It’s a project that aims to combine the world of augmented reality, QR-codes, data visualization and the art of reading on your standard silicon devices (computer with cam) and ‘new born friendz’ such as iPad, iPhone or Android phone.
Dziga Vertov‘s The Man with the Movie Camera with the 2003 Cinematic Orchestra synonymous soundtrack for today’s electro-jazzy downtempo mood… Ninja Tune‘s Cinematic Orchestra in their moment that’s for sure…
You know, people usually associate lomography either to fancy wannabe very very cool persons (mostly working as copywriters at the marketing department in a big corporation) or perceive it with geeks who spent their free time cruising through flee markets or online auctions for some toy camera, with a very special sparkle in their eyes.
Well, I’m definitely not in the first category, but partly in the second. I’m not a geek… no chance for getting me into a social role, sorry… I’m just too passionate to that strange CLICK! when you pull down the trigger thinking what will come out later… cause, with plastic, you never know.
Oh, you absolutely know that thingz will turn out in a way to route your career more toward abstract photography.
Well, thanks to many creative people around the globe taking pictures with cheap plastic cameras can be used in a more prolific way.
As a member of the passionate Lomo-community I was deeply touched last year when I’ve found at the portal, which is hosted by the Lomographic Society in Vienna, a project called Culture_on_Tour. The project was initiated by the local art community in Novi Sad (Serbia) and supported by the Austrian Organization Lighthouse Centre.Culture_on_Tour has involved together Roma and non-Roma groups of teenagers and young people; youth marked as minorities: Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, Romanian, Ruthenian, Croatian, German; and Serbian high school pupils as a majority. They worked together for several weeks taking pictures with lomo-cams, sharing and discussing serius problems from completely different points of view.
Amazing… because, these young people of totally different destinies ordinarily would never meet in their lives, but a small plastic crappy camera joint them together… at least, only for five weeks…
Of course, this idea is definitely not a NEW thing at the art / educational horizont… many profesional photographers use it for decades as a part of educational or rehab programmes when working with juniors, seniors, convicts, addicts etc… just name it …
But what took me closer to that particular project was this performative aspect which could be seen at the photos taken in the Roma village… cause, every Roma is a performer itself… Roma could be sad and happy at the same time… Only Roma women can work completely concentrated and focused surrounded at the same time by a bunch of kids… When you look into the eyes of a Roma kid you can see that there is also another world from the other side… a significant one that we definitely lost during our so-called advanced journey through the centuries…Look what the organizer has wrote about it after the first workshop was over…
“From the very beginning they have shown huge interest in our kind of work and they were feeling ready to approach our workshops. It is right there that their creative spirits are bring tickled to start producing some of the most amazing results.
We started by organizing thematic discussions in which we bring up the problems of everyday life and challenges these young people are facing at home, in school and in their families. Topics such as poverty, surviving on day-to-day basis, lack of primary education, early marriages are problems Roma youth are faced with every day. On the other hand non-Roma children are coming from different surroundings where these issues are approached in a different way. Two opposite worlds put together in the same room to learn and work together, to get to know and understand each other better.
In our first discussion we realised that although some of the Roma youth are not going to school anymore and are unable to read or write, are very much aware of their situation and wish to be treated equally. They are craving for knowledge and new experiences, a fact that puts them on the same level with all other young people of Novi Sad.”… and check out the gallery of the Culture_on_Tour project.
I’ve spent my Saturday evening at the performance entitled ‘Foto-plession’ which is not so easy to translate to English. The word ples in Croatian means dance. So, now it’s clearer that it’s obviously about the performance and photography; and about intersections between static and dynamic forces and concepts.
The piece was choreographer by Irma Omerzo, a former Philippe Decouflé Company dancer. I have to note here that Omerzo was a part of Decouflé’s most relevant theatre work Codex.
It was a great dance piece inspired by Luigi Serafini’s magical book Codex Seraphinianus. Check out in wikipedia for more on this incredible book and very cool designer / architect.
Hence, knowing that was somehow a burden to me for watching ‘Foto-plession’ because I’m always expecting the unexpected in her performances.
At the other hand, I was very curious about this photography element, knowing that a photographer is a life partner to the choreographer who is not so sanguine about ‘catching’ the essence of dance through the camera lens.
The simplest formulas for describing FOTO – plession would be:
two dancers + photographer = photographs at the screen
photographs at the screen + two dancers = choreography
Strangely, knowing the work of Rasol I have founded my self completely surprised. And why is that?! Well, my first thought about this whole idea was a kind of: ‘Oh, no. He will be so distant to other performers. He is really cool in making conceptual thingz, but now, he has to be very close, you know… otherwise this will turn out to be a typical photography from the every day news critics on ballet premiers… which is definitely not Rasol’s photographic style.
Hm, I was so wrong…
The interactions and juxtaposes between two dancers (Sonja Pregrad and Zrinka Simicic) of different sensibilities, and at the certain level even postures, is something pretty cool to see. Sonja Pregrad, obviously enjoying the position of dancing, posing and playing with the partners: co-dancer and camera – pushing every time more and more forward her mind / body, and sometimes even being too hard to herself.
Indeed, it’s very interesting to see so many streams in the performers’ personal language. Pregrad is obviously working hard lately on her self examinations which can result with many varieties of expressiveness… She is like a free jazz musician, choosing heavy tunes by her self, but trying to make it understandable to the rest of the world… even, willing to ask the audience to join her path…
At the other side, Zrinka Simicic is a silent ‘killer’… She is a kinda subtle, more occupied with her self, examining the influence of soft martial arts in her performers’ procédé… she knows very well that she is at the other side of the stage… so, you can sit and watch or leave, as you wish. If you stay, she can be very kind and offer you several explosions, and than she is again a meditative one… introspective… then a small explosion… body chatting with partner… a chat with photographer… then a chat with her own image at the big screen… It’s interesting that I find her dance to be more fragmented then Pregrad’s, who is more interested in larger, stronger movements. This fact was for me, basically, the turning point of the whole dance piece.
Well, you have noticed that I made several distinctions in describing dancers’ approach to camera and to photographer who was present at the stage for some time.
I really meant the camera not the camera-man, because Jasenko Rasol really tried to be subtle and intactile as a photographer; somehow seems like he had left his camera to be the arbiter in his relation to dancers and their game. He left them to choose their relations either to the technological device either to him – the intruder.
His selection of light for the photo session was excellent, especially the way he decided to use white neon lamp as a left-sided light; it makes completely different shading at the images in comparison with the ordinary stage light. Photographs taken from a shorter proximity with details of the hand, veins and muscles are really amazing… totally decoding the ‘saint’ bodies of dancers, but showing the weakness and splinterness.
Personally, I really enjoyed moments when photographer gave his memory card from the camera to be displayed on the screen because he gave us the opportunity to compare technical aspects and semantics of the photography and live performance at the same time. The comparison was intriguing…
… and retracts the viewer to the next level… the level of choreographer… and the concept…
Me seems, like the idea of dancers being moved, marked, initialized and motivated by their own images at the screen worked out excellent… I would absolutely disagree about the statement of being paralyzed and limited by the stillness of photographic static, because performer can indeed be paralysed by choreographers mind.
I think, Irma Omerzo none intentionally showed us how static and dynamic could work together… being conditioned by each other, of course.
Omerzo’s touch could be seen as softly and subtle, marking only general points, leaving the dancers to explore their relations with flash, blood, rhythm, sound, intruders (camera, camera-man, the screen), light… and enjoying the results of this game. A remarkable characteristic for an artist: using less / saying more.
You know, I am not a dance or art critic. I’m just a photographer being inspired by physical theatre and dance, and my impressions after a couple of days are still the same. We are most of the time in our life in a position to be navigated by something or somebody – definitely not every time by our choice. And this haunting game between the still image and dance movements just proved me that.
But really, you have to see this photo-dance laboratory, you won’t regret it.