Issue 86 — Summer 2016
The Museum of Modern Art in New York has long been a leader in the world of photography having been an early collector of the medium and having organised many formative exhibitions. There was therefore a flurry of interest when MoMA launched a massive open online course for a general audience entitled Seeing Through Photographs. This is free, can be accessed from anywhere in the world and is led by museum photography curator Sarah Meister.
This new form of education, made possible by the web, promises to make courses cheaper and more widely available but will they also transform the way we learn? Orla Fitzpatrick has been looking into the different approaches taken by traditional universities and private companies offering to teach us about photography remotely, through our computers and phones.
The photographers in this issue reflect on historical hopes, the rhetoric of glory and artificial remembering. Roger Palmer superimposes the simplified 1934 version of the Starry Plough flag on a map of Ireland, using the positioning of its seven stars to identify zones for making photographs. The flag was flown by the Irish Citizen Army during the 1916 Easter Rising. It embodies the idea that a free Ireland would control its own destiny and symbolises a hoped for future of the working class. The resulting images can be viewed as a meditation upon the historical hopes and aspirations of Irish socialism set against realities of the present.
The gap between aspiration and actuality is also apparent in Raymond Brian Newman's new work Assemble made in Protestant Orange Order Halls. The work can be seen to link back to his much earlier projects on services at the Whitewell Tabernacle in Belfast or Young Unionist Party meetings (published in issues 5 and 11 of Source). In his new work however, the focus is on the individual, with images of the caretakers of each of these halls. The disconnect in the images between the middle-aged men, the attempts at decoration and the traces of damp and decay contradicts the narrative of triumphalism typically related to these spaces.
Liz Orton's A Handful of Soil for the Whole Horizon is conceived as an imaginary forest in which humans are irrevocably and often destructively entangled with nature. Within the work there is a curiosity about the ways in which knowledge is produced and a challenge to the idea that it can ever be purely objective or disembodied.
— The Editors