Over recent months I’ve been working with composer Camilo Mendez San Juan in a collaborative project conceived by London-based music initiative new dots, exploring the concept of place. We've been tasked to create a piece in music and photography, to be performed alongside works by other composers and photographers on Saturday 16th April at the Warehouse, Waterloo.
The place Camilo and I chose as inspiration for our project on is a local house clearance and antiques centre, Perry Hill Antiques, and we'll be writing later this week about our collaboration on new dots' blog.
Aside from the concept itself, though, the project has presented me with an interesting new challenge: how to present my photographs so that they can be experienced by the audience alongside Camilo’s music. It's the first time I've worked with photography as performance - and it's very different from a conventional exhibition! When Camilo and I first met to discuss the project, we agreed that we didn’t want to have the images projected, and talked about the idea of presenting them as a series of “postcards” which could be experienced in different orders, almost as if being shuffled or picked out at random rather than in a linear progression, in the same way as the “spaces” of Camilo’s music can be performed in any order. I've recently been thinking about how our experience of seeing (and feeling) images in print is still so important in an age where images are so readily viewed on screen, and have been experimenting with printing my pictures on a variety of different papers, seeing how the end result differs. So I knew that I wanted to have my images viewed as prints, ideally on a variety of paper finishes, creating an experience that goes beyond the visual to the tactile.
Having decided to show prints, however, I’ve also been grappling with how to enable the audience to view prints in a space that's set up for listening to music. (This of course is the benefit of projecting images at the front of the stage - it would probably be more straightforward!) The venue doesn't have wall space for hanging pictures (one wall is filled with windows, another with acoustic panels), and even if there were space to hang pictures, would people be able to see them from their forward-facing seats? So I came up with the idea of suspending loose prints at different heights from wire from the venue's ceiling beams and balcony - the idea is that they'll rotate, allowing audience members to see different aspects and angles of the images throughout the performance. So - on 16th April, I'll arrive at the venue early in the day armed with several reels of fishing wire, clips, a wire mobile, a bunch of vintage wooden hangers, and a box full of prints. Why don't you come along to see how it all works in practice? (I'm hoping it will be just as it is in my mind's eye - time will tell!) Tickets are available here.