What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase is a multifaceted body of work funded by The Arts Council England and developed from a collaboration with Grain Projects and HM Prison Birmingham (the largest category B prison in the Midlands, UK), its inmates, their families as well as a myriad of other local organisations and individuals.
By giving a voice to inmates’ families and addressing incarceration as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, Martins’ work proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.
The project thus wilfully circumvents images whose sole purpose is to confirm the already held opinions within dominant ideology about crime & punishment: violence, drugs, criminality, race – an approach that only serves to reinforce the act of photographing and photography itself as apotropaic devices.
The project is composed of three segments. The first is a film made up from still images, inspired by Chris Marker’s La Jetée. This film will be presented for the first time at the Format Festival 2019.
"The film element of this project, titled The Life and Death of Schrödinger's Cat deploys a succession of photographs, redolent of scientific illustration and documentation, and that remarkable 1977 photobook by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel, Evidence, in which their appropriations use an older, outdated mode of photography to show a testing of truth and certainty in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam— all fail to illustrate and communicate and become instead science fiction, beautiful enigmas. (...) Martins sourced his photographs from the archives of CERN, the European Space Agency and an archive he has built up from images in defunct newspapers. They typify a dated scientific aesthetic, testimony to a faith and fascination in the value and virtue of technology: the photographs show tests, experiments, very often with materials, there are also images about vision, about looking and a lot of pointing, deictic gestures that do not give us clarity, but underscore the shortfall between what is being presented to us in the picture and what sense we are supposed to take from it. The difference with Evidence is we do not encounter just pictures. Martins’ photographs are sequenced to accompany an elaborate fiction (a script produced in collaboration with the renowned Portuguese physicist and CERN scientist João Seixas), an absurdist story of a prison that is built to create the maximum absence of its inmates from society: an experimental facility set-up in the Midlands in the 1950s to explore the feasibility of two different incarceration models, Cryoguard and QSafe, which involves having fully automated penitentiary systems managed by autonomous robots and with prisoners undergoing cryopreservation, so sentences can last centuries. QSafe involves confining dangerous prisoners in an unknown remote location, with only two judges having keys that give them access to the quantum encrypted information as to where the prisoners are. In relation to this fiction, we should bear in mind Foucault’s Discipline and Punish— its powerful opening pages, which set up the opposition between the public spectacle of the brutal execution of a regicide in mid eighteenth-century France and the rules for the “House of young prisoners in Paris”, eighty years later, an account of torture and a time-table, in order to show how punishment became the most hidden part of the penal process. In many ways Martins’ fiction about the disappearance of prison and prisoners might be seen as an extension of this shift towards invisibility in the penal system." (excerpt from "Photography Unbound" by Mark Durden, in What Photography & Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase, The Moth House, 2019)
UNIVERSITY OF DERBY
DE22 3AW, UK
15 MARCH - 9:45AM - 10:25 AM
Edgar Martins is keynote speaker at the Format19 Conference, where he will introduce his new project What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with An Empty Vase.
CIVILIZATION: THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
ULLENS CENTRE FOR
4 Jiuxianqiao Rd
09 MARCH - 19 MAY 2019
FICTION AND FABRICATION. PHOTOGRAPHY OF
ARCHITECTURE AFTER THE DIGITAL TURN
MAAT - MUSEUM OF ART,
ARCHITECTURE AND TECHNOLOGY
Av. Brasíilia, Central Tejo
20 MARCH - 19 AUGUST 2019
Fiction and Fabrication. Photography and Architecture after the digital turn, an exhibition curated by Pedro Gadanho and Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues featuring works from the series The Time Machine: An Incomplete & Semi-Objective Survey of Hydro-Power Stations at MAAT, Lisbon.
Fiction and Fabrication gathers nearly 50 artists who build and manipulate images of architectural objects and spaces. Marking 30 years since Photoshop was invented, and digital tools invaded photographic production, this exhibition focuses on the imagery of architecture as a central theme to an expanded practice of photography in contemporary art. From the seminal works of Andreas Gurski, Thomas Ruff, Jeff Wall or Thomas Demand to the fictional creations of Beate Gütschow, Oliver Boberg, Isabel Brison or Edgar Martins, the show offers a panorama of architectural photography that evades objective approaches and favours fictionalised takes on reality between cinematic gazes, image deconstruction and more politicised narratives. At a time when digital tools preside over the making of architectural images for media consumption, fictions stemming from the art world appear here as a critical alternative that questions and expands the concept of architecture.
BEYOND BOUNDARIES: LENSCULTURE DISCOVERIES IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY
547 West, 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10001
26 APRIL - 02 MAY 2019
LensCulture is proud to present Beyond Boundaries, an expansive exhibition of recent discoveries in contemporary photography. Curated in part by leading editors, curators, thought leaders, and artists, Beyond Boundaries is an inclusive group show that doubles as both a celebration and a survey of global image making today. With seventy-seven participating photographers hailing from over twenty-seven countries, this exhibition is a visual reflection of the beating hearts and curious minds of LensCulture’s vibrant community. This exhibition features works from Edgar Martins' What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with Empty Vase, awarded one of the top prizes at the Lens Culture Fine Art Photography Awards 2018.
THE USIMAGES BIENNALE
THE USIMAGES BIENNALE
OF INDUSTRIAL PHOTOGRAPHY
27 APRIL - 07 JUNE 2019
The Usimages Biennale of Industrial Photography, a photography festival located in the town of Picardy, France, curated by Fred Boucher, featuring an exhibition of works from the series 00:00.00.
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY AND INCARCERATION
HAVE IN COMMON WITH AN EMPTY VASE
16 MAY 2019, 15:00 - 17:00 P.M.
What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase, published by The Moth House to be launched at Photo London at the stands of Purdy Hicks Gallery and Galeria Pilar Serra.
DE OUTROS ESPAÇOS
GALERIA MUNICIPAL DO PORTO
Rua D. Manuel II
(Jardins do Palácio de Cristal)
06 JUNE - 06 AUGUST 2019
De Outros Espaços, featuring works from the series This is not a House, from the collection of Fundação EDP/MAAT at Galeria Municipal do Porto, Portugal.
THREE SHADOWS ART CENTRE
Rua D. Manuel II
(Jardins do Palácio de Cristal)
JUNE - JULY 2019 (date tbc)
Destinerrance is Martins' first solo show in Beijing, scheduled to take place at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. Funded by Fundação Oriente, Instituto Camões, Instituto Internacional de Macau, Fundação Macau.
CENTRE DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE GENÈVE
Bac — Bâtiment d’art contemporain
28, rue des Bains,
CH — 1205 Genève
18 JUNE - AUGUST 2019
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY HAS
IN COMMON WITH AN EMPTY VASE
GALERIA FILOMENA SOARES
Rua da Manutenção 80
14 NOV 2019 - 11 JAN 2020
What Photography has in Common with an Empty Vase is a multifaceted solo exhibition scheduled to tour several museums between 2020 and 2021, such as the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea (MNAC), Centre de la Photographie Genève, amongst others. The show will be officially launched at Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon this Fall.
. Photography and the Contemporary Cultural Condition - Commemorating the Present, Peter D. Osborne, Routledge/Taylor and Franics, UK, 25.06.2018, ISBN: 9780415736251
. Civilization; The Way we Live now, William A. Ewing, Thames & Hudson, UK, 06.11.2018, ISBN: 9780500021705
. The Word is Art, Michael Petry, Thames & Hudson, UK, 09.11.2018, ISBN: 9780500239667
. What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty vase, The Moth House, UK, 01.03.2019, ISBN: 9780956908544
. El Dominio de Tánatos, Tendencias del Arte, March Issue, Spain
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