Auratic translations

 

PeltzGallerytwoplatesPart of my PHD show at the Peltz Gallery, Birbkeck School of Art. Deconstructing the disappearing landscape and reshaping it. Installation views of some of the iterations of my thesis on the translation of forms from analogue to digital. For a read through my thoughts here is the abstract:

ABSTRACT

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This research is centred on the notion of landscape as a construct of marginal and multiple dialogues. It is a project that originates from a rediscovered family album of (fading and yellowing) photographs of the Latin American landscape at the turn of the 20th century. In particular a set of photographs that centre on the Paraná River in Argentina, a place where myth, recent history in the form of narratives of the Desaparecidos (those ‘disappeared’ by the military junta 1976-1983) and memory collide. An early analogue photograph of the river has sparked a series of creative interventions that explore the interstices between photography and printmaking, fragmenting the initial image in order to create new hybrid photographic prints using photo-etching and photo-transfer processes, projections. The return of the material to the flat surface of the digital is of critical concern, as the ‘uncanny’ surface is turned into a haptic object more in keeping with printmaking practices and early pictorial photographs. This leads to questions about the pictorial outcomes of these experiments, their affective resonance and the enactment of the hand-made, where touch and ‘noise’ return to the surface of the print as a resistance and response to discourses of acceleration and reproduction, remembering and forgetting. The theoretical and practical methodology is cyclical, and the multiplicity of layers of discourse appears both in the printed multiple and in the multiple voices I use to discuss the project in writing. The research is timely, as digital practices and the internet continue to accelerate the dissemination of the networked image, and speed up our relationship to photographs and prints, I aim to slow them down, in order to discover what is lost or gained in the process, both in practical and theoretical terms. In the ruin of the analogue photographs I use, therefore, a new ruination and expansion of the surface occurs as I develop my photographic plates at the site of the river Paraná itself. In the encounter with the landscape, the forensic traces of Argentina’s political disappeared (now part of an ongoing forensic anthropological investigation at sites along the Paraná) create latent marks on their surface and these invisible fragments serve to embed disruptive historical narratives into the process of making itself, as the river becomes the site of convergence. These geographical and metaphorical bodies of water that have been distorted, disappeared and ‘ruined’ (both by a history of dictatorship cover ups and photographic memory) are able to reappear as latent and liminal image-objects in an open ended encounter with multiple narratives of the river.

 aerialparana

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By victoriaahrens

My work is concerned with auratic translations, interpretation and fiction in our encounters with the landscape. I use photographic installations, projections and print editions to explore notions of the politics of place, resistance and ruin. I am interested in the spaces between what we know and what we think we know about the world, and have investigated these ideas in a series of installations and prints over the last few years.