators today, Catherine David, gave the laudatio address at the award ceremony in Graz.
With 112 pages, this issue of our magazine features an expanded scope. It is our hope that we have provided you with enough reading material to last until the following issue is published.

Maren Lübbke-Tidow, Reinhard Braun
and the Camera Austria team
September 2013

Contributions

Forum

Presented by Martin Beck:

MICHELE ABELES

LUCY RAVEN

AMY CROFT

STEWART UOO

ANNE COLLIER

ED ATKINS

Exhibitions

Vom Zaudern: Motive des Aufschubs, Übergangs und Abschweifens
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
KATHI HOFER

Philip-Lorca diCorcia: Photographs 1975–2012
Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg
KERSTIN STREMMEL

Tobias Zielony: Jenny Jenny
Berlinische Galerie
ESTELLE BLASCHKE

Center for Historical Reenactements: After-after Tears. Museum as Hub
New Museum, New York
TACO HIDDE BAKKER

Projects 100: Akram Zaatari
MoMA, New York
ELLIE ARMON AZOULAY

Film as Sculpture
WIELS, Brüssel
TINA SCHULZ

Lorna Simpson
Jeu de Paume, Paris
Haus der Kunst, Munic
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover
ANNE FAUCHERET

Praxis der Liebe
Salzburger Kunstverein
ULRIKE MATZER

Moyra Davey: Hangmen of England
Tate Liverpool
MARTIN HERBERT

In the Heart of the Country
Museum of Modern Art Warsaw
JAKUB MAJMUREK

Arles in Black. Les 44e Rencontres d’Arles Photographie
Verschiedene Orte, Arles
GISLIND NABAKOWSKI

Matthias Herrmann: Otto Breicha-Preis für Fotokunst 2013
Museum der Moderne Rupertinum, Salzburg
AA BRONSON

55th Venice Biennial: The Encyclopedic Palace
Multiple Places, Venice
FATOS ÜSTEK

The Biography of Images: Parallel Biographies
Audain Gallery, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver
MITCH SPEED

Rudolf Koppitz: Photogenie
Moravská galerie v Brne, Brünn
Zoya Gallery, Bratislava
MARIE RÖBL

Books

KwieKulik
JRP | Ringier, Zurich 2013
KRZYSZTOF PIJARKSI

Doppelte Ökonomien. Vom Lesen eines Fotoarchivs aus der DDR 1967 – 1990
Spector Books, Leipzig 2013
FRIEDRICH TIETJEN

Rainer Bellenbaum: Kinematografisches Handeln. Von den Filmavantgarden zum Ausstellungsfilm
b_books, Berlin 2013
MARC RIES

THE REVOLVING BOOKSHELF
WassinkLundgren: Empty Bottles, Veenman Publishers, Rotterdam 2008
Nina Könnemann: Free Mumia, Spector Books, Leipzig 2010
Nigel Shafran: Ruth on the Phone, Roma Publications, Amsterdam 2012
JAN WENZEL

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: Christina Töpfer, Margit Neuhold (maternity leave), Rebecca Wilton
Katharina-Marie Mertens (internship)

Translators: Dawn Michelle d’Atri, John Doherty, Otmar Lichtenwörther, Wilfried Prantner.
German Proofreading: Heidi Oswald
English Proofreading: Dawn Michelle d’Atri

Aknowledgements:
Michele Abeles, Ed Atkins, Eric ­Baudelaire, Martin Beck, Lorenzo Benedetti, Rory ­Bester, Daniela Billner, AA Bronson, Adam Broomberg, Luke P. Brown, ­Renata ­Catambas, Stefano Cernuschi, Oliver ­Chanarin, Betsy Clifton, Anne Collier, Phil Collins, Amy Croft, Lilly Daniell, T. J. ­Demos, Galen Fletcher, Ryan ­Foerster, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Janice Guy, Taco Hidde Bakker, ­Halil, Nataša Ilić, Karin Johansson, Nahna Kim, ­Angelika Maierhofer, Poppy Melzack, Eva ­Möller, ­Damon Murray, Adi Ophir, Siniša ­Mitrović, Oliver Newton, ­Dorothée ­Per­ret, Jo ­Ractliffe, Lucy Raven, Michel Rein, ­Kathrin Rhomberg, Denise Schatz, David ­Schoerner, Stefanie Seibold, Katie ­Shapiro, Julio Sims, Sally Stein, Elena ­Tarchi, Lex Trüb, ­Stewart Uoo, Jan ­Wenzel, ­Henriette ­Weber, Robert Stürzl, ­Kaelen Wilson-­Goldie, ­Alexis Zavialoff.

Copyright © 2013All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced without publisher’s permission.
Camera Austria International does not assume any responsibility for submitted texts and original materials.

ISBN 978-3-900508-97-5
ISSN 1015 1915
GTIN 4 19 23106 1600 5 00123