Category Archives: Curiosities

Summer Special: Meet the Captain.

As a special delight for the hot season, we are happy to serve you a freshly squeezed summer cocktail on deck, with the Captain of this vessel. Please enjoy

“Moritz Neumüller in conversation with Inanna Riccardi” 

An in-depth and yet easy-going interview conducted by the Italian researcher Inanna Riccardi with curator, educator and writer Moritz Neumüller, on museums in the age of participation, the relationship of photography with visual culture, and the role of technology for making art more accessible to all.

 

 

Inanna Riccardi: From looking at your website and onthe internet, one gets the impression that your career has involved a lot of Do-it-yourself initiatives. How would you describe this process?

 

I am trained as an art historian, I studied Art History and then Economics in two different universities and am specialized in photography, which happened almost by chance. People quite often ask if I’m a photographer, but I’m not!

 

I think this is because, until recently, there was no photographic education apart from becoming a photographer, so photographers turned their professionalskills to curatorship or as experts working within the museum world. In my case, I had to cultivate my interest in photography mostly through self-study. That started with me being a research assistant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was during my PhD studies, and I spent one day per week in the photo department. During my time there I learnt a lot! They offered me a job afterwards but I decided to go back to Austria to finish my PhD, hoping to be able to work at MoMA later on.

 

IR: MoMA is definitely a great place to learn, but then9/11 happened. How did it affect your progress?

 

Going back to New York wasn’t really an option anymore: MoMA relies heavily on private donations andafter 9/11 these donations decreased, partly because everybody donated to the firemen. That meant that the museum had to lay off part of their staff, and the foreigners were the first ones to go. I therefore had to re-think my plans for the future.

I had always wanted to see Cuba before it changed and I always wanted to go there not as a tourist but to live. So I got in touch with the photographic museum, the FotoTeca, and proposed a project about Afro-Cuban culture and heritage, in particular Santeria.

 

IR: That’s a very anthropological topic, funnily enoughsuggested by an outsider. Was it the first time someone suggested the topic?

 

Yes, in fact there had never been a photographic exhibition about Santeria. That was due to political reasons: for many years religious practices were forbidden or not really looked at, while photography had a very important social and political role, as a sort of‘propaganda’. Photographs were used to show the achievements of the government and the new revolutionary state.

My first curatorial project, as you said, was only half on photography and the other half was on anthropology. I therefore asked my cousin, who is an anthropologist and filmmaker, to help me. As a result of this collaboration we created a documentary film and a book. That was kind of a big project for someone who had just started! But everything I learnt was by doing, by finding out for myself. I made a lot of mistakes and I asked for help a lot.

 

 

 

IR: So Latin American photography seems to have drawn you to live in Spain…

 

In a way, I guess you are right. After that experience, I found myself in Madrid, and by chance I started working on an exhibition on Latin American photography.

We worked on this project for a year. It was shown in Barcelona and Madrid at the same time and that was interesting for me, I think it was the first time I’d heard that one exhibition could be shown in two places. Only afterwards did I find out that the “Family of Man” exhibition did the same thing in the 50s and 60s. Then I worked at Photo España, Spanish’s bigger photo festival. After that I moved to Barcelona, ten years ago, and I have been working as a freelancer since then.

In recent years I have been specializing in photobooks and my other field of specialization is accessibility to art.

 

IR: It’s interesting that you mention accessibility, in a world where inequality and the subsequent access to resources is discussed. How can museums and art institutions in general switch the static power relationship among the audience and create more equal conditions?  

 

Historically museums have fostered a sort of devotion and reverence towards the artwork and the artists. If we think about the structure of the building, most museums are located at the top of steps, they resemble Roman and Greek temples, so the audience has to climb up to the altar to worship the artworks.

However, I think museums should be generating new practices for looking at society. In this regard, big institutions such MoMA have been pioneers.

I was working at MoMA when I saw, for the first time, a tour for blind people, which consisted in them touching some sculptures. Everyone in the group of participants had a smile from ear to ear, they felt that they were part of the art.

That made a big impression on me and influenced my way of working.

Within this context digital developments can help museums to open their doors and become more inclusive.

I am thinking of Smartify, for example, which is an app that uses image recognition to retrieve information about the artwork.

 

IR: Technology, at its extreme, seems, in some museums, to have become the only alternative to the accepted way of exhibiting. I refer to the increasing attention given toVirtual Reality. However, I believe that there is the need for creating more inclusive practices for curating, which take into account different perceptions and experiences of the world and value them, maybe to the point of generating ad hoc projects for specific target groups.

 

I investigate these alternatives with “ArteConTacto”(which can be translated as Art with Touch, or Art Contact), a project and a platform which aims at providing a sensorial experience of the art by using allthe senses like touch, hearing… The idea that lies behind it is to make art accessible to everybody!

“ArteConTacto” adapts exhibitions for people who are normally excluded from the art. The strategy is to include fragile or excluded groups from day one, by using technology to our advantage, to bridge the gaps between the material and the audience.

In 2009 I used 3D printing and tactile materials for the first time as a tool to adapt an exhibition for blind people. One piece we adapted was an untitled photograph by Lotte Hendrich-Hassmann from 1982, which was taken during a performance. The picture represents the artist covered by some sort of cloth, which is wrapped all around the body. We made a full-body scan of a person in the same posture and had it printed at the Technological University of Vienna, in a 3D sculpture of approx. 30 cm high. In this way the blind could actually touch the piece. The most interesting part was taking something out of the frame and placing it in the space so people could use it.

 

IR: Have you have tried to work outside the European context?

 

In Tunisia I did another interesting project: I contacted people from the association for the blind and asked them,what would you like to see, if you could see? And some people said a certain building in the city, someone said a plane, someone else said a mosque. I asked them if they knew how to get to these places, and they said yes, more or less. I asked them if they had ever had a tactile map of the city, and since they had never had one I created it for them. I took a map of the city, glued it to a board and made the big streets with transparent glue. I gave it to them and they had the first tactile plan of the city.

One of the participants said he wanted to visit the football stadium, so we went there. He walked to the goal because he was very interested in experiencing the distance between the penalty spot and the goal he knew about it and wanted to experience it for himself. We produced models of the buildings they were interested in. We went to the shoemaker at the bazar and we designed the airplane, for example, on the rubber material he uses for making sandals. Then we placed the cut out on a board. The process was similar for the mosque and other important buildings.

Back at home, we also made a tactile photograph of one of the other buildings and sent it to Tunisia. It was exhibited and then donated to blind’s association.

 

IR: Being an Austrian living in Barcelona and working within the European and extra-European contexts, you could be seen as a good example of the embodiment of different cultures and different ways of working. Howdoes this personal aspect play a role in your practice as a curator?

 

I think art is a very culturally framed concept. For example, a huge part of the population has a different opinion about what art should be compared to people who work within the field. I am referring to cultural products, which can be considered points of interest or tools of interaction for and with somebody.

 

IR: It seems that you particularly enjoy working with and for blind people, who have a completely different understanding of and approach to art…

 

They are an interesting case study from my perspective: I was trained as a visual person in visual culture, but they do not have access to that aspect, so there is a big gap.

In addition I go to museums all the time, since it is partof my job, so it’s also partly a duty for me.

Blind people, instead, are generally afraid to go to museums because they feel they do not belong there, that there is nothing for them, that they will feel stupid.

I am interested in the art and its story, while blind people are generally interested in many aspects of an art experience, such as the materiality of sculpture, or the exhibition space itself, or the way you are able to communicate the story around, behind or about an artwork. They also spend longer time experiencing each artwork compared to the general public.

 

IR: They experience art in a pre-consumer society way, so we can we can learn a lot from their way of approaching art.

 

That’s the reason why I’m so interested in “special” target groups. My projects are always a give and take, learn and teach. And as a by-product, everybody experiences something new and they enjoy themselvesthrough art.

 

IR: Art for everybody, without simplification and reduction, is an aspiration that many institutions have. At the same time we see a more impatient and fragmented young generation, in which smartphones are playing a crucial role in connecting them to others who are physically distant but with whom they share similar interests.

 

I see technology and its use, mostly among youngsters,as an opportunity to invite people in and get more out of the art, instead of obstructing the art experience.

It’s all about how to use what’s out there, and how to navigate the generational changes in an efficient way for museums.

For example, the younger generation also has a tendency not to listen during guided tours in the museum, but they listen to their phones and they look at their phones, so if you have the chance to use that technology you can reach those were previously unreachable.

I think technology can be used to open the cultural field and reach new audiences.

 

IR: However, you must admit that technology also has a negative side, like cinemas loosing their audience because of Netflix.

 

That’s true but we can’t stop time, meaning technological progress. However, these people are still looking at something that can be considered a cultural product.

That opens the discussion about what and how products become cultural and where the line is that marks that difference. If we include these other new cultural products in the pallet of things that you can do, engage with, then culture has not lost anyone. People are now becoming DJs and VJs for their own homes, their community, their followers, and they are much more active in that sense than people who grew up with unidirectional mass media such as TV. Maybe younger generations are even more engaged, more educated, more adult users of technology and cultural products.

 

IR: Another excluded target group is the elderly, who probably have difficulties relating to technology and might be more interested in conventional exhibitions. How can technology tackle these issues?

 

Technology applied to generate tactile reliefs and 3Dprinting are definitely big resources for including this group. With age, most people begin losing their senses, and have impaired vision, so they can only see somethings. Therefore, multi-sensorial experiences, which include for example listening to a story, are an interesting way of including this audience.

At the same time, they do not need to understand the technological process behind the experience.  

Moreover, I see this group as a source of inspiration: they love to tell stories, for example about the war they foughtin, an experience which many of us haven’t had. In that way they can still relate to and meet our art experience with their experience.

 

IR: Talking about technology as a tool of inclusion rather than exclusion, the internet has definitely created a revolutionary way of gathering information, and has brought part of our world closer. How have you used this potential in your practice?

 

In 2010 I created The Curator Ship”, which was generated out of necessity to filter and share information that reached me about opportunities for artists and curators.

I used to get a lot of emails about grants, residencies, exhibition proposals, portfolio reviews, calls for participation, and so on, which I forwarded to the people in my network who I thought might be interested in them.

But it came to a point where it took up too much of my time, so I decided to put it on a website so that everybody knows what I know.

 

I filter what I receive by email and I select what I find interesting enough for me. Moreover, when the initiative is open for international applicants but in only in one language, I translate it and put it up there as the call: here is the summary in English and the description, and it says it’s open so you can apply just by running it through Google translate.

Then people can apply, it doesn’t say anywhere it has to be in a certain language, so just send your stuff in English. I guess I have in this way opened many opportunities for the international public.

 

IR: It seems to me that you are a many-faceted professional within the art scene, who tries to learn everything he can and wears several hats! Where and how is your energy mostly used these days?  

 

My contribution is that I know nearly nothing about everything, and I’ve always tried to be the one in the room who knows the least so I can learn the most.

You cannot really get famous with that kind of thing, you get more famous and wealthy if you do one thing and you do it really well. But I am happily accepting this. Whenever I’ve had too much of something I’ve backed out and done something else, or tried to do many things at the same time.

 

I work with some mediums that interest me a lot: performance, video, photography, photobooks, filmmaking, documentary. I think that what they have in common is this strange relationship to the world outside, if you want to call it the real world, even if these days it’s becoming more and more unreal and surreal. But these kinds of reflections on the world, on themes that surround us, in this kind of dialogue with what is going on out there, is what interests me, when I curate, when I teach, when I write and when I do projects!

This interview was performed via skype on 22.11.2018

 

Job at Operation Earnest Voice, TPG, London

Operation Earnest Voice

10th – 13th January, 2019 at The Photographers’ Gallery

First Mission: Reverse Brexit

Operation Earnest Voice is a propaganda office that will be hosted on the third floor of The Photographers’ Gallery in central London from 10th – 13th January 2019, accessible to both Gallery visitors and a live online audience. The first mission of the fully staffed and operational office is to reverse Brexit.

Operation Earnest Voice takes its name from a US sponsored campaign with the same name, whose purpose is to spread pro-American propaganda on social networking sites, by relying on sockpuppets (an online identity used for the purpose of deception), to among many things comment and derail online conversations, with the goal of influencing and swaying the public opinion. The propaganda office Operation Earnest Voice will use the same and similar tools and strategies to influence the public.

A group of 12 office workers will be hired for their expertise, ranging from copy writers, image/meme makers, to programmers and social media strategists. Between the 10th and 13th of January, the 12 workers come together to work with one political goal in mind, to collaboratively develop a media narrative / campaign to reverse Brexit by using a wide range of tactics to manipulate the public opinion, and create new narratives that aim to disrupt the current political debate.

Apply for a job at Operation Earnest Voice

Operation Earnest Voice is currently hiring for the Reverse Brexit Campaign. We’re looking for anyone with the right mindset/idea, but in particular people with any of these skills:

  • Copywriters
  • Creatives
  • Designers
  • Hackers
  • Social media managers
  • Photographers
  • Programmers
  • Trolls
  • Videographers
  • Meme-makers
  • Black hat marketing
  • Journalists
  • Social media experts
  • Viral Marketing Pro
  • Image-makers
  • Politicians
  • Celebrities
  • Cambridge Analytica Employees
  • Political Campaign experts

Details

Location: The Photographers’ Gallery, Soho, London
Dates: 10th – 13th January, 2019
Working Hours: 10:00 – 18:00
Salary: £125 / day

Apply here

The Too Tired Project. A dialogue about mental health and art.

Tara Wray’s photobook, Too Tired for Sunshine (Yoffy Press, July 2018), confronts depression by documenting the beauty, darkness, and absurdity of everyday life, and it’s the inspiration for the Too Tired Project.

If you use photography in a similar way, we hope you will share your work with us. We want to continue a dialogue about mental health and art.

To submit to this ongoing curated series of photographs just tag #tootiredproject and @tootiredproject on Instagram.

We’ll post a few favorites on the site and aim to select the most captivating of those images for a photobook anthology to be published by Yoffy Press (timing TBD).

You may also submit to the Too Tired Project by sending up to 3 images to info@tootiredproject.com.

▪ All images should be sized at 1200px on the longest side, at 72dpi, sRGB, jpeg format.
▪ Label the files with your name and numeration. (Example: firstname_lastname_1.jpg).

tootiredproject.com

DARK SKIES/BLUE SKIES CALL FOR PROPOSALS. Deadline: March 26, 2018

The project will see high-quality photographic artists working with community members to imagine and give creative form to future-facing aspirations through publicly sited artworks and/or publications. The project is inspired by the creative and scientific desire to explore the world and understand our place in it, and by the wish to imaginatively explore the future. We are particularly keen to receive innovative proposals that fuse currents of creativity shared by science, technology and photography. Proposals could incorporate a journey through early traditional photographic process as a means to record and imagine the world (photo-grams, cyanotypes, stereo-grams) as well as contemporary photographic technologies such as mobile phones with which we share and communicate our lived experiences.

Dates: May 2018 – November 2018 (7 months), with the final public event/s in November 2018

Fees: The Lead Artist/Organisation fee for this commission is up to £25,000 (expected to be at least 70 days, inclusive of VAT and all expenses (travel/accommodation)).

Call for proposals

More information:  http://www.northeastphoto.net

Photobook Blogs

Olga Yatskevich has put together a list of blogs/pages on photography books (in no particular order) on her blog http://photolia.tumblr.com.

Great work!

Tumblr

blog.8hbooks
The Angry Bat
The New Frame
Library of the Pinted Web
Conveyor Arts
Photobook Club Tokyo (in Japanese)
Claxton Projects
One Year of Photobooks
Eye Curious Books 
The Book Studio
Lost in Publications
Broken Spine
Books Are Nice!
Contemporary Japanese Photobooks
Spaces Corners
Little Brown Mushroom
On Almost Every Topic
bdp
A shimmer of books (in French)
Miedzy wierszami (in Polish)

Word Press

who needs another photo blog
this is a photobook
(in Russian)
Propaganda Books
The Photobook
Colin Pantall’s Blog
The Logging Road
microcord
Poursuite (in French)
Cuatro Cuerpos (in Spanish)

Other 

Matthew Greenburgh
Collector Daily
Achtung Photography
Der Grief
Faraway Eyes
 
on photobooks and books
(by josef chladek)
Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive
Arts & Sciences Projects
ICP Blog

The Photo Book Club
Indie Photobook Library
Claxton Project
Dutch Blog on Photobooks
Eye Curious
On Japanese Photobooks
Have a nice Book! (video)
A Photo Editor
Conscientious
Shane Lavalette
The Digital Photobook
Mrs Deane
Errata Editions
Photo-eye blog
Flak Photo Books
Adam Bell
The Independent Photobook
Rare Autumn
Atsushi Saito Blog (in Japanese)
American Suburb X
A Japanese Book
Goliga
25 books
GUP Magazine
Japan Photo
De livres and des photos (in French)
748 on Japanese Books (in French)
200 Days, 200 Photo Books (in German & English)

Repost – The Photographer’s Guide to Instagram Hashtags

Check out The Photographer’s Guide to Instagram Hashtags from PhotoShelter and Feature Shoot. An interesting survey with good tips.

I copied some of their conclusions here. You can download the full guide at photoshelter.com

We’ve seen that editors do use
hashtags to find new work, and regularly seek
new emerging talents via popular and niche
Instagram feature pages. Many photographers have been
hired, sent on assignments or sold prints due to Instagram
publicity, and there are many images which have the
potential to get this kind of attention if promoted well.
Across the board it seems that feature page curators, inundated
with new submissions every day, often judge images
based on the thumbnail—so this must be striking. A
combination of both submittable and searchable hashtags
does help you get more exposure, as both have their audiences.
Feature page curators also appreciate hashtags that
provide extra information about an image, for instance
those which communicate the camera used, the format,
the location. Many also explicitly ask for geolocation.
Below are a few further reflections on how to continue to
promote your photography using hashtags on Instagram.
How many hashtags should I use and
where should I put them?

While Instagram sets a 30-hashtag limit, most photographers
don’t adhere to this. Too many hashtags
can overwhelm users and discourage them from
checking out the rest of your profile. For this reason,
photographers who have already established large followers
tend not to use any. But you will want to use
hashtags if you’re still growing an audience and want
to draw interest beyond your existing followers. Some
photographers opt to include hashtags at the end of
the caption, is there is one, and sometimes these can
be divided by a “//“ for clarity. For aesthetic preferences, others put this information below the image as a
first comment. Either way, it will help your photograph
reach new people.

Hashtags to avoid
It is advisable to steer clear of spammy hashtags such as
#follow4follow which might get you followers, though
are likely to deter photo editors, fellow photographers
and photography enthusiasts.
Larger vs smaller submittable feature pages
This is really your call. Feature pages with larger followings
will without a doubt get you more exposure
should your photograph be selected, though these are
also more competitive due to the high number of submissions.
Smaller feature pages with a niche interest are
less competitive and may be worth applying to if they
have a particular aesthetic which you like, or if there
are editors or writers among their followers. To increase
your chances of gaining exposure, it pays to use hashtags
from a variety of feature pages, big or small.

How to find new Instagram hashtags
With time, some submittable hashtags become too
competitive, cease activity or have a change in artistic
direction. Fortunately it is always possible to find new
hashtags. Scouring the profiles of Instagram influencers,
photographers whose profiles are increasingly popular
or seeing who editors are following can help you discover
new feature pages. There are new ones cropping up all
the time. Some searchable hashtags become too overloaded
with spam and so sometimes it is worth playing with words to find new hashtags which still appeal to
people working within the medium and/or genre.
A note on the future of hashtags
That last point brings us onto another question; if
some searchable hashtags are becoming saturated with
spam or unrelated photographs, what is the future of
hashtags? It can be frustrating to search for what you
want via Instagram only to find images that are completely
irrelevant. More and more, editors and writers
are turning to submittable feature pages to get a curated
selection of photographs that have been qualitychecked.
Whether the hashtag method of submission
is sustainable, or more feature pages turn to email submission
is at this point unclear.

Final words
Beyond your use of hashtags, it is important to have
a consistent, quality feed, post regularly, and have an
interesting profile to keep your followers interested.
Architect and architectural photographer Jeroen van
Dam has been featured by big hubs, though has found
that what is most important for him is interacting
with other people on Instagram. “In that way they
are more likely to comment back and start following
you” he emphasizes. People who like your style and
are interested in the stories you have to tell will keep
checking up on you. Instagram is at times a reciprocal
platform—new followers are more likely to find your
page if you regularly engage with others, be it by liking
or commenting on their images.
Once you’re satisfied with the number of followers or
interest you can always opt to drop hashtags to get the
cleaner look that Instagram influencers usually go for.
Instagram is fun, and can also be a powerful tool for
promoting your photography.

Black Mountain School. Open call Residency

Black Mountain School, is an experiment in education and community in the spirit of Black Mountain College, the residence was open in May 2016. The new school, which has been founded by two North Carolina artists, is inspired by Black Mountain College, where Fuller was a key faculty member.

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Mountain-College-Experiment-Press/dp/0262518457

Black Mountain School cites extreme tuition costs, corporatized profit-driven learning, and a one-size-fits-all curriculum as the reasons to resurrect a school that embodies the principles that governed Black Mountain College. The initial two summer sessions will each offer 22 classes and run for two weeks. Reviving the same communal lifestyle at Black Mountain College, thirty instructors will live, work, and create with the students.

Classes at the school range from theoretical and text-based to hands-on and outdoors. There are no academic prerequisites for enrolling as a student, and those participating will also have the opportunity to teach if so desired. Students and guest lecturers at BMS are young and old, and come from within institutions (such as Wendy Woon from the Museum of Modern Art) and outside of them. Drawing on the original Black Mountain College, students help with different administrative tasks, while staff are free to take classes.

CLASS STRUCTURE:

When it came time to develop a framework for the curriculum at the Black Mountain School, it quickly became apparent that a flexible approach would be needed to encompass the full spectrum of learning opportunities we wanted the school to provide. The solution was to adopt a multi-tiered curriculum in which class structure varies depending on the nature of the class and the goals of both teachers and learners. Fittingly, it was nature that provided a template in the form of the four principle states of matter:

Solid courses are fixed in nature and emphasize the acquisition of concrete skills. As such Solid courses are most like conventional classes with set schedules and a sequential approach to learning. Because of these traits, Solid courses will likely require an established class roster with regular attendance.
Liquid courses are a combination of structured and self-directed learning. While Liquid courses still emphasize the roles of teacher and student, both parties are empowered (and encouraged) to collaborate with each other in defining the scope and scale of the class experience. Liquid courses are not restricted to a specific duration or roster, they take on whatever form the collective will of the class dictates.

Gas courses are experimental, free form, and student-driven learning experiences. Unlike Solid and Liquid courses, Gas courses derive their structure entirely from students, empowering them to assume the role of experts and educators on any topics or ideas they are interested in exploring. A Gas course can be a recurring activity or an impromptu event, it can be a skill-based workshop or a forum of equals.

Plasma courses are intensive, experiential, and event-based learning experiences that are intended to punctuate the Black Mountain School curriculum. Singular in nature, Plasma courses provide unique opportunities for both teachers and students to share and explore through a broad range of performances, workshops, and events.

STAFF:

Velveteen
Dylan Thadani
Anson Cyr
Amanda Wong
Rails
John Fleissner
Shea Cote
Cordelia Alquist
Ginny Benson
David Yanofsky
Faythe Levine

STUDENTS TUTITION

The cost to attend Black Mountain School is $1,600 for four weeks or $800 for two weeks. 

LET YOUR SPIRIT FREE, AND VISIT THE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION:

http://www.blackmountainschool.com/


 

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