Lydia Maria Julien hosted a Remarkable and Curious Conversations discussion forum on Thursday 21st July 2011 at Hackney Central Library. She was joined by Mary Yacoob, Ingrid Jensen, Steve Perfect, Philip Lee and Cally Trench.
Steve Perfect: My Places project was originally devised to elicit viewers' reactions to my pictures. I've had some great replies which have helped me to understand more how others see them.
The photographs I brought to the evening produced some interesting and useful insights too. One looked 'like an estate agent's photo' - this kind of instantaneous comment is so valuable and produces so many questions for me as an artist. Is it a problem if it looks like an estate agent's photo? Why does it look like that? I'm interested in anonymous places but should I be advocating them in the way an estate agent does? On a sunny day a block of flats with flowers growing outside looks that way; to produce different results should I be photographing at dusk? From a different angle? - low, high, very oblique? If I converted the picture to black and white it wouldn't look that way, but then how would it stand in relation to all the colour pictures around it?
Another suggestion was to show the pictures much larger. This is always a debate for me. Many photos from the past that I greatly admire were printed quite small and the photo book is a big interest for me, but there is something special about a landscape photograph big enough to walk into....
I'm planning a Part 2 to the Places project, something to do with colour, probably, after I realised that my responses to other people's photos were deeply affected by colour. Haven't quite worked out how I'm going to frame it yet. Watch this space. Thanks to all the Remarkable people who have contributed to Places and who talked with me about my photos on Thursday.
Mary Yacoob: I got some really good feedback from the group about an artist book I am making called 40 Plans Found at the Site. People contributed comments about the nature of plans versus maps; notions of time implicit in maps (past?) and plans (future?); and the use of maps in regeneration history. People also gave some practical advice about binding, format, and types of paper appropriate for the theme of the book.
We also talked about how much information to give to the viewer; formats that widen freedom of interpretation, and whether the drawings looked like plans for structures or the structures themselves. The book is related to some site-specific drawings I've been making for Galerie8.
Lydia Maria Julien told us about joining the London Group, and a performance that she is planning.
Ingrid Jensen discussed the difficulties of filming her Interface project. She also told us about her plan for a performance art work in the form of a "last offices" or "laying out" ceremony in which Central Saint Martins graduates carefully clean a chosen part of the Charing Cross building before saying goodbye to it.
Ingid Jensen: I first studied in the Charing Cross Road building in 1968/9 as a Foundation student, went off and did a lot of other things, then returned for the MA Fine art (graduated in 2006) and was deeply pleased to find the building much the same. I have already made a collection of photos, graphite rubbings and small impression sculptures of various parts of the building, and participated in the Mapping the Move drawing project. I know I'm not the only one to suffer "building attachment" and go through a kind of mourning when contact with a favourite place is severed.
Mary Yacoob: After the discussion we went to the private view of an exhibition curated by Adam Dant, 'celebrated artist and amateur London historian'. The exhibition investigates 'the value and status placed on the contemporary art object' and is inspired by the discovery and urban myth surrounding what was finally, legally, determined to be 'Not Treasure': that is, 80 gold coins found in a back garden in Hackney in 2007. The exhibition asks 'Does the narrative form outweigh the material?', a question explored in Gavin Turk's sculpture (a red, signed brick), and excellently captured in Philip's photograph.