Sunday, 8 December 2013

Old Photograms


The photogram is perhaps seen as a past art. As photography dark rooms disappear the method of photographic production may disappear too. The technique of obtaining images without the intervention of a camera is deceivingly simple. Its history begins with Thomas Wedgewood and Humphrey Day and on through to the photographic drawings made by William Henry Fox Talbot and then Anna Atkin’s cynatypes.

The 20th Century is really where photograms belong. Christian Schad when he was a Dadaist produced his “Schadographs” in Zurich. There is Man Ray of course whose ghostly images of objects and parts of the human body contributed to Paris Dada and the emergent Surrealist movement. But “it was the Hungarian Laszlo Moholy-Nagy who, in collaboration with students at the Bauhaus, undertook the most radical exploration of the technique’s potential, using it to study the relations of color (sic), light, and form” (Mora, Gilles, 1998 pp. 143-145). Moholy-Nagy has said that he regarded this direct process of photography as “the most perfect way of representing luminous flux” (p.145).
This “luminous flux” that Moholy-Nagy discusses became central to much of my thinking about image making. Man Ray has always fascinated me: the luminosity of his solarised figures and there is much to be admired in his inventiveness, however his photograms were often whimsical in my mind.

Wife: The Grey Ones, shown as part of the Frequency Festival 2013

 I saw WIFE: THe Grey Ones" at the Drill Hall, Lincoln whgen it was part of the Frequency Festival 2013. It was perhaps one the most convincing pieces of what.... multimedia performance, hybrid art?

"WIFE is visceral, live, contemporary, dance, interacting with original, projected, animations and music. She is the creation of Nina McNeely, Kristen Leahy, and Jasmine Albuquerque. Her three members are dancers, choreographers, teachers, editors, animators, and performers thriving in the underbelly of L.A subculture. She finds inspiration from myth, folklore, archetypes, and the subtleties of everyday human behavior. Influences include Jim Henson, Chris Cunningham, Akira Kurosawa, Kathy Rose, Wendy Carlos, Yayoi Kusama, Planningtorock, Aleister Crowley, her friends, and you. WIFE can only be seen in the dark. WIFE works well with others. WIFE likes to play. Visually, WIFE is bold. Physically, WIFE is daring. Dreams are her driving force. She is metamorphosis":

See it here on YouTube whe in was part of TEDxSoCal in 2012 (?):

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Memory of Moholy-Nagy

Made in 1990 scripted by Joy Batchelor and directed by John Halas this diocumentary explores the life and work of the artist and designer László Moholy-Nagy.

Halas and Batchelor: