—Introduction

A month long festival of exhibitions, discussions, screenings, performances, events and celebrations in both physical and virtual spaces and places.

650pxGeoff-Charles,-Ellesmere-Carnival,-4th-September,-1955.-Courtesy-of-National-Library-of-Wales

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Stuart Anderson on Structures of Feeling | The Photographs of Geoff Charles

Between the 1930s and 1980s, Geoff Charles was an established photojournalist who contributed extensively to a variety of Welsh newspapers and magazines. Throughout the North and the Borders he documented the fabric of daily life as well as the traditions and modernisation of Wales. Stuart Anderson reflects on a selection of images from the National Library of Wales’ collection, curated by Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts.

The photograph, as a medium of representation, is intrinsically linked to time. Not only in the application of exposures, frames per second or the other physical elements of the medium, but as a chronology. It is the most effective tool in our society for providing cultural continuity and historical recording within a visual medium. But the rigid immovability of the photograph as a document of what has been remains a double edge sword. The image is stationary and unchanging, all the while we, as individuals and communities move ever further away from the time in which they were made. Other less important or prominent images are destroyed, lost, or fade away. Gradually the people and places represented in the images become less and less familiar to those viewing them. Eventually, when enough time has past, we see nothing in them. Only anonymous faces and locations, all of which lack the appropriate context in which they were originally viewed. They become artefacts, and like archaeologists, it is our job to rediscover their once treasured importance. A selection of the work of Geoff Charles, re-presented in this new exhibition, highlights the need for us to continually return to images of the past. Not only to preserve them for the history of our society, but also to remind us of the shared experience of what it was to be a person in these fabled places and at these elusive times.

The way in which these ideas have been applied in this exhibition, curated by Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts, is to remove the photographs from their natural chronological order and to reassemble them into groups. The groupings are made on a typological basis or upon similar events within the image. Each group is then given their own coloured wall to which they can exist separately without influence or reference to each other. By doing this, Finnemore and Roberts have allowed the images to take on a sense of personal experience, allowing them to be examined on a far more emotive level than the clinical nature of the historical archive would normally allow. We are presented with scenes of amateur dramatics and charity functions, cross dressing and druidic rituals, models of future development and museum pieces.

While in their reassessment of the work of Charles, the two curators have managed to pull a particularly interesting trick upon the viewer. We do not necessarily have direct knowledge of the people and places in these photographs, but by presenting them in this evocative and almost nostalgic manner, it has shown a near repetition of history. We see the beginnings of a consumer culture in the 1950’s and 1960’s, a culture in which today we see another, almost inevitable expansion. We see images of people planning new developments in the quest for modernisation, but many of the developments pictured are now ironically in line to be redeveloped and modernised for this century, revealing a pleasing cyclical nature to our culture, or perhaps their initial shortcomings. We are also shown a film regarding the flooding of the Tryweryn valley to provide a reservoir for the city of Liverpool, a symbol for other massive changes inflicted upon Wales by others. Changes that, perhaps in a more subtle way are still occurring.

The one thing that the new exhibition of these images have taught us, is that the recognition of a situation or of an emotional attachment is usually a far more powerful than the simple representation of what was before the camera at that time. We then no longer see anonymous individuals or groups. We see ourselves.

 

Stuart Anderson

 

Structures of Feeling: The Photographs of Geoff Charles
1 – 31 May 2013
Tramshed

 

This essay is available as a downloadable PDF here.

Photo Copyright: Geoff Charles, Ellesmere Carnival, 4th September 1955. Courtesy of National Library of Wales

The Brothers

+ - Elin Høyland:

The Brothers

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

1 May – 25 May

Elin Høyland’s series The Brothers is an intimate portrayal of the relationship between Harald and Mathias Ramen, two brothers who lived together on a small farm in Tessanden in rural Norway.

In her work, Høyland chronicles a way of life that has almost entirely disappeared. Mathias and Harald lived all their lives on their family farm. Their days followed a predictable and comforting routine with little change from year to year. Høyland’s photographs witness the incredible sense of belonging and routine the brothers savoured, while simultaneously illuminating the greater sense of solitude found in rural Norway.

A Ffotogallery project, presented as part of European Chronicles, funded by the European Cultural Foundation and European Commission.

 

Image: From The Brothers, 2001 – 2002 (c) Elin Høyland

cardiff encounters

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Cardiff Encounters

1 – 31 May / diffusionfestival.org

On your route through the City share your encounters of the Cardiff kind using #cardiffencounters on Instagram. Is it an encounter you have everyday or one you’ve never had before? Is it an encounter with the City’s inhabitants, landmarks, experiences, or something that only you have noticed? If you are new to Instagram, the app can be downloaded free on most mobile phones. If you like, add a caption to your photograph to tell us more about your encounter. Selected images tagged with #cardiffencounters will be posted on the Diffusion website.

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Peter Bobby Interview

The turn of the century brought a renewed interest and confidence in constructing high-rise developments in a large majority of the world’s major cities. It has become the corporate building type for an increasingly global industry and architecture. High-rise examines the sociopolitical, architectural and visual discourse surrounding these constructions using a combination of both interior and exterior still and moving imagery. Through a number of differing strategies, the work critiques these environments, questions their relationship to the city below, addresses ideas of representation and spectatorship, and explores the discourse surrounding notions of power within the contemporary urban landscape.

A Ffotogallery project in partnership with the Architecture Centre, Bristol and the Royal National Theatre, London. Supported by Arts Council England, eCPR (The European Centre for Photographic Research) and the University of Wales, Newport.

The exhibition is showing 1 – 27 May 2013 at Tramshed.

For more video content visit Remote Access.

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Platform 2 Visual Notes

We have commissioned artist Laura Sorvala to create visual documentation of our platform debates, which are a series of free evening events, each dedicated to one of the Platform themes and led by prominent artists and thinkers. Click Laura Sorvala Sketchnotes here to view a full screen PDF of Laura’s sketchnotes.

The second debate took place at Fire Island 15 May entitled “The artist is not responsible to anyone” and was led by Shaun Featherstone.

Visit Platform to find out about our upcoming events and to vote and comment on the provocations.

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine

+ - Edgar Martins:

The Time Machine

Ffotogallery

1 May – 7 June

In 2010 and 2011, Martins gained exclusive access to 20 power plants located across Portugal. Many were built between the 1950s and 1970s, a time of hopeful prospects for rapid economic growth and social change. The Time Machine records objects and spaces whose grand and progressive designs testify to the scope and ambition of the vision they were built to serve.

Martins’ photographs recall science-fiction and in an unavoidable field of nostalgia, characterise a suspended time; that of the modern. In recovering a past of exciting technological innovation and optimistic belief in the future, The Time Machine speaks not just about the generation of power but also of dreams and technological utopias.

This exhibition was funded by Fundação EDP and the international tour is supported by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK branch) & Instituto Camões (Portugal).

 

 

Image: Fratel power station: machine hall, 2012 © Edgar Martins

Tim Davies, Drift, 2011

+ - Tim Davies:

Drift

9 March – 26 May

 

Drift is an ambitious new film installation by Tim Davies presented in the contemporary galleries at National Museum Cardiff. Taking Venice as its subject, the installation is comprised of three individual films, Drift (2011), Frari (2011) and new workCapricci (2013). Shown together for the first time they present a powerful and poignant portrait of Venice, creating links with the way the city is represented in the Museum’s collection by artists such as Canaletto, Monet and Whistler.

Drift and Frari previously featured in Tim Davies’ Wales in Venice presentation at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 organised by the Arts Council of Wales. This is the first time this important body of work has been shown in Wales.

 

Image: Drift, 2011 © Tim Davies

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Gideon Koppel Interview

B O R T H is a film installation by the artist Gideon Koppel. It was filmed in the wild west Wales town of Borth – a curious and extraordinary place where the infinite horizon of the sea collides with a bricolage of architectures; where epic landscape is playfully juxtaposed with the intimacy of human gesture.

Following on from Koppel’s feature-length film Sleep Furiously – one of the most critically acclaimed British films of 2009 – B O R T H travels along the blurred borders between documentary and fiction, to create a powerful dream-like and sensory world.

The exhibition is showing 1 – 31 May 2013 at Chapter Studio.

For more video content visit Remote Access.

Zineathon

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Zine-a-thon

Saturday 25 May / 11am – 1pm or 2 – 4pm / Free (ages 12+)

Chapter, Free

BOOK NOW

Join artist and DIY record label founder Mark Thomas and learn how to make your own photocopied zine. Zines (short for “fanzines” or “magazines”) are self-published paper booklets of words and images. Tracing the history of zines from their roots in the underground music scene to the present day, we will explore how zines can be a fun and creative means of expression. Please bring any photographs or images you would like to include in your zine.

Peter Bobby - High Rise

+ - Peter Bobby:

High-rise

Tramshed

1 May – 27 May

The turn of the century brought a renewed interest and confidence in constructing high-rise developments in a large majority of the world’s major cities. It has become the corporate building type for an increasingly global industry and architecture. High-rise examines the sociopolitical, architectural and visual discourse surrounding these constructions using a combination of both interior and exterior still and moving imagery. Through a number of differing strategies, the work critiques these environments, questions their relationship to the city below, addresses ideas of representation and spectatorship, and explores the discourse surrounding notions of power within the contemporary urban landscape.

A Ffotogallery project in partnership with the Architecture Centre, Bristol and the Royal National Theatre, London. Supported by Arts Council England, eCPR (The European Centre for Photographic Research) and the University of Wales, Newport.

 

Image: High-rise (23rd, Bar), 2007 © Peter Bobby