Journal 20160428 power - (c) Wouter Van de Voorde

http://woutervandevoorde.com

Journal 20160428 interpretation - image1

Prison Photography (prisonphotography.org) has for a long time been a fantastic place for digging into pictures; a place to consider approach, use, intent and engagement… advocacy and document.

A few months back they pointed to a fascinating interpretation project that Professor Nigel Poor has been working on with inmates in San Quentin.

The little elves here at KisimP can’t give enough encouragement for you to get on over and have a little look, read and further explore. It points out further and the rabbit hole sitting there ready to accept your fall is wonderfully confusing and marvellous.

Check it here!

Journal 20160428 interpretation - image2

Journal 20160426 caught my eye - 1971(c) Roger Vail

I saw the picture above the other day… through various links and clicks I landed on it and had to pause… the series had spun around a year or more ago on the interweb merry-go-round but as usual ol’ KP is late late late to the party.

The group of pictures don’t particularly do a lot for me… but one or two of them are just magnificent in their use of the one-eyed-picture-machine’s limitiations/abiity to build something wholly new and fascinating.

Yeah yeah yeah there will of course be the claim against of trickery, style, kitsch or something of the like… but that gorgeous disk of light and power above stopped me dead for a few minutes.

So hats off to Roger Vail for his many years of pointing his camera at the fair rides! Some of those pictures make me GRIN.

Journal 20160426 caught my eye - 1972 (c) Roger Vail

Journal 20160427 YGN for almost a fortnight - fred drawing

Landed back in Yangon just in time to see D&A zoom out on their way to land little Schwe in a few months. All exciting times: can’t wait to see a picture and then cross paths with the little grommet next month.

Yangon continues to bubble along with money being thrown about and investment/construction/’projects’ all bumping along. It’s startling to see some significant changes in just the short time I’ve been away. For me the next short while is just a period of ensuring the kids are settled again in a routine, that they’re happily rolling along with their little friends again and it’s all good for me to duck out to OZ for a bit more work (ah yes work… that magical carpet ride through the vagaries of a ‘career’ as we stumble, trip and hopefully catch ourselves before face meets dirt… and luckily it seems that dirt was recently avoided and somehow momentum has carried me through to a spot where there are some great things happening… happy times!).

So the very immediate future has the time to be cherished with kids on bikes, in the pool, on the swings, building blocks and drawing pictures. A great opportunity to just spend those short few hours sitting with them without anything else in my head; absorbing it, paying attention t the little inconsequential things they we often come to rely on for memories, associations and description.

TO THE PLAYGROUND!

  

  

 

Journal 20160107 things going sideways- ASSK votes

Out of nowhere Kisim Picky turns back up and starts flipping cars in riot like delight!

Welcome to 2016 woop woop. 2015 disappeared in amongst sweat, desperation, a little hustling and running about with the little lunatics who keep my days interesting. The national elections came and went and I got to see a few interesting moments. Glad I was around when it all happened… we’ll see what comes of it all.

Little Rafi is not so little anymore and is full of chuckles, noise and wiggling about attempting to chase the two boys. They are in turn on bikes, in the water, on a playground or demanding bandaids be applied to various injuries acquired through said activities.

Im just now hustling through airports on the way back to Australia. In my usual churlish way I’m not enjoying the travel as plane trips no longer hold any fascination or excitement. In fact a degree of fear seems to creep in on occasion and it’s come from nowhere… I suddenly feel like I’m aware of the great distance to the ground and the speed at which we could cover it with the assistance of gravity…

Journal 20160107 things going sideways- on press

I’ve got some exciting times ahead in lil’ ol’ Canberra… but as always extra layers get thrown in the mix and make good times just a touch confused and double edged… ahhh the benefits of circumstance, luck and the never-ending merry-go-round of life and the need to pay the piper.

Journal 20160107 things going sideways- bagan

But fun has been had. Pictures have been laid on paper. Temples have been stared at and the tourist route trampled because it does hold magnificent sites/sights. Relatives and friends have run about together in the silly season times and everyone is as well as can be.

So here’s looking forward to the months ahead. See ya all sooooooon…

  

It’s easy to forget the cutting light and brisk wind off the mountains that Canberra does so well in the cold months.

Standing out in it (after being away for a while) brings in a big stupid grin – magic.

  

(c) Adam Ferguson

After reading some reports online and asking a few questions I sat in Yangon this afternoon and got a connection quick enough to stream ABC Radio (Canberra) to listen in to an interview (and surprisingly that interview was deeply flawed)…

Mr Angus Trumble, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery (of Australia) removed the portrait of Indonesian President Joko Widodo by Adam Ferguson from the gallery walls citing concerns for the safety of the work, collection and visitors. He also made reference to what he regards as the majority view within Australia as well as statements made by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, within the Parliament and the decision to recall the Australian Ambassador from Jakarta as influencing his removal of the work.

I was particularly appalled that such an important public Arts Organisation (yes yes… capitals and all) is pulling work by a photographer for what seems to be some sort of quasi-populist (?!) move to placate outrage… that on the face of it didn’t really exist. The NPG stated that no threats had been made… and during Mr Trumble’s interview on ABC radio he made reference to only a single visitor passing comment on an imagined scenario. On the face of it this seems to be a GIANT overreach.

A gallery like the NPG is in the stunning position of being able to shape debate, engage with the public on a large scale, host discussions and seminars and generally try and challenge the public with the magnificent opportunities provided by any number of Australian and international artists through their work. Holding popular blockbusters and hosting various touring shows and awards is another means to bring people in and point them towards even more pieces from the permanent collection.

Imagine if the real (past) threats to the photographic works of Mapplethorpe, Henson, Mann, Serano and Goldin had been so hastily cowed to? For there were threats in those instances (political and/or violent, overt threats)… and many of the galleries fought back in defence of the work and gave their heartfelt reasons for the importance and value of debate and the continuing visibility of the controversial piece(s). In the face of threats to the work, ongoing funding, and even life… many many stood and fought.

Mr Trumble, all you have done is censor a picture made by an Australian photographer. A picture that is from a series that graced the cover of one of the most widely read magazines in the English speaking world. That picture is a depiction of a figure who is at present at the centre of an issue/debate consuming large amounts of ink and pixels in the national media. You have not censored or condemned that figure. You have not placated any outrage or avoided a riot. You have not secured your funding for future years or avoided annoying the powers that be.

You have simply put a photograph in storage. A photograph that should be hanging on the wall and generating lively discussion. As the Director of a national gallery you have put the artist and the art itself at the very bottom of your priority list when there is no ‘crisis’. And that is a black mark against the NPG.

I would like to quote a short section from Calla Wahlquist’s piece in today’s Guardian that clearly expresses Ferguson’s views (an opportunity that ABC Radio denied him by not even referencing his quotes, rather asking Mr Trumble how “the photographer felt about the decision”?!?!?… truly ABC Canberra… WTF):

*

Ferguson is in Nepal for Time and told Guardian Australia via email that he was “upset” and “perplexed” by the gallery’s decision to remove the portrait.

“The image has already received significant showing at the NPG so I am not upset merely because my image has been removed,” Ferguson said.

“I am though upset about the statement this makes about the NPG’s integrity and the support of visual art in Australia, despite how controversial [it may be]. I am totally perplexed that a leading Australian artistic institution like the NPG would take such action.”

Ferguson said the gallery should have taken the opportunity to engage in discussion about Australian-Indonesian relations, rather than hiding the image away.

“I would have thought that allowing people to engage with the photo that I created would be now more important given the circumstances,” he said.

*

You can find plenty of Adam Ferguson’s work on his website:

http://www.adamfergusonphoto.com/