LET`S TALK ABOUT IMAGES
“For one to whom the real world becomes real images, mere images are transformed into real beings – tangible figments which are the efficient motor of trancelike behaviour.“
—Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, 1967
“The danger of this emphasis on the coproduction of physical and cultural space by computation is that it in turn occludes the vast inequalities of power that it both relies upon and reproduces. Computation does not merely augment, frame, and shape culture; by operating beneath our everyday, casual awareness of it, it actually becomes culture.“
—James Bridle, New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future, 2018
Let’s Talk about Images is Fotogalleriet’s new discursive programme. The weekly events are grounded in photographic and cinematographic works produced in recent years as examples of artistic practices that critically engage society and its representations. At the same time, the programme explores the embodiment of the Image and the abandonment of spectatorship. Through artists’ presentations, discussions and screenings, ‘Let’s Talk about Images’ aims to analyse and explore the world of the perceptible and to rethink how ocularcentrism has taken over the human reign of senses. Strategies discussed in this series of programmes will range from cultural hacking, the construction and negotiation of identities in relation to normative power structures, asserting presence by absence of words, objects, victims and bodies, techno-utopian visions, creative storytelling, and narrative rifts.
Fifty years after Debord’s revolutionary analysis of the global effects of image production it can be retranslated in what has been recently defined as the “new dark age”, where computerized technology transformsthe world in ways divergent from human perception and comprehension. As an easily deceived sense, sight is readily adaptable to present day
society’s opaqueness. In this overwhelming torrent of images, can we discern ‘artistic approaches’ to this new image environment, to world events, and to history in general? Is art an antidote to this one-way street image production, or capable only to document the scars which are left behind? Do we live in a depopulated ‘world of images’, the violence of which bears witness to a metonymical mode of representation? And is the role of art to humanise the violence of the imagery we are subjected to, or to instead shape different ways of seeing?
Thursday, 1 November, 7–9pm
Khaled Barakeh and Terje Abusdal in conversation with Sara R. Yazdani
Mass-media representation related to territories of conflict oftentimes determines the way in which a public opinion is formed, imaged and perpetrated. The images coming from Syria today are one such example, as in March 2011 a clean revolution replete of hope evolved into a proxy war, and a propaganda perpetuated by both mainstream communication-channels and the regime silenced other views and imaginaries of the country. The Syrian asylum seekers who opted for an Arctic route to enter Europe via Kirkenes, Norway, in 2015 while escaping the escalation of the war are the point of encounter between Syrian artist Khaled Barakeh and Norwegian storyteller Terje Abusdal, who – in conversation with UiO’s PhD candidate Sara R. Yazdani – discuss image technologies, mapping, networks, and visual manifestations of our understanding of the world. This event is organised in collaboration with Oslo World and SPACE, Oslo.
IMAGINING THE PAST, WRITING THE FUTURE
Thursday 15 November, 5–7pm
Bouchra Khalili in conversation with Marianne Hultman and Antonio Cataldo
In the past fifteen years, French-Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili has presented artist’s films, video installations, photographs and silkscreen prints suggesting civic platforms for members of political minorities and marginalized groups, articulating subjective positions and collective voice. Khalili’s oeuvre reflects on new forms of thinking civic identity beyond national belonging, where a collective emancipation is organically tight to the power of speech and alternative historiographies, shaping strategies of resistance to arbitrary power. Retold narratives both uncover at missing links, while pointing towards the future for a better understanding and approach to human politics. In this conversation with curators Antonio Cataldo and Marianne Hultman, Khalili will speak about recent works while hinting towards a forthcoming project in development at Fotogalleriet and Oslo Kunstforening, dealing with the complex Scandinavian support to the liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s in a number of African countries.
PUBLISHING FROM A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE
Thursday, 22 November, 5–7pm
Eline Mugaas and Delphine Bedel in conversation with Tine Semb
A radical approach to image-making necessitates exploring the practices of both art pedagogy and exhibition practices as educational technologies. We are made to believe that the history of photography and the history of photo and artists’ books is widely documented, collected, exhibited, and discussed. But if in 2017 magazines, newspaper, social and mass-media floundered with the hashtags #MeToo, #NotSurprised, #IWontKeepQuiet and #TimesUp, not a single publication is dedicated to the history of women artists’ within photo books. Artist, researcher and publisher Delphine Bedel has repeatedly asked the questions, “how can I become a feminist publisher? How can I bring forward a new wave of active yet unspoken feminism and feminist practices?” Together with Norwegian artist Eline Mugaas, these questions will be the departing point to address the practice of their on-going work, as moderated by editor, artist, and organizer Tine Semb. The discussion aims at delineating alternative genealogies of publishing that are contesting patriarchal art historical narratives as well as the need to build counter-images and counter-narratives.
Thursday, 29 November, 5–7pm
Heba Y. Amin in conversation
Egyptian artist Heba Y. Amin grounds her work in extensive research that looks at the convergence of politics, technology, and architecture. Techno-utopian ideas, as manifest in characteristic machines of colonial soft power, are at the heart of Amin’s work. Starting from the idea that landscape is an expression of dominant political power – Heba Y. Amin looks for tactics of subversion and other techniques to undermine consolidated systems and flip historical narratives through a critical spatial practice. Through a discussion of her latest works, Heba Y. Amin will address how photography becomes an act of violence when pointing at bodies and spaces that are distant from us, hence unveiling the vicious, corporate image of politics, and dystopian planning affecting land and people.
SCREAMING FOR SILENCE
Thursday, 13 December, 5–7pm
Maria Pasenau introduced by Elise By Olsen
“The Freedom of Youth / The Youth of Freedom, / What Did We Do? / We Lived, / We Loved, / We Ran, / We Laughed, / We Acted Like Wild Animals, / Animals from the Future, / Dumb, Dumb Youth.” These are words from emerging Norwegian photographer Maria Pasenau, who has developed a unique vocabulary with her stark colour, unfinished pictures portraying generational moments of intimacy, and an hunger to gain space. She gravitates around the fashion world, the performance scene, magazine production and experimental avant-garde collectives, while often turning the camera towards herself to make compositions of bodies and a range of material. All her worlds are concerned with the way images shape our regard for others. In this discussion, for the first time, she will publically read and perform her poetry, a different way of arising images.
THE PLACE OF THE IMAGE, THE SPACE OF THE BODY
Thursday, 10 January 2019
Knut Åsdam in conversation with Simon Sheikh
Through film, installation and photographic work, Knut Åsdam looks at the disturbances created between that which forms contemporary subjectivities, personality and place. His characters exist in the relationship between the material, psychological and political worlds of the city or landscape. They move in and out of language, in and out of belonging, or the gaze. During this talk Åsdam will speak about the image, the physical, and the body in his work. What does the image, specifically the moving, temporal image mean today and how does it relate to the physical space of experience? How do we relate to that which is mentioned but not captured by the image –that is either just outside or in excess of it, or the other elements, like sound, strain or inattention, that interrupts the image but also form part of our experience at the same time? How does this interdependent experience of the image relate to our every-day in the material and political world? Furthermore, addressing the role of the audience and public, Åsdam will talk about what it means to produce images and distribute them within defined spatial configurations, in an attempt to find useful spaces within a politics of spectatorship.
Fotogalleriet is the first Nordic institution dedicated solely to photography as a critical artistic practice. Since its establishment in 1977, Fotogalleriet has, through mediation and exhibitions, acted as a mediator between the national and the international discourse on photography. For several decades Fotogalleriet has been collaborating closely with FFF in the realization of the Spring Exhibition.
As a prelude to the weekly series Let’s Talk about Images on Friday, 14 September 2018, Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator at Tate Modern, held a presentation titled The Sounds of Screens Imploding. The event was organised by Fotogalleriet in collaboration with Kunstnernes Hus and Ultima.
Fotogalleriet is grateful for its continued support from The Arts Council Norway, as well as the Norwegian Photographic Fund and Oslo Municipality. It is also indebted to The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture for their exhibition honorarium pilot programme. Let’s Talk about Images is made possible through additional, generous grants by Fritt Ord Foundation, Oslo, and the Norwegian Photographic Fund. It also benefitted by the kind collaboration of Kunstnernes Hus, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Oslo World Music Festival, and SPACE (Syrian Peace Action Center).