I’m pleased to report that my piece You Did This to Yourself has been shown as part of an exhibition and project at the University of Leicester, ‘Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence’.
A big part of the project is a paper publication and the website which act as platforms for the art, practical advice, and factual information (challenging many of the myths which provoked me to create You Did This to Yourself in the first place).
I also contributed a written piece, ‘Rape and the artist’, which I hope I will be able to share with you soon. For now, check out www.talksv.uk
How do we visualise sexual violence in this ‘#metoo‘ era? I will be (partially) attempting to answer this question later this month at the International Conference for Photography and Theory.
The media narrative seems to be that much is changing (or about to change), but I’m not so sure. Looking at the photographic history, we are seeing a re-run of previous ‘survivor’ focused stories and images. However, new ground is being tentatively broken by a few photographers and publishers… and their methods could prove better at affecting legal and political change than our current way of envisioning sexual violence.
I’m seeking any publication or platform that might be interested in publishing some of my research (a series of blog posts?). If anyone has a clue or lead, please let me know.
I hope to share more about my research, but for now, here’s my piece, ‘You Did This to Yourself’ [Trigger warning: sexual violence] from 2011. For the conference, I’ve updated and re-explored the research I did back then. Even ‘post’ #metoo (as media pundits like to say), I think the same fundamental problems that I identified here exist in our cultural representations of sexual violence – preventing us from defeating it.
You Did This To Yourself from Madeleine Corcoran on Vimeo.
Read more about the piece.
Blue fence, empty land behind…I’ve been watching and photographing this fence for at least a year now. Wondering how it can remain unoccupied when so many people in London face a housing crisis; Suspecting that would be property developers were holding on to it, watching their investment rise… Over many months, the blue fences have been broken down, patched up again, repainted. They’ve warped in the sun and rain, they’ve been decorated with sherbet coloured graffiti. Someone installed a peephole with a convex lens. A poster nailed to the fence reads, “We’re full of business ideas?” above the heads of a crowd of people. They are without feet as the bottom half of the poster is missing. I’ve heard dogs barking, playing somewhere across the far side of the land, and birds singing in the shrubbery. Now I see that a development is planned, and that 65% of properties will be at market rate. We all know the market is inflated beyond even the average earner, let alone the marginalised and impoverished. So goodbye fence, goodbye blossom tree, goodbye someone’s hope for a home.
After writing this, I found out that there is a petition. The page also contains information about the planned development – Lewisham Council: Develop Besson Street for Local Housing Needs
I have two pieces of news. Not only has photographer, editor and all round unique genius, Myriam Cawston launched Artistika Magazine, in order to bring readers explorations into skilled, sincere and beautiful art, but I have an article in it where I discuss Kazuma Obara’s project Exposure, which won the World Press Photo ‘People’ category in 2015. Excerpt below and find the whole article in the magazine; “Chance and Craft: Photographing Chernobyl’s legacy”.
Perhaps the most interesting photography is that photography which struggles at the edge of what is possible in the medium. Aritstika‘s interest in interdisciplinary forms and moments also brings us to that border between one medium and another, or where one medium fades off into something a little indefinable.
These borders must be explained. It is easy to stand on the sidelines of a discipline, calling out, usually in opaque styles, the weaknesses of the core discipline. We may not want to say that ‘clever’ works are poorer for their cleverness, but what we can say is that they command a more narrow audience: those who are in on the joke, in on the discipline, usually in an academic sense.
It is harder to play in the borders of a medium in a way that is sincere and communicative. It is this type of endeavour that leads me to Kazuma Obara’s project Exposure, something of a documentary piece, which draws on fine art and a sense of the artefact to respond to the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
As Obara told World Press Photo, upon receiving first prize in their People category in 2015, his aim with Exposure was to “help people imagine the invisible problems” that the nuclear explosion has left in its wake… Read the full article in Artistika
London, 2015 © Madeleine Corcoran, 2015
I have an ongoing love affair with disposable cameras – the cheap kind with cardboard housing. I’ve used them for years to photograph my environment and things I see when walking around, but I wanted to see what would happen when I used them in the hectic and peopled world of the backstage of a catwalk show.
The beauty of the disposable for me is that they are so unassuming. Most people don’t notice you are taking a photograph when you use them, and even if they see the camera, they think it looks so simple and unprofessional that it must be meaningless. This means their reactions don’t change too much.
Also, of course, I love their limits: the grain, the faded or warped colours, the blurs and blocky depth. They are everything that an Instagram filter wishes it was.
The joy of handing in another disposable camera for processing – usually having forgotten what is actually on the film – is a fizzing, sherbert kind of excitement. When I pick up the prints, I consume them immediately – standing in a Boots, or on an elevator into an underground station.
But it’s mainly all about the clicking – the little plastic shutter button just going click click click – consuming the world with my eyes.
It’s my way of connecting with the joy of making a photo.
Disposable camera, Paris 2014.