Δευτέρα, 13 Σεπτεμβρίου 2010

“Places: Sterile. Two Finnish Photographers”


Photography Center of Thessaloniki participates in the 2nd PHOTOBIENNALE /21st International Photography Meeting, organized by the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (...more exhibitions)
with the exhibition
"Places: Sterile. Two Finnish Photographers”

The opening is on the 27th of September, 2010 at 20.30' at the Municipality of Neapolis gallery.

Participants are: Kari Soinio and Harri Palviranta.

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City of Ghosts by Kari Soinio

The City of Ghosts shows anonymous people at the street level, photographed out of focus. Those people, walking the streets of a metropolis are juxtaposed with old corporate buildings and prestigious apartment buildings with only slices of upper floors in focus. By combining architectural photography and street photography, City of Ghosts discusses both the permanence of the city and the constant social changes in it. It also looks into the beauty of architecture and the fleeting nature of human life.
The high rise, vertical city also creates and symbolises social differences. The higher you are the higher you really are also in the socioeconomic ladder. The world looks quite different seen from street level or from the fortieth floor.
Where we live shapes and defines us. Our surroundings, both the people and the physical environment, create a sence of belonging and attachment to the place. The buildings, the physical set of our lives are crusially important for us. They are the frame.

City of Ghosts as a photographic project started from a notion of how a tourist, or any newcomer for that matter, in a city as large and impressive as New York would look constantly up in awe of the vertical city. Something that new yorkers almost never do.
As a newcomer myself, nearly twenty years ago, I myself experienced those feelings of awe and constant neck pain during my first weeks in the city. I looked and admired the beautiful architecture and sheer scale of everything and tried at the same time to avoid bumping in to people on the streets. Those experiences lead me later on to think deeply of the nature of the city and eventually to this project, City of Ghosts.
The vertical strength combined with horizontal solidity makes New York unique. A place of no comparison. New York is also a constantly changing city and my project is partly an attempt to look into that change and to respect the importance of that change.
It is also an attempt to show respect and admiration to that built environment and to see some of the risks the change can mean to the city.

I live and work in Helsinki in my native Finland. I am however also a one time resident and a very frequent visitor of New York, where I have been recently working on my project City of Ghosts.
I am strongly interested in representations of landscape and the ways we recognize and remember. I have previously experimented with out of focus images and how they recreate things we have memories of. Throughout my career I have explored themes of identity: corporeality and place, the sense of belonging somewhere.


Kari Soinio
kari@karisoinio.com
www.karisoinio.com




Harri Palviranta / project description

GFWP – The Great Finnish Weapons Project

The Great Finnish Weapons Project is a photographic study on Finnish weapons culture. Finland (population around 5.3 million) has a long tradition of hunting and weapons-bearing, and today Finland has one of the world's highest gun ownership rates with about 1.6 million firearms in private hands, plus perhaps some 30 000 to 100 000 illegal weapons in possession of the people.
There are approximately 2 500 shooting ranges around the country. Circa 80 percent of Finnish men learn to handle weapons during their compulsory military service. Guns are commonplace in Finland.

My aim is to photographically discuss and interprete issues relating to weapons cultures. Recent school shooting in Finland – in November 2007 in Jokela (9 dead) and in September 2008 in Kauhajoki (11 dead) – has increased my motivation for this.

But instead of just condemning the weapons culture, as a starting point it is necessary to admit that weapons and shooting are tied to contradictory societal practises and individual feelings – weapons are at the same time frightening, useful and fascinating. This contradictory feature is firstly related to bigger issues such as national defence practises, the right for a nation to defend herself in the case of an offensive. Secondly, weapons handling is tied to identity building, the
production of aggressive heroic malehood. Thirdly, it should be notified that shooting and hunting are sports that teach people social skills and discipline. Forthly, it really is odd that people enjoy owning items that are originally ment for killing. Following this ambiguous state of affairs, I have chosen a photographic approach that is documentary but not in an traditional observative way, rather in a reflective manner. My intention is to visualize the oddity within this culture and
aesthetisize the topic by binding it to corporeal and emotional issues.

I am constructing The Great Finnish Weapons Project as a three-chapter narrative:

Chapter I – The Touch
This chapter includes pictures of men touching weapons at homes, at the shooting ranges and at the auctions. The touch can even be warm, and therefore a weapon can appear as a fetish or as a prosthesis.

Chapter II – Shooting ranges
This chapter focuses on places that are on the one hand disconnected and isolated locations in a periferic environment, and on the other hand legitimate grounds for practising explosive acts. Shooting ranges are kind of universes of their own, where alternative discourses and practises are present, where society becomes exposed in a layered manner.

Chapter III – Chromogenic colour prints on aluminium, shot
These are plain white photographs mounted on aluminium and then shot by shooters at the shooting ranges. This chapter introduces wounds and smell of gunpowder into the series. It also deals with issues around indexicality in photography, contrasting the photographic trace with the wound caused by the bullet.

The Great Finnish Weapons Project is a work in progress, I started working with it in 2008. My intention is to conclude the whole project for spring/summer 2010. Altogether The Great Finnish Weapons Project will be a rather big in volume and intensity. It will be first exhibited in full volume in April 2010 in gallery Uusitalo in Helsinki, Finland.

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