Witness the evolution of photography at Material Light, a collateral project of the Kochi Biennale
In an era where picking the right Instagram filter is considered as the key to a good photograph, there’s always space for some soul searching. Curated by Allan F Parker, a visual media artist-turned-faculty at the University of Reading (UK), Material Light is a probe into the evolution of photography as an artistic medium over time. As 16 of his artists combine various techniques—ranging from the oldest of analogue procedures to digital ones—building a bridge between the past and the future, we catch up with Allan for a quick sneak peek of what he has in store for us.
Tell us about the concept behind Material Light.
This particular project is about the usage of photography as an artistic medium. It’s an investigative tool rather than just a method of recording the surroundings through an item of bought technology.
Few words on the evolution of the show since its debut at the University of Westminster in 2013.
The original exhibition had more examples of historical photographic processes—such as silver gelatine prints, salt prints, carbon prints, photogravures and daguerreotypes—which examined the transformations of the photographic image as manifested through these techniques. Recently, we have been focussing more on themes of innovation and obsolescence in analogue and digital photography.
What can we expect at the Kochi edition of the show?
At Kochi, a total 16 artists will be part of the show with five Indian artists amongst them. You can expect artworks including C-type prints—colour prints made in the darkroom from black and white large format negatives—by Sophy Rickett, silver gelatin prints by Tereza Zelenkova, Nihaal Faizal’s 16 mm film projections. There are also prints from a pinhole camera investigative journalism project by Alit Bhadoriya (titled Moving Mountains) which deals with the Goan iron ore mining scandal.
What is the significance of such an exhibition in a GIF-driven world?
When we reach for our iPhones to record the everyday world we may not be overly troubled by the issues that surround our easy adaptation of new technologies – we might think it well worth the trade. But there are pertinent questions raised by the artists in this exhibition about self-expression, ownership and loss, which we might do well to consider.
What lies ahead for the project?
I feel like there is more mileage in this show and I would like to show it with more artists. To present the show as it is meant to be seen depends on many things such as funding, local interest, political will and marketing to name a few.
From March 15 -23.
At Mill Hall Compound, Mattancherry.