The sixth Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF), features a curatorial project and exhibition that reflects how space has fundamental meaning to each of the featured artists in the exhibition. Each participant’s work observes how human beings may perceive existential value within a space including the notion of inner space.
“Our life’s space is defined by ourselves. Our existence defines life’s spaces. I believe that ‘Entity of Spatial Existence’ demonstrates how individuals are defining themselves by that awareness of the sociology of space. The curatorial project puts emphasis on the existential value of life seen through the eyes of eachof the artists. Since people have defined themselves, their identities in the relative space(s) of their lives since the dawn of time, I believe that the audience may consider that humanity as a whole, identifies itself relative to its individual and collective perspectives towards space, both meaningful and germane. Artworks shown in the exhibition will consider how artists interpret individual and collective viewpoints of space on themselves and others.” Suok-won Yoon, curator, Entity of Spatial Existence, SIPF.
The French Philosopher, Jacques Lacan asserts that, “the opening is closure and the closing is circulation”, suggesting the conceptual movement of reflection and thought away from one-dimensional meaning. The beginning and the end of all history has taken place in ‘space’. Myriad and multi-dimensional worlds coexist in the space we call ‘universe’, and is born over and again, manifest in the form of different stories, relationships, reflections and viewpoints. Space is formed by a conceptual dimension, in which human internal reality is projected, held within the invisible materiality of ‘being’. Suok-won Yoon puts emphasis on this relationship between spatial existence. Stories begin when people are born. The artist ‘performs’ within a defined space; the space they explore as heterogenic, redefined through their language of individual interpretation.
Darryl Georgiou and Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou evoke spies, secrets and (mis)information in their photo and audio-visual work, Magician: Walking Back The Cat, is concerned primarily with Remote Viewing, – ‘the movement of thought and image through time and space’ – and the collective anxiety about mass surveillance. The artists’ also reference the issue of consent and control, prompting the question: Who’s watching who?
Georgiou & Tolley’s current projects are linked by a documentary format where image, film, music and text combine as a contemporary digital library, archive or museum. Magician: Walking Back the Cat is a reflection on the 50th anniversary of the social conflict and counterculture of the 1968 protests as an Art of Resistance inspired by rebellion and the possibility for art and education as creative weapons for resistance against political repression. The photographic images show a transition taken from a series of ‘still’ in moving image sequences and are as much a graphic symbol as an icon that makes reference to the iconography of portraits of the Renaissance as emblems of individuality and humanity. Their art is about learning from the past and searching for patterns and making links to the contemporary issues of today.
Their premise is that the 21st century Cultural Cold War is a hall of mirrors where we are in a state of Cold War 2 at the departure point for the bleak cold war surveillance of secrets, spies and (mis)information.
Political systems are in a state of misery and decline, greyness and grimness, destabilisation and disenfranchisement. The invisible hand of the Physiocrats – scientific economists and accumulators of capital, combining market intervention, laissez-faire social and ecological management – and on occasion, tyranny. Georgiou & Tolley inquire into the drama of politics as a tragedy, a theatre of fiction observing reality, where the action of politics produces oligarchy, aristocracy and democracy while waving to the golden age of humanity.
The elitist administrations – corporate, military, religious and political – are remnants of Cro-Magnon DNA that promote societies of hypocrisy, censorship, submission and control.
The powerful apocalyptic controlling powerbroker are arbiters of command and consent the paranoid and suspicious of the liberal and heretical and the spirit of resistance of the underground and the values of tolerance, freedom and liberalism.
Art is a shadow theatre that can address social and political satire in alternative ways to media channels of TV, radio and newspapers. It is more flexible in its language, and therefore less easy to censor, and more difficult to control than state or corporate backed media.
Georgiou & Tolley explore the art of resistance through an exhumation and examination of urban counterculture of art and the street symbols and signs that represent political or cultural struggle.
They believe that art can still be a positive tool for resistance to create a framework to amplify the voices of resistance diminished by political authority and invisible governments.
They collect thoughts and ideas in a wider body of research and practice that maps and classifies the world in order to understand it.
Their approach combines complexity, humour and playfulness – whilst merging inherently flawed systems or philosophical propositions with the seemingly objective experience of the ‘archive’.
Their process of hybrid research and cultural investigation between the archive and the still and moving image is linked through their approach to the subject of historical memory that involve themes of disturbance and injustice to create Spaces of Trauma.
Georgiou & Tolley’s Photo-Documentary is part physics-poetry-dreaming-sociology-political theory, incorporating themes ranging from politics, religion, military, Cold War2, surveillance, art, commerce, culture, the echo chamber of social and media distortion, and the anaesthetising distractions of leisure and consumerism.
Georgiou & Tolley’s creative interest is in the tension between truth, fiction, history and memory that embraces art and archival fragments to observe the roles of the “magician” to change the information processes in the organism of the subject.
In Magician:Walking Back the Cat. Georgiou & Tolley attempt to visualize or reinterpret the remote viewing sessions as afterimages – the movement of thought and image through time and space as sensed or projected in the mind. They reference both the historical and contemporary issue of consent and control, prompting a key question of our time: Who’s watching who?
The 6th Singapore International Photography Festival 2018, Gillman Barracks, Blk 47, #01-26, Singapore. 8 September – 28 October 2018. Entity of Spatial Existence – Exhibition curated by Yoon Suok-Won. ‘Entity of Spatial Existence’ exhibits the work of six international artists: Ahn Jun (S.Korea), Darryl Georgiou & Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou (UK), Katrin Koenning (Germany), Berndnaut Smilde (Netherlands), and Nomusa Makhubu (S.Africa). All of the artists featured in ‘Entity of Spatial Existence’ demonstrate a series of processes that explore new meanings of space via photography and the moving image. Under their re-interpreted perspectives of space, they converge at a common point to show that being human, is in itself perhaps, the purest and simplest form of spatial existence.
Georgiou-Tolley’s photo-artwork contribution is called Magician:Walking Back the Cat.
Darryl Georgiou and Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou
Georgiou & Tolley: Artists/Filmmakers
- Photo-artists’ in residence: ‘The World Lived Here: L8’ commissioned by Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. • Included in the ‘Culture Shifts’ exhibition, Open Eye Gallery, 5 October – 22 December 2017
- ‘Magician Walks Into The Laboratory’ – Coventry Biennal of Contemporary Art, 2017
- Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou is a BOM (Birmingham Open Media) Fellow 2018-2019
- ‘Magician: Walking Back The Cat’ as part of ‘Entity of Spatial Existence’ Curatorial Project Showcase, curated by Yoon Suok-won. Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) 2018 – 8 Sep – 28 Oct, Gillman Barracks, Singapore