This edition of Blowup will examine the tension between documentary methods and artistic expression, and address where notions of truth and beauty fit in this mix.
Featuring: Lino Hellings (NL), Alfredo Cramerotti (UK) and Gair Dunlop (UK).
Documentary images are a common method to measure and reflect on the monumental scale of change occurring in contemporary society. These images are also highly aestheticised, making beauty even of images of the most desolate slum or industrialised landscape.
As a crossover point between art and journalism, the documentary image also allows us to question the veracity of world events from multiple viewpoints, often offering multiple uncomfortable realities instead of a single, easily-digestible worldview. In an era of a massive data onslaught that individuals struggle to cope with, the documentary image continues to offer us a human face on information, sometimes elegantly summarising a complex situation. But what balance needs to be struck between honest portrayals of reality and artistic license?
Alfredo Cramerotti is a writer, curator, editor, and artist working with TV, radio, publishing, internet, art exhibitions, festivals and curating. He is co-curator (as CPS) of Manifesta 8, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art (Murcia & Cartagena, Spain, 2010-11) and curator at QUAD, Derby’s £11million centre for Art, Media and Film. Cramerotti is also Editor of Critical Photography at Intellect Books, Bristol, UK and Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. He is the Designated Director, MOSTYN, the largest publicly funded contemporary art gallery in Wales.
Gair Dunlop makes artworks which explore entropic Modernism: the New Town, the military airfield, the film archive and the memory of progress. Final results vary from websites to handmade books, lawn drawings to ‘expanded cinema’ events. He uses digital technologies (digital video, archive material, photography and interactive technology) in combination with site-specific practices – with remnants of the technological sublime on site and online. Often in collaboration with Dan Norton (ablab.org), the works investigate and play with different eras of discovery and propaganda. They work together on projects that blend archive, contemporary, and absurdist visions of technology and entropy.
Lino Hellings is a founder of the legendary theater company Dogtroep, which investigated public space in specific locations, as P.A.P.A. does today, though Dogtroep’s purpose was not to make news but spectacle theater. As public spaces in western cities began to look more and more alike (the same kinds of commercial streets with the same stores), Hellings left Dogtroep after seventeen years to focus on the new public space of the Internet. In her net projects, she always endeavored to create a hybrid of physical and virtual space. P.A.P.A. focuses on the rediscovery of local physical space, from the globalized perspective that the Internet makes possible.