Trading Zones, St. Helier Old Police Station 19 – 29 September 2018
Trading Zones draws on work produced during my six months as the 2018 Archisle photographer in residence at the Société Jersiaise, time I have spent looking at the islands finance industry. Located in Royal Square’s Old Police Station, itself a former bank and later the location of the Jersey Police Financial Investigations Unit, the exhibition is a multi-method survey of Jersey’s most successful contemporary industry.
Using a wide range of photographic approaches, Trading Zones considers different aspects of finance, from its history and geography to its architecture and visual culture. Alongside this the exhibition reflects on the industry’s complex relationship with the island that supports it, highlighting aspects of Jersey’s past and present which have been conducive to the growth of finance, and inviting Jersey people to contribute their own thoughts about the industry and what in means to them as part of an evolving display.
For the cultural critic Walter Benjamin, the early shopping arcades of Paris were the defining buildings of the nineteenth century, spaces where the technologies, mores, and concerns of the time coalesced within a single structure of iron and glass. If one were to look for a comparable space to represent the late twentieth and early twenty first century, a strong candidate would be the international airport.
These are the spaces that most of us seek to spend as little time in as possible, and to spend that time as distracted as possible from the environment that surrounds us. And yet this space is one where so many of the defining features of our time unite under one roof, from global trade and mass migration, to environmental challenges to security concerns, the modern airport represents the complex, vulnerable, interconnectedness of the modern world.
The dependence of global economices on financial services companies has made the ‘finance industry’ a matter of fierce public debate and strong opinion. But behind that reassuringly simple phrase is an enormously complex field, spanning diverse practices, cultures, and jurisdictions. Partly due to this complexity finance has suffers a dearth of representation, and yet it is a field with the potential to positively or negatively impact more lives than perhaps any other.
Trading Zones is a survey of finance, begun during six months spent as the 2018 Archisle photographer in residence at the Société Jersiaise on the Channel Island of Jersey. It employs a multi-method approach to the subject, engaging with different aspects of it through a constellation of techniques including conventional and cameraless photography, appropriated and manipulated imagery, architectural surveying, data visualisations, opinion polling, and more. The aim through these strategies is to represent finance not as something with a definable essence but as something which always take place elsewhere, and which is most visible not in things, but in the gaps between them.
Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun was a man with star dust in his eyes, and blood on his hands.
In his last thirty years he was an American citizen who built rockets for NASA, machines which landed men on the moon in 1969. He met with John F. Kennedy, and was the recipient of plaudits and accolades too numerous to list. But in his first thirty years he was a German citizen, who wore an SS uniform and built ballistic missiles for the military of Nazi Germany, machines which killed thousands of civilians between 1944 and 1945. He met with Adolf Hitler, and was the recipient of plaudits and accolades too numerous to list.
Wv.B uses this improbable life story as a way to explore the equally contradictory history of space exploration, and the way that militaristic and expansionist aims have often been dressed in a cloak of peaceful civilian science. To do this I draw on a mixture of photographs made during visits to key rocket development sites in Germany and the United States, some now historic monuments, others very much forgotten. Alongside these images I assemble further photographs, documents and other materials from a variety of government and scientific archives. These pieces are then printed as cyanotypes, the earliest form of photography and originally intended for astronomical photography, the cyanotype process was used throughout the 20th century to produce engineering and architectural blueprints. Latent within the cyanotype’s chemistry are also the components of hydrogen cyanide, the gas used in the systematic extermination of at least one million people during the holocaust.
These materials are arranged into an unconventional narrative structure, in which times flows forwards and backward simultaneously, in order to draw together the two contradictory lives of Wernher von Braun together in contrast against each other. Pre-war and post-war lives are juxtaposed, and in doing so the problematic histories, moral ambiguities, and Faustian pacts of von Braun’s life, and of space exploration in general, are laid bare.
-Shortlisted for the LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2018 and 2020, The Kassel book award 2019, and the Aftermath Grant 2018.
A nation is a community of individuals united by a collective memory of the past, but the European Union is a community built on collective amnesia. Countries joining the Union over the past three decades have traded their difficult memories of past rivalries, wars and genocides for peace and prosperity, but now the good times are over the past is returning. Made during travels through ten countries during the height of the European debt crisis, The Memory of History explores the use and abuse of the past in the context of recession. Rejecting a fixed narrative structure, The Memory of History consists of a box of fifty-six prints and an experimental essay, The History of Memory, composed of twelve short texts chapters on history, memory and time. Images and text are mixed freely, resulting in a unique viewing experience every time the box is opened as new connections form, emulating the way the past reconstitutes itself differently each time we attempt to return to it.
It’s Gonna be Great, Copeland Gallery 19 – 21 May 2017
A totally amazing exhibition specially curated for the beautiful Peckham 24 Festival by Lewis Bush (failing) and Mark Duffy (dishonest) in a bid to make Peckham great again! IT’S GONNA BE GREAT! showcased the heartfelt outpourings of the British people in response to the election of President Donald Trump (a really fantastic guy, all his friends say so).
It featured Alison Jackson (definitely not a loser!) and her photographs of Trump lookalikes in compromising situations. Alongside her were Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps (great people!) with a new large-scale photomontage of Trump. Last but not least was British-based American artist Jessica Harby (just fantastic!) with her installation Referendum (Tell Me How Do You Feel) which asks you to vote on the artist’s citizenship. Also on display are a collection of protest signs hand made by participants in numerous anti-Trump demonstrations (illegal!). IT’S GONNA BE GREAT! was great, completely unpresidented. No one curates exhibitions like we do, all our friends say so. It was fantastic, just really fantastic. We had the biggest private view in history. Anyone who disagrees is a dishonest loser and will make us really mad. Also, China.
In order to preserve the privileged vision of militaries and governments public satellite imagery is often intentionally degraded to a point where individual human beings are imperceptible on the face of the earth. As a result these photographs often appear to depict a world which is strangely devoid of human life, as if in the aftermath of an unknown disaster. In 2015 a real humanitarian crisis began to unfold in Europe, with refugees travelling to the continent in unprecedented numbers by land and sea.
While these refugees are themselves usually imperceptible on satellite maps, their passage from conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa to safety in Central and Northern Europe leaves direct and indirect traces visible on the landscape, markers which attest to the vast scale of this exodus, and the efforts made to manage or prevent it. Some of these traces, like the queues at border crossings, might last only a few days, others like the temporary camps occupied by refugees working on Turkish farms might survive for months. Others still, like the new border fences being installed on frontiers in countries like Hungary and Macedonia, might yet become permanent features of the European landscape.