“Expansive subjection” is a series of investigations in superimposing specific personal spatial experiences to construct new ones – or materialize subjective experiences already layered in the memory of the self. Each piece, contains a calculated amalgamation of 2 images taken in different times and places, often in different continents. “Melting” images into each other is an attempt to both remember the past and speculate on the personal insight that memories collectively construct. Speculative architectural instances potentially inform new intelligence through this subjective lens, very much building upon the ethos of architecture as a form of knowledge. Result is an experiment as much as it is a personal archive, a travelogue.
All photographs belong to the author, taken within a span of 3 years through personal travels.
What artists and or photographers do you trust successfully transcend physical barriers to convey spatial experiences?
For me, William Eggleston’s compositions possess a peculiar capacity to communicate the reality within a surreal narrative, elevating the mundane to an unprecedented status – not only through what he decides to photograph but also the context he orchestrates around the traditionally overlooked subjects. Weather, for instance, is almost an active participator and not a mere backdrop, as the wind, light, or even rain imply a strangely haptic quality in most of his works that allows the conveyance of a spatiality. As an extension of that, there is an inspiring sensibility towards embracing and working with coloration as a spatial parameter. Everything is purely analog and objectively observational, in a way, yet there is a simultaneous construction of a subjective context through an intricate decision-making process.
More contemporary works of the likes of Filip Dujardin and Philipp Schaerer, actual montage-crafts, are successful in transcending physical barriers as they manifest how the photographic medium can be a field of active inquiry. I appreciate how their images make use of the prescribed notion of photographic medium as a documentary tool for pre-existing circumstances, against itself. The tension between the possibility of a spatial instance and the implication of an already-realized product questions the cultural relevancy of the representational techniques and draws audience into the discussion as an active participator in a spatial investigation that is very much non-conclusive.
What is your take on David Hockney’s approach to photomontage?
I’m wholeheartedly excited by the prospect of subjective contamination in this seemingly objective medium, and Hockney’s approach bears an underlying architectural quality through doing just that. There’s a parts-to-whole relationship that is composed of an act of bricolage, using found-elements to construct a novel sense of place. Implications of movement and temporality are embedded almost in a microcosmic scale – rendering the whole as a glimmering documentation of multiplicity of perspectives. Not necessarily the technique, but the almost “tectonic” discipline of the approach of composition is something that Expansive Subjection studies search for. Enric Miralles’ masterful montage compositions also come to mind in that regard.
Expansive Subjection might be characterizing a different “tectonic” method of montage, perhaps one that is more composite than fragmentary, more about fusion than assembly. Approach might be tactically different in the configurational scale and the subjection might be more invested in questions concerning the memory, yet it very much aspires to pursue a similar attitude of realization of places through an emphasis on multiplicity and time as a scalar instrument.
Nowadays our memories have become slaves to photography, how does the manipulation of an image allow for the freeing of the human mind?
As images, reproductions of originals, become the primary mediators of sociality, possessing images of an experience almost becomes synonymous with the act of experiencing itself. I think that there is a subsequent need to reclaim the potential of photography –or agency of representational images in general- as a medium that can provide the means to new threads of discussion rather than just being ends to supposedly factual circumstances. Especially in an era where media has grown to be normally accepted as an apparatus of political discipline, seeing is not necessarily believing. Manipulation of an image in that regard can speak to a healthy paranoia in the face of the potentiality of images manipulating us – hopefully freeing the human mind from the hegemony of the spectacle. We live in an era of saturation of images. The visual paradigm does not correspond to factuality anymore, hence dogmas that come with its restraints have to be doubted, and abstraction for good measure, without a mere adherence to aestheticism, can do just that.
What captures your eye in terms of the initial photograph?
I try to look for moments when a place reveals itself to me in an unprecedented way, in a way that at least surpasses my personal expectations of that place, rather than simply looking for interesting objects to photograph. I’m definitely most excited by the particularity of the moment as opposed to what’s actually in it. That could be determined by anything from a particular way a light hits on a surface to a particular way your body is oriented in relation to its surroundings, to the drama of encountering a place for the first time. I believe that moments like that embody a transition of experience into memory in the fullest sense of the word.
What thought process goes behind the pairing up of images? Does it derive from aesthetics or does it relate to your memories within those two locations?
Pairings are loosely based on creating a dialogue between spatially similar yet geographically disparate instances. On a more personal basis it’s a speculative attempt on materializing similar experiences as they layer through memory. There is an aesthetic inquiry relating to what an expansion of these pilings might look like literally, as well as a conscious search for a proper technique to achieve that.
What tools do you mostly work with?
All works involve digital photography and editing. For some instances the phone camera’s relatively rudimentary quality might prove to be surprisingly fitting but most shots are taken with a standard SLR.
All of the images have been edited digitally to create a seamless amalgamation of the two, what is your take on the classic fragmentation of an image achieved through the art of collage?
The amalgam implies erasure although all pixels from both images are present in the final image, through layers of varying transparency. In the case of producing a bricolage out of two separate images, a fragmentary approach would assume a conscious selection process as to which parts are eliminated and which are kept. A collage of fragments implies an additive process, which is potentially more emblematic of a singular end-product; whereas the effect achieved by amalgamation is relatively more open to multiple readings of the same image, allowing room for the observation to breathe and dwell on subjective constructions.