Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Embers Are Still Glowing From Unseen

I am finally back in London after quite an extraordinary week or so of airports, train stations, installations, performances and openings! From the wonders that are Amsterdam's Unseen Photo Fair to the stunning architecture and exhibition at the Galerie Paris-Beijing, there has been many highlights, fun times and debuts of collaborative projects.

Amsterdam is such a wonderful city, the people are warm and inviting and Unseen is truly a place for experimentation and pushing the limits of what Photography can be. This years edition was no different, in fact if anything more experimental than other years as that 'Festival Flair' they speak of was in full swing, with events going on in and around the festival ground, day and night!

The Unseen programme started with a wonderful Foam Museum opening of the new show, "Under Construction - New Positions In American Photography" with drinks in the garden on a warm sunny evening. The show is excellent and it was brilliant to see Daniel Gordon's work up close, a perfect start to the Unseen schedule! 

Next saw the opening of the fair, but before the fun could start, the installation of the performance piece, "The Smoke House." In the early morning of the opening, I quietly started the build of the four plywood handmade smoke houses that I made in London. Each one assembled well and before a few hours had passed they were complete and ready for the next stage - Thursday's performance!

The time dawned and the four smoke houses sat in a square in the festival ground, ready to partake in the performance, gently smoking the books. A fire was created in the centre and as the crowds grew around the fire, which turned to thick smoke, a true campfire atmosphere was created. As the light fell, the smoke grew steady, the books where placed in the houses, smoked then sealed and packed slightly warm. The idea of 'hot off the press' surely has the most accurate sense here!

Three hours of performance time passed then the books were collated, the houses de-installed, packed and ready for the next performance in London. A great little meal was had, a small time asleep and then off I went onto the next city, for the next debut.

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