The 2016 Shimmer Photographic Biennale will take place in the City of Onkaparinga in Adelaide, South Australia between 2 September and 2 October. Shimmer at the Magpie Springs gallery is Weltraum.
Weltraum itself refers to world (Welt) and space (Raum). Literally translated it means ‘world room’. As an photo-based exhibition Weltraum refers to worlds or spaces waiting to be explored and opened up by Australian photo artists. The exhibiting photo-artists in Weltraum are Judith Crispin, Jeff Moorfoot, Stuart Murdoch, Gilbert Roe, Gary Sauer-Thompson and Beverley Southcott.
The curatorial idea behind Weltraum is based around photo-media artists working on long term projects over a couple of years. This slow photography develops critical and poetic insights. The exhibition presents some work in progress from 6 projects, some of which includes lens-based film based photography.
The image below is a behind the camera shoot of Gary Sauer-Thompson photoshoot along the Mallee Highway for his silo project. Several images from this project —in black and white and colour— will be featured in Weltraum:
silo, Galah, Mallee, Victoria
Philosophically speaking the curatorial idea underpinning the work in progress of long term projects is that of a qualitative multiplicity. Multiplicity originates from a folding or twisting of simple elements. Like a sand dune, a multiplicity is in constant flux, though it attains some consistency for a short or long duration. Qualitative multiplicities differ in kind from one another, and their porous boundaries suggests ways in which things creatively evolve to form new and surprising assemblages. Qualitative multiplicities are associated with poetics, painting, writing etc. Continue Reading…
When I look back on my recent road trip to Ballarat, and viewing the various Core and Fringe exhibitions at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale 2015 (BIFB 15), what stands out for me is both my disappointment in a lot of the work exhibited in the Biennale’s Core, and my pleasure in beginning to scope the silo project.
I found that most of the work in the core programme, with a couple of exceptions (the work of Stephen DuPont and Jane Long’s Dancing with Costica) was over-produced in the sense of being overworked and almost candy like. Was it the heavy hand of commercial work that influenced the style of the work in the exhibitions? There were a large number of commercial photographers doing art photography at the Biennale –and the imagery was generally oversaturated, the colour hyped and the subject matter over-lit. An example of this over-processing is the Phillip Island: A Visual Memory’ by the Melbourne photographer Richard Millot. Surprisingly this work was done in the late 1980s using film technology.
Or is this hyper-reality a house-style of the contemporary photographic biennale’s these days? There is a growing trend in photography towards this kind of imagery. A good example was Pang Xiangliang’s Drilling Workers at the Daqing oilfield in China that was exhibited at the Trades Hall. The content was very powerful–some were stunning— but this was undercut by the way the images had been post processed. They were over-sharpened, and processed with what looked like HDR. The subject matter did not need this kind of post-processing, which sapped the life out of the images. Like others, I also found that the extra level of detail in tones that HDR creates for a digital visual file to be visually distracting. The overall effect this post-processing caused was that I bounced out of the images rather than went inside them. I just gave looking closely at all the images and looked at the photographic books instead.
The biennale is novel kind of cultural space, which has established itself beyond the university, but also largely outside of the art gallery. It presents itself as global, transnational and transcultural, thus claiming a universalist model of the exhibition and it gives the pivotal place to the curator for the exhibition. The Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB), is now a member of both the Asia-Pacific PhotoForum and the world-wide photography festival grouping, the Festival de la Luz (Festival of Light). However, I haven’t seen much analysis of exhibitions in Biennales in connection with other exhibitions in Biennales—each Biennale tends to be treated singularly, as I am doing here.
silo, Talem Bend
Prior to seeing the core programme of the Biennale I was tossing up whether to do the silo project in colour using a 5×7 monorail or in black and white using an 8×10 Cambo. My experience of viewing the Biennale’s exhibitions has persuaded me to decide to do the silo project in black and white rather than colour, as the silos in colour in the early morning or late afternoon would look too candy like (too picture post cardy).