[Estranged interiorized landscape
ostranenie concept viktor schklovsky [initial russina formalism, Malevich]
Simon Whatney on enstrangement in Shattered Mirror, in On Photograpghy, ed. Victor Burgin
Brecht V effect wells critical theory
[E]strange[d] interior[ized] Landscape
This exhibition proposes a particular approach to landscape photography. Without attempting a clear definition of the concept of landscape it may be sufficient to remember, for example, that in the portuguese case the definition is clearly tied to the construction of an image of a country, an idea widely explored since the 1930s by the Salazar regime, especially through the medium of photography.
It proposes a vision of landscape as a staged scene, more or less directed, and registered by photography. This small gesture of the photographic device establishes a register in time (more precisely, in an infinite fraction of time) of a particular scene direction that can come from the photographer or from those that have altered the landscape.
And at this point the idea of making strange (“[E]strange”) comes in, where scenes that we may take for granted as familiar cease to be so. This transformation of the familiar into the strange has various routes and their identification can give us an orientation towards accessing additional meanings of the works presented.
This orientation is given through diverse ways, from the absence of the camera, to the presence of a sensor that widens the visible spectrum available to the device, by initially declaring an apparently traditional approach (or not) to landscape, by the presence of non-places and the effects these have on their surroundings, by the presentation of bodies or volumes rendered strange by the point of vision and/or frame, or even by the most everyday factor present in our lives, that re-minds us, when least expected, the extraordinary side of our existence, chance.
If chance leads us to re-member, at the same time it urges us towards the search of plausible terms of reference. In other words, the landscape made strange by the photographic device in its re-presentation is a possibility for a renewed and deepened perception, the possibility of considering diverse terms of reference.
The diversity of approaches and landscapes presented here do not refer to the construction of any country in particular, they do refer to the possibility of creating many worlds, the possibility of the existence of diverse coordinate systems, that can be interior(ized) towards a widened critical sense, of the landscape that surrounds us and, necessarily, and ultimately, of the photographic device itself.
Armando Ribeiro, one of the participating photographers in the Casa das Artes exhibition, was a founding member of ASA Collective, a heterogeneous group composed by three photographers with diverse experiences, that had as a common denominator the idea of telling stories through the photographic image, a privileged means towards promoting critical though on contemporary issues of global human interest.
During one of his recent visits to Lisbon (his last project “Depressive landscapes” was published in book format and has just been released in Lisbon), Armando proposed to add a multimedia extension to the initial exhibition project, curating and editing a selection of projected works. This group of seven photographic works presented in a multimedia projection format represent a virtual extension of the essential concepts of the show and add to its central motivation by reinforcing its global character and dimension.