The Southbank Centre’s, London Literature Festival event, Data and Desire with Local Transport was a tremendous success.
During my first meeting with Local Transport’s Saskia Vogel, who was producing the event, I enthusiastically reeled off my ideas. I referred to, deconstructing photographs, experiments, audience participation, music, strippers, animation and sound effects! When I hung up Skype I took a breath and thought, how am I going to materialise the skills and knowledge to deal with this situation!
Luckily, Local Transport is super organised, contacting me a couple of months before the night, this meant I had time to blag, beg and teach my way through. Slowly the production plan began to take shape. Whilst hobbling on my fractured foot, animation software was learnt, stop motions produced, call sheets created, strippers sourced, contacted and rehearsed. My assistant Sarah, as usual, was on hand to sort out all the hiccups. Brilliant Sarah.
All was going to plan, but right up until the last moment I had this scared excited voice in my head repeating, how am I going to ‘perform’ an artist talk? How am I going to ‘perform’ photographs? All the artist talks I’d been to, I’d never seen photographs performed live before.
It was only a few days before the event when I felt things were finally congealing. Finding the stripper replacement ‘Chiqui Love’ from the East London Stripper Collective definitely gave me the confidence I needed. We spoke on the phone and she completely got my vision.
On the night ‘Chiqui Love’ brought such an amazing spirit to the performance. Half way through the act she entered from the back of the room whilst I described the Miller, Tybur and Jordan, 2007 experiment, ‘Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus?’ Her act engaged everyone and before I knew it I was carried away by the energy of the room and my act was over.
The event was a great triumph for London Transport who successfully discussed the topical theme of data to a sell out audience. I really enjoyed the other acts and their interpretations of Data and Desire.
Well done Saskia and Michael and contributors Rut Blees Luxemburg and Catherine Anyango. It was a fitting night to celebrate Local Transport’s first birthday. Looking forward to more years ahead.
Thank you to everyone who made it to the event, for those who didn't you can see images from the night here.
Its been a busy start to Autumn with my series 'Love Bomb' showing in NIDA, Lithuania and Braga, Portugal. Back in London my solo show 'Love is an Act' curated by Hannah Redler is still on at the Open Data Institute. The exhibition contains all my major works to date.
This Friday I'm returning to speak at the Southbank Centre for the London Literature Festival event, Data and Desire with Local Transport. The evening will present three short, sharp, multimedia performances from innovative artists and writers. Myself, Michael Salu & Rut Blees Luxemburg and Catherine Anyango will take the stage for fifteen minutes each. The evening will tell stories of love at first sight, dystopia and Big Data using words, photography and illustration. For my act I will be recreating love at first sight experiments with the assistance of audience participation and a pole dancer from the East London Stripper Collective. Live performance is a new avenue for me so I'm feeling a healthy mix of excitement and nerves! More details below to book a ticket.
My series 'Married Man' has recently been published by Here Press. There will be a book launch and signing Wednesday 21 October. The event is taking place at one of the pubs I frequently used for rendezvous' with Married Men, The Golden Heart, East London.
I'm now getting ready for Paris Photo where I'll be presenting the solo show 'Coup de Foudre / At First Sight' on the BMW Art & Culture stand, 12 - 15 November. Do let me know if you are planning to attend so I can send you tour and Coup de Foudre photobooth opening times.
I'm still looking for couples who have overcome a form of cheating in their relationship for Alain de Botton's School of Life short film commission - Why People Cheat? The film uses a philosophical approach to offer an alternative perspective to cheating. Do get in touch if you would like to know more.
I've just returned from my first visit to Lithuania. I was invited to speak about my work by Jonas Staselis at the 38th Tarptautinis Fotomenininku seminar. This annual meeting of photographers takes place in the very special town of Nida.
Nida, is located on the Curonian Spit between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea, it is the western most point of Lithuania and the Baltic states, close to the border with the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast exclave. It currently has about 1,650 residents and is best known for its artist colony. Since the 19th century artists have visited the area because of the combination of landscape, light and relaxed atmosphere. Even after my short stay I can definitely understand why creatives have always naturally gravitated to the area.
During my visit I gave a talk about my work and presented Love Bomb in the gallery next to the main conference room. The work ended up being installed without a tape measure, ruler or spirit level and when the work arrived it had been mounted onto foam board!? I had a split second of panic but quickly decided it was good opportunity to present Love Bomb in a more low-fi, ad-hoc way than I’d done before. On reflection the experience reminded me to be less precious about my work and remain at all times open to change and collaboration.
You could say the conceptually driven Love Bomb was pretty diverse compared to the work being discussed across the seminars. Most the audience had big Canon Mark II with telephoto lens around their necks! I felt they found the presentation of my rough snapshot imagery with text intriguing. After the talk we all moved to an after party of traditional Lithuanian fish. I chose the smoked Seabass which was eaten cold with my bare hands! Across dinner there was a plethora of questions and observations. It was a lively debate and as one of the only two female speakers across the whole week – I felt like I needed to be extra vocal to highlight and give a voice to the women in the industry.
The next day before heading back to London myself and the two other artists visiting from the UK, Discipula Editions’s Marco and Andrew Bruce, stopped by Kaunas Photo the longest-running annual photo art festival in the Baltic States to check out a few shows with the festival director.
This post is slightly off topic but since July I have been a member of London to Calais, a group of volunteers taking aid to the jungle of Calais. Last night we held a fundraiser organised by Izzy Wood, myself and the L2C team. The event was MC'ed by the incredible Imran Yusuf, who brought together the most amazing line-up including Mark Thomas and Paul Sinha.
There was a great vibe on the night and through laughter comics discussed issues of poverty, borders and identity.
All the tickets were sold within 24 hours! With ticket sales and a raffle (donated by comic Stephen K Amos) the total raised on the night was £1,200. The complete total of this money will go to the needy in the camp, as the comics, the venue, the helpers all donated their time for free.
To find out more please see London2Calais Facebook and you can donate HERE
This week MiniClick turned five! and I got to talk at the beautiful Unitarian Church, Brighton. It was a quick fire artist talk, 20 images, 20 seconds each - before it automatically flipped to the next one.
Miniclick formed in Brighton in 2010, it curates free talks and discussions, hosts participatory events, workshops and exhibitions and publishes affordable photography books and ‘zines with the remit of being open and accessible to all, experimenting with different ways of looking at images and focusing on stories and ideas instead of kit and cameras.
Very excited for my solo show 'LOVE IS AN ACT' opening at Open Data Institute, Shoreditch in just two days! We are busy with the finishing touches.
The show marks the start of my new residency with the ODI Data as Culture programme. I am very happy to begin work with this amazing company founded by Sirs Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt.
During private view there will be a screenings of the BMW residency documentary 'At First Sight’ in the Expert Pod and the new commission 'Fairytale for Sale – Reworked’ in the Fearless Pod. This film was a recent commission for Rencontres d'Arles between myself and composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch.
My two new books ‘Coup de Foudre’ and 'Married Man' will be on sale, for the one-night-only price £20. Thank you Here Press to allowing this advanced order sale before the official book launch.
If you can't make Love is An Act private view then you can join me for my lunchtime lecture tomorrow: Love, Data and Art collide... here's a little blurb.
‘Research and analysis of the everyday plays a major part in Natasha Caruana’s photographic practice. During the ODI lunchtime lecture Natasha will reflect on how technology and data has shaped her bodies of work. Through the gathering of pseudo-data it has enabled her to turn personal experiences of love, betrayal and fantasy into universal narratives. Gathering from the virtual, playing in the physical she navigates the grey areas, the cracks and slippage between right and wrong.’
I'm currently in Arles, France at Les Rencontres de la Photographie. I have returned to present my BMW Award solo show after I was announced the winner of the musèe Niepce residency last year.
It is incredible to think that within 10 months 'At First Sight / Coup de Foudre' has been created into an exhibition, book and film. There has been so much support for the project and I thank everyone who has played a part in making this happen.
During the first two weeks of the festival an image from the ‘At First Sight’ series will be part of a group show, consisting of a series of 17 billboards. This group show includes work by Martin Parr, Stephen Shore, Paul Ronald and Alice Wielinga. It will be displayed at Cité metro station, Paris 7 – 21 July. I will also have a large billboard of my work at Gare de Lyon throughout the summer. Please check it out en route or on your return from Arles.
When I'm back in London next week I'll be busy finalising 'Love is and Act' opening at the Open Data Institute (ODI) in Shoreditch 16 July. The ODI is a non-profit private company founded by Sirs Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt. This new organisation is catalysing the evolution of open data to create economic, environmental and social value. The show within the headquarters office launches the start of my new artist in residence. I will be based at the ODI between July - December working on a proposal for a major new series to be completed towards the end of 2016. Do pop in and say hi!
I've just spent a super birthday weekend in Liverpool to formally open the photo festival LOOK/15:EXCHANGE. My new work 'At First Sight' was screened as part of an audio-visual presentation alongside sound compositions from none other than Liverpool’s DJ Yousef.
Celebrating contemporary female photography, Anna Fox story-boarded the work of several contemporary female photographers into a Gothic/Baroque installation in the Tate foyer. Across multiple screens the narrative played out - emotionally and visually – to a crowded and buzzing room. The images were screened to a live soundscape by international DJ Yousef.
I personally thought it was a very interesting and original way to display photography, particularly as part of an opening event. There was a collective style across all the exhibitors’ work and through Anna’s transitions; including flashing, blurring and overlapping all the female photographers works moved seamlessly between into one another, whilst still feeling distinct.
Follow this we headed to the after show party ‘Disco Glitter Love’ at Constellations to hit the dance floor. Happy Birthday to me!
Greetings from France,
I am currently on an artist residency at the Musèe Nicèphore Nièpce, France. I was announced as the winner of the BMW Artist in Residency Award 2014, during Recontres d'arles this summer. Thank you for your best wishes when I revealed I was shortlisted. I am sure all your crossed fingers helped.
During my time at the museum I am working on a new photographic series which searches for the truth behind Love at First Sight. I am drawing from literary and personal narratives from the people of Chalon-sur-Saône. Accompanying this material is an examination of key scientific studies analysing the phenomenon.
I will be presenting a small work-in-progress show within the BMW collection, Paris Photo, Grand Palais, 12th - 16th November. If you're heading to Paris Photo this year do pop along and have a look. If you are unable to make it, please put Arles 2015 in your diaries. During the festival I will be presenting a solo show and launching a book publication of the completed work.
To glimpse into my life here at the museum; my research, sketchbook, shoots and adoption of French culture, you can view my weekly visual diaries posted on my facebook artist page.
Another academic year is over!
It's been a busy time enjoying the first few weeks of research leave. I'm full steam ahead with a couple projects and can feel my creative flow setting in.
I'm off to this years Les Rencontres d'Arles festival. My bag is packed and my fingers are crossed in anticipation! You'll find me on the opening night waiting to hear the results of the BMW Artist Residency Award at the incredible musée Nicéphore Niépce. I'm down to the final few! Winning the award would mean spending autumn living and working in France to create a major new body of work. The series would then be exhibited as a solo show in Rencontres d'Arles 2015 and Paris Photo at the Grand Palais. There will also be a book published, award money and a short film documenting the chosen winning artists journey.
...All in all a pretty incredible opportunity!
SO please join me in crossing EVERYTHING for Tuesday!
I'm just back from spending an amazing three days on the hills of Lancashire shooting 'The Detective'. What fun!
It was the first time shooting with a large 10x8 plate camera. Thankfully I was surrounded by an incredible team. Thank you to Vicki Churchill - lighting expert, Andrew Bruce- camera operator, Sarah Howe - assistant, Simon Sweetman - production assistant. YES! What a team!
'The Detective' is new is a visual arts project combining photography, audio and print. The work documents Rebecca Jane, owner of the Lady Detective Agency, the UK's leading all female staffed private detective agency, one of only three of its kind in the country. The final work will explore love, trust and infidelity, whilst weaving together narratives of motherhood and sorcery.
Over the two shoot days we had to dodge some rain. A hightlight for me was definitely seeing Rebecca, husband and kiddies all nestled under the umbrella. Too cute!
Feeling in a bit of a creative funk I took a trip to France to visit the musée Nicéphore-Niépce collection. I had heard stories of their treasure for quite a while and decided - I had to go and see for myself!
The museum is in Chalon-sur-Saône, France and directed by François Cheval. The building is filled will the most passionate team of curators, archivists and more.
I primarily went to research the 'Detective' newspaper for new work inspiration but ended up finding so many wonderful artifacts around my research topic of love, fantasy and betrayal.
One incredible collection was based on paradox. A wife and best friend ran off with the husband... later the cheated wife photographically erased all her exhusband faces in an attempt to banish the pain from memory.
Curated and introduced by Steven Bode
Speakers: Artists Natasha Caruana, Adam Broomberg, Oliver Chanarin, Julie Henry and Lucy Kimbell
Theorist and critic Sean Cubitt
Writer, lecturer and curator Julian Stallabrass
To coincide with the last days of Only in England, the symposium looked back on the influential legacy of Tony Ray-Jones, and ahead to the future. When Ray-Jones was taking the iconic photographs that made his name in the late 1960s, he did so to chronicle and celebrate the particular eccentricities and social rituals of the English, which he feared were at risk of disappearing with Americanisation.
In the increasingly globalised world of the early 21st century, the day discussed if equivalent expressions of cultural identity, or equally idiosyncratic social rituals and behaviours, that modern life seems to be passing by - and who are the contemporary artists and photographers who are recording them? In the age of the ‘selfie’ and social media, might it be the figure of the Photographer, as observer and recorder of social change, that is becoming passé, destined to be replaced by a new type of collective ‘portrait’ formed from the aggregation and analysis of big data?
The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art is a very special place. It presents changing exhibitions of new work by artists from around the world. The gallery lives above the Sunderland town library - so literally everyday it brings new art to new audiences!
"It offers opportunities to emerging and established artists to present work at critical points in their careers and audiences the chance to see the stars of tomorrow today" This is so TRUE! The director Alistair Robinson has been an incredible champion of my work since he saw my work-in-process show at the RCA.
As part of the North East Photography Festival my work 'Fairytale for Sale' is in 'YOU ARE THE COMPANY IN WHICH YOU KEEP'. It was a real joy to show the complete series all 202 images together for the first time.
The exhibition reveals the diverse ways in which photographers and artists using lens-based media have created images that map out our new social networks - observing the patterns of which structure our social existence, or forecasting what the twenty-first century has yet to bring. Many of the artists might be described as working in anthropological or ethnographic ways, observing how our experience of the world is mediated through camera lens, and asking how far photographic images structure our imagination. They ask: in the twenty-first century, are images the means by which we are socialised, and the means by which we can know ourselves? Do the images that we consume and internalise become the imaginative materials that we are made of?
Talked about my new work in the safety of my project development group. I've been working really hard with the wonderful Labyrinth Lab in East London to handprint my recipes and love potions. The evening went well... good feedback and a couple of things for me to consider moving forward.
Natural light is the way to go! The edgiest shoot so far... i'd clearly left the scary recipes till the end... now I had to deal with exploding toilet cleaner with tin foil and cutting my finger to put droplets of blood on a handmade loaf.
A studio visit by Marisa founder of the new Roman Road Project Space. Good to see a new photographic art space on the scene. WIth each solo show they produce a fantastic small publication. Worth checking out if you're East.
Schools out for summer! Hello summer reading and sketchbooking!
And a sad goodbye to colleague and friend Martin Pover. He's sadly leaving Farnham and heading off into the sunset for the joys of retirement.
Martin has been a great supporter of my teaching career and has always been on hand for union advice over a coffee. THANKS Martin. x
Reshooting- still with both natural light/ flash. Medium format and 35mm. Trying to find the right aesthetic.
I love a photo festival! Especially one which is easy to reach when a spontaneous road trip calls!
Diffusion is a new festival to add to the Photographers' calender. I headed down for a weekend with Lisa Barnard. We saw some interesting work and had a good catch up. I enjoyed Edgar Martins at Ffotogallery, finally getting to ThirdFloor Gallery and topping off the weekend with Helen Sear's excellent solo show opening at BayArt Gallery.
You can see an extented 'Diffusion' album of images on FB.
1. The Tramshed, Diffusion Festival
2. Peter Bobby, 'High Rise' The Tramshed, Diffusion Festival
3. Helen Sear, 'Lure' BayArt Gallery