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
There is a gap between what I hope to know and what is captured.
I find myself in that liminal, ambiguous space.
See the whole set; ‘Mani’
I photograph what I hope to know.