Reading in May
I feel that my direction is heading towards bringing together several strands that I have been working on since the start of the MA and aiming for an exhibition of my FMP work.
What We Leave Behind by Stephen Crasneanscki
This is an amazing book. You can watch a recording of the book here on Vimeo
“Subsequent to a commissioned sound composition for Deutschlandradio, multidisciplinary artist Stéphan Crasneanscki (b. 1969, French) further examines his significant opus What We Leave Behind, on French film director Jean-Luc Godard’s archive, into book form. The book is divided into four comprehensive sections: boxes, collages, still lifes and notes.”
Fig. 1. Crasneanscki, 2021. Image from the website and within the book.
A life in boxes. The archive of someone. Photographed. Recorded. Presented. The book is divided into 4 sections and there is a forward by Patti Smith, a conversation with Abel Ferrara and an Essay by Antonie de Baecque.
“It is a generous glimpse, not of a completed work, but an unfolding mind” (Smith, 9)
“Every box disclosed a new story, a new world… At first, they appeared haphazardly arranged, but when I started to open them, I began to see an order.” (Crasneanscki, 67)
“you have to stay on the surface of things; you cannot penetrate the box as you would the intimacy of a life. It’s an observation, a trace: box #1, box #2, box #3… box #43” (Baecque, 131).
You can’t delve in deep with this book. You can only look from above and take in what you see, and I like this thought.
The Parameters of Our Cage by C. Fausto Cabrera & Alec Soth
This book is a joy to read.
“In January 2020, Alec Soth received a letter from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City. The letter came from Christopher Fausto Cabrera, an inmate at the prison, and self-taught writer and artist. A nine-month-long correspondence between the two followed suit, which forms a new book titled The Parameters of Our Cage” (Soth, 2021)
The book takes the name from a moment in one of the letters. “Whether enforced by nature — biologic or social, tangible or abstract, we all confront the parameters of our cage eventually. What we do when we reach those bars helps define us, huh.” (Cabrera & Soth, 17).
There are unique revelations in this conversation as both examine the language and references to communicate.
“Photography is a tool for me to explore the world while always preserving a certain amount of distance.” (Wilson, 2021)
“But surviving a harsh environment shouldn’t be the definition of justice. We must actively seek to do more, to be more. We are from dark places but refuse to give up on ourselves. Through the arts, creative writing, education and restorative justice, we have set up a roadmap to what redemption could look like.” (O’Hagen, 2020)
An Interview with Lewis Baltz
This is an interesting book and I really connect with a lot of what Baltz is saying.
“In 1972, as his career was beginning to take off, Lewis Baltz conducted a revealing interview, his first considered statement about photography” (Forbes, 2020)
“Baltz sees photography as ‘an art of content,’ with a strong documentary’ connection to the world. Neither form not content are privileged, but rather mediate an implicit tension, as he puts it, “between an inert, black and white, two-dimensional object, and an event that actually existed in the phenomenal world.” (Forbes, 54 (estimated as pages are unnumbered))
This is a great talk at Tate Modern that illuminates my interest in practice.
LIBRARYMAN.SE, 2021. Stéphan Crasneanscki — What We Leave Behind — Libraryman. [online] Available at: <https://www.libraryman.se/stephan-crasneanscki-what-we-leave-behind/> [Accessed 30 May 2021].
CABRERA, C. and SOUTH, A., 2020. The parameters of our cage. 1st ed. Mack.
FORBES, D., 2020. An Interview with Lewis Baltz. 1st ed. Germany: Mack.
O’HAGAN, S., 2020. ‘A roadmap to redemption’: how a photographer helped a prisoner see beyond his cage. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/oct/29/a-roadmap-to-redemption-how-a-photographer-helped-a-prisoner-see-beyond-his-cage> [Accessed 30 May 2021].
SOTH, A., 2021. The Parameters of Our Cage – Alec Soth | Magnum Photos. [online] Magnum Photos. Available at: <https://www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/parameters-of-our-cage-alec-soth-fausto-cabrera/> [Accessed 30 May 2021].
WILSON, J., 2020. C. Fausto Cabrera & Alec Soth – The Parameters of Our Cage – Paper Journal. [online] Paper Journal. Available at: <https://paper-journal.com/c-fausto-cabrera-alec-soth-the-parameters-of-our-cage/> [Accessed 30 May 2021].