Issue 94 — Summer 2018
A hot spot of recent politics has been how digital platforms have become the conduit and corrupter of debate. In the recent referendum on abortion law in Ireland however, the old fashioned poster became a key battleground for each opposing side to put across their messages. Orla Fitzpatrick, Ann Curran and Fiona Loughnane followed the campaign and here examine the strategies of both sides and in particular the way they employed photographs to persuade the public.
Miriam O'Connor's work Tomorrow is Sunday explores an unanticipated return to the family farm following the death of her brother in 2013. O'Connor documents what is now on her doorstep, producing logbooks and inventories of routine farm tasks, checking the water pressure, reviewing animals, fields, trees, rocks and farm tools. The compiling and indexing is driven by a desire to "comprehend this complex transition and reflects an effort to regain some semblance of order where past and present might begin to reconcile in some way".
Tine Bek's The Vulgarity of Being Three-Dimensional, takes its title and starting point from the short story Carnival, by the Danish author Karen Blixen. In this story one of the characters at a carnival after party muses that "In a hundred years... some other people will dress up as supper party of our period; of a 100 years ago to them. Let us be that tonight until tomorrow noon, a supper party of 2025. Masquerading as people of a hundred years ago. For it is a little silly to be a caricature of something of which you know very little and which means very little to you but to be your own caricature, that is the true carnival." Bek explores the relationship between "the object and the image" and resists a more standard aspiration of photographs that seek to allow us "to almost be right there, in that place at that moment". Bek's concern is to make us visible to ourselves but "from a foreign point of view ".
Jane Cummins' work Half Sick of Shadows looks at the tensions of living at home until your early thirties, a situation many now face because of difficult economic circumstances. Using self-portraiture Cummins deals with feelings of claustrophobia and the need to grasp onto some sense of her adult self. The release comes in the landscape images made in the Dublin mountains that surround her parents home.
Artem Trofimenko talks about his work with reference to the film director Andrei Tarkovksy known for his interest in "the logic of poetry in cinema" rather than a "linear rigid logical development of plot". In particular Trofimenko sees his work in reference to Tarkovksy's cult classic Stalker in which the central character Stalker leads two men into the sealed off Zone, testing for traps by throwing metal nuts knotted with rags, towards a room that will fill the deepest conscious or unconscious desires of those who enter. "I return there, again and again, to recover a secret from the underworld, to identify a misunderstanding that haunts me, and the key that exposes that truth, photographs will always remind me of this process. The result is a map of experiences. I learn from it where not to go, every click is a rock thrown."
— The Editors