Imagineering—(Re)activating the Photographic: Klara Källström & Thobias Fäldt / “Werker Magazine” / Discipula


The exhibition presents works by three art collectives that can be defined as collective research platforms working in the field of contemporary photography, visual culture, and publishing.

Discipula

We live in a society that has fully embodied the neoliberal vision of a global and homogeneous world. Thanks to the increasing dismantling of the political apparatus, power is now concentrated around giant transnational corporations: a form of power both liquid and absolute in its capacity to be omnipresent and, consequently, omnipotent. Along with the creation of a global production system in which we are inescapably involved, the greatest achievement of contemporary market economies is their ability to make people believe that power can be in our hands. The new regime asks little and gives us much in return, above all freedom: to consume, to appear, to communicate. Thus has cognitive­cultural capitalism progressively transformed information into control and commodification. Driven by the rise of communication technologies, images play a crucial role in the maintenance of this capital­driven ecology. Contemporary images, far from simply mirroring reality, invade and expand our world and the way we perceive it. Transcending representation, they embody transient desires and needs; seduced by their alluring surfaces, we become one with them. Images are our alter ego, idealized projections of our being and our expectations. We trust them, and therefore we embrace the ideology that generates them. Based on these premises, the works presented by Discipula in Imagineering – (Re)activating the Photographic revolve around the appropriation, postproduction, and analysis of images captured from the flow of daily production and consumption. Stock photos, renderings, and advertisements are manipulated and immersed in new networks of signs, languages, and cross­references in which the original function of each image is subverted, creating space for new interpretations, meanings, and uses. While stressing the centrality of the notion of connectivity in our society, each work can be compared to a dynamic system in which ideas are laid out and negotiated through the interactions among matter, forms, values, and ideologies. By highlighting the fluid and mutable nature of contemporary images, Discipula ultimately aims to invite the viewer to look at and reflect on what is hidden beneath the glossy surface of the visible.

Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt

Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt work in the field of photography, text, installation, and publishing. Their work focuses on the production of knowledge, exploring media issues, historical narratives, and the depiction and perception of political events. Over the years, Källström and Fäldt have produced a number of works relating to places undergoing paradigmatic changes; they seek to activate historical layers and notions of uncertainty and chance in order to draw attention to the gap between what is visible and what is told. Walter Benjamin’s notion of “salutary estrangement” suggests a distinction between the visual and the image. In Källström and Fäldt’s work, this distinction is the gaze looking back at us, asking what we want from the things we are viewing. Through this activation of what is unresolved, the regime – that which we might call the habitual vision – becomes visible. In this tension, our desires unfold. Together with the designer duo 1:2:3, Källström and Fäldt run B­B­B­Books, a publishing platform that engages in methods of narration and visual culture. In 2011, they started the ongoing project Wikiland, which revolves around the media image of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The same year, they initiated a series of works on the representations of the Greek crisis, starting in Athens during the general strikes in October. The series The Last of the Lucky began to take shape when they met with a former photographer of Fidel Castro, who put the last rolls of 35mm film on Cuba at their disposal. The retrospective of Källström and Fäldt’s presented at Krakow Photomonth 2016 includes the Cuba work, which has never before been exhibited. This world premiere coincides with a crucial historical and geopolitical juncture, a handshake of pivotal importance.

Werker 2 – A spoken history of the young Worker

The new edition of “Werker Magazine” presents images and documents that have been compiled from secondhand bookstores, online booksellers, personal archives, and street markets over the last few years. The selected documents originate from different geographies and historical contexts.
The body of the young worker is at the very core of this research: a body that is disciplined in schools, educated at home, and put to work, often for a me ager salary, and at times obliged to migrate. This is a body that is also at work when it rests, rejuvenating the leisure industry with its youthful expression, consuming in order to stimulate additional injection of capital. Nevertheless, the body of the young worker is a body with the capacity to revolt. It has political agency and fights exploitation, imprisonment, expulsion, and murder. Since its invention, photography has been closely related to power. Its mimetic capacity to replace anything that consists in a complex reality with its unidimensional representation made it the perfect instrument to dominate our world. Photography, the archive, the encyclopedia, the museum, and mass media constitute different instances of the same project: the positivist endeavor of creating types, canons, models, and roles to explain the totality of history, and of the present, in order to reinforce the ideological structures in power. Next to the male narratives that constitute history as we are taught it in school, there is a “spoken history” that was not written or that has been discharged from the history books. Walter Benjamin, in Theses on the Philosophy of History (1940), introduces the notion of the “tradition of the oppressed,” which he defines as the medium in which the present is connected to all lost causes and the struggles of those who have lost their histories. Rethinking the relationship between photography and history through Benjamin’s “tradition of the oppressed” and his “dialectics at a standstill,” “Werker Magazine” proposes a stage for queering history. How can documents from different instants in history be performed by readers? Pre­organized local collectives or any engaged visitors are invited to perform this archive using the microphones and tools provided in the exhibition space. All recording sessions will be uploaded to a Soundcloud archive and broadcast in collective listening sessions, transcending the borders of the museum.

More information at Kraków Photomonth Festival official website 

Photo: Studio Luma