Primal: Scream, Therapy and Scene

INFORMING CONTEXTS – CONTEXTUAL RESEARCH

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Discussing my current practice with my tutor Paul Clements, about a month ago I discovered Doctor Arthur Janov’s “Primal Therapy”. Since, in a previous article, I analysed how important discovering his work has been for the creation of Lennon/Ono’s “Plastic Ono Band” albums and, subsequently, to  my project “I can hear you now”, I think it’s necessary to share a video which Janov himself explains what the therapy he created is about.

Dr. Arthur Janov, What is Primal Therapy, 2008, released on Dr. Janov’s Primal Center official YouTube channel. ©Dr. Janov’s Primal Center, Santa Monica, CA

In 2010, Joachim Hamou shot in Los Angeles a film named “The Primal Scene” linked to Janov’s Method. The full movie has been released in 2011 and, about his work, the director stated: “It’s hard to resume what the film is about, which is a good reason to see it… But this much I can tell you. There are several scenes with Arthur Janov, the man who invented Primal Therapy…” (Hamou, 2011).

In an extract, we can see an example of primal regression of a patient, managed by Dr. Janov in his Primal Center in Santa Monica, California. In my opinion, directly observing how the Primal Therapy works, allows viewers to understand its potential in individuals’ self-analysis process.

Joachim Hamou, The Primal Scene, Therapeutic Regression scene, 2011. Released on YouTube in 2013. ©Joachim Hamou

I think that images are often a far more powerful medium than verbal explanations, and this is why I think that anyone, even if not interested in this technique, should watch this video, in order to better understand the deep emotional impact it had on the portrayed person.

References:

Hamou Joachim, The Primal Scene, 2011, Los Angeles, CA. Full Movie available on Joachim Hamou Vimeo profile page https://vimeo.com/70777468

Janov Arthur Dr., The Primal Scream. Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis, 1970, Dell, United States.

Janov Arthur Dr., What is the Primal Technique, 2008, Dr. Janov’s Primal Center, Santa Monica, CA.

Primal Therapy, official YouTube channel, managed by Dr. Janov’s Primal Center, Santa Monica, CA https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQCJlMlP-EpENSM-S5ocS7g

Primal Scream and the Plastic Ono Band: from therapy to the artistic release-process

INFORMING CONTEXTS – CREATIVE RESEACH

“Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis” is a book written by Doctor Arthur Janov, in which he describes his experience with his first patients, during 1967/68, after he discovered and developed the Primal Therapy. Doctor Janov stated that he’s been inspired by Sigmund Freud’s early works and that the process he elaborated had a 100% cure rate.

His medical hypothesis was that psychological problems are generated by trauma during early childhood and that birth is simply the first one of them. These traumatic occurrences, then, can be re-experienced and emotionally discharged by the act of screaming.

The Primal Therapy’s basis can be explained by a simple scheme:

NEED → PAIN → REPRESSION.

To resume its main ideas, we’ve been born with certain needs and, when those needs are not met, we start experiencing a state of frustration and we are in pain: when we feel too much pain, the repression phase starts. With the Primal Therapy, each individual can release that repressed pain, avoiding all those problems related to its constraint, such as rage, anxiety or depression.

The book became popular and inspired other therapists to offer similar therapies and John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Steve Jobs, among others, adhered to the Movement. Albert Goldman, writing “The Lives of John Lennon” in 1988, stated that Doctor Janov sent some copies of his book to celebrities, Lennon among others, and that the musician, subsequently, wanted to try the Primal Therapy, and this is why he moved with his wife to California to join him.

During 1970, Lennon gave an interview to Jann Wenner for the Rolling Stone Magazine, in which he explained the important role of Yoko Ono and Arthur Janov’s Primal Scream technique in that self-revelation’s phase of his life: in support to his statements, the interview coincided with the release of his most important solo-record “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band”.

It seems that Doctor Janov helped Lennon to deal with his childhood-related problems and to get deeper in touch with that damaged and injured little boy who had guided many of the musician’s actions in his past and the whole experience has been mirrored by the songs contained by  the “Plastic Ono Band” album, as a testimony released by that inner child himself and the adult he became.

john_lennon__plastic_ono_band-john_lennon__plastic_ono_band_a_1

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970, Apple Records, London. Cover Image ©Daniel Richter.

Lennon himself called his work “The first primal album” (Lennon, 1970) and it’s important to take in consideration its Ono’s version “Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band”, due to the fact that the two albums are almost identical, even in their covers, and they have been recorded and released at the same time. As John Lennon said about the two versions during an interview for Playboy, “In Yoko’s, she’s leaning back on me; in mine, I’m leaning on her” (Lennon, 1980).

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Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, 1970, Apple Records, London. Cover Image ©Daniel Richter.

Without Yoko Ono there would have been no Janov, without Janov there would have been no Primal Album. Yoko Ono was Lennon’s muse and guide: she was the one who inspired him with her art and personality and the one who pushed him to discover his true self and find out who he really wanted to be, as individual and as artist. As Jeremy Harding pointed out in his article for The Guardian, “The drift was emphatically unexperimental, autobiographical and expressive of John Himself. There simply was no interest in form as anything other than a means to that end” (Harding, 2000).

Both versions of the Plastic Ono Band albums are an inspiration to my practice, due to the fact that, since the very beginning, I intended to undertake a similar path by asking some musicians and composers to scream in music, creating a video with a proper music score out of the photographic portraits that depict the whole screaming process, currently contained by contact sheets.

As previously said and written, I think that we express ourselves and we perceive negative emotions in very different ways, and so it would be interesting proceeding with the collaboration with other artists to see how they would interpret my work and how they would face other individuals’ negativity, empathizing with them.

CONTACT-SHEET-VIDEO-SUSY-horiz72dpi

“I can hear you now – Process, Contact sheet 1, Horizontal version” ©Dayana Marconi 2016. Copyright for this gallery photo belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

My artistic research, compared with the one made by Lennon and Ono during the 1970s, is completely different, but as Yoko Ono’s album mirrored John Lennon’s work (and back), in my project different types of art mirror each other, while the emotions expressed by sitters and interpreted by the photographer have the same function in relation to viewers’ ones.

Of course, I am more focused on the photographic image and other different forms of art are used as reinforcement to better clarify a concept and the different interpretations that can be given to photographs portraying the same emotional process.

While observing a contact sheet, viewers maybe wouldn’t immediately imagine a video created with those stills, and so it would be a further step in empathising not only with the photographed subject, but with the artistic language itself. If they start wondering “What’s next? What can be done more with those images?”, maybe they will face the whole path with the same attitude. Seeing that a scream, then, can be produced not only by a voice but also in music, maybe they will start imagining what could be done differently or what their musical interpretation would have been in that specific case. Involving the audience at different levels, I think, it would allow to enhance not only empathy, which is necessary to interpret and analyse the presented subject matter, but also to push individuals to face and constructively discuss topics often considered as socially unacceptable or even denied.

 

References:

Goldman Albert, The Lives of John Lennon, 1988, William Morrow and Co., New York.

Harding Jeremy, The Dream is over: Lennon in search of Himself on The Guardian, December 2000 https://www.theguardian.com/music/2000/dec/21/thebeatles.johnlennon

Janov Arthur Dr., The Primal Scream. Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis, 1970, Dell, United States.

Lennon John, Davis Hunter, The John Lennon Letters: Edited and with an Introduction by Hunter Davies, 2012, Hachette Book Group, London.

Lennon John, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Released on 11 December 1970, Apple Records, London.

Ono Yoko, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, Released on 11 December 1970, Apple Records, London.

Sheff David, Playboy Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, published in January 1981 issue, interviewed by David Sheff, September 1980. ©1981 Playboy Press. Abstract on The Beatles Ultimate Experience website http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1980.jlpb.beatles.html

Visual Inspiration: Masao Yamamoto’s The Space Between Flowers

INFORMING CONTEXTS – CREATIVE RESEACH

While I was trying to understand what the best way to display my triptychs during an exhibition might be, since they are both vertically and horizontally oriented, I bumped into Masao Yamamoto’s project “The Space Between Flowers”.

Masao Yamamoto, The Space Between Flowers, 2010, Forward Thinking Museum. ©Masao Yamamoto/Forward Thinking Museum

The Japanese photographer creates small images because he consider them as objects he wants to hold in his hands. At the same time, my aim is to create photographs small enough to force viewers to go closer and observe those individuals I am portraying, their emotions, their screams.

About his installation, Yamamoto stated “The harder is where to put the first one. My installation has no beginning, you can start at any print. Where you start is where the story begins. For me, the story grows around the first print installed” (Yamamoto, 2010).

In the same way, while my project should have a precise path to follow proceeding from the introductive video to those triptychs, these last images can be seen in any order: the only important thing is that they must be watched grouped three by three.

Of course the portrayed subjects are completely different, but I’ve been inspired by his dreamy images and he made me think I should push my visual experimentation forward. About his photographs he said “My photos are so small, sometimes you can’t figure out what you’re looking at” (Yamamoto, 2010). While my stills could be “tiny” but not minuscule and the depicted subjects would be distinct, what it represents, proceeding from image to image, might not be as clear as it may seem. Each person is releasing a negative emotion with a scream, but the interpretation is completely up to the viewer who, after the whole path, might be able to detect those feelings or not using those “instruments” and information I provided before he could observe those faces and their expressions.

Masao Yamamoto, The Space Between Flowers, Exhibition, Images of the Prints’ arrangement, 2010, Forward Thinking Museum. ©Masao Yamamoto/Arnau Valls Colomer

As in Yamamoto’s case, I would like to surround viewers with my sitters’ faces and create a sort of choral effect, in order to make them feel a bit overwhelmed by the overall display: they have to feel the urgency to go closer to those portraits in order to restore that sense of control they need to deal with the presented subject matter. In this way, they will be obliged to approach those photographed individuals and maybe they will have the chance to deeper empathise with them, which is the main scope of the whole experience.

Furthermore, I think that the way in which Yamamoto displays his small prints perfectly represents the sense of anxiety that I constantly feel every day and so, placing my triptychs in a similar way, would also be a way to include myself again into the project: I simply would do it in a different way in comparison with the introductive video and the video self-portrait, but I would be fully represented while I am representing others. This would also reinforce my idea of the tight connection among photographer, sitters and audience mirroring each other again and again at different levels.

References:

Forward Thinking Museum http://www.forwardthinkingmuseum.com/about_us.php

Yamamoto Masao, The Space Between Flowers, 2006, Multimedia CD, Joy of Giving Something Inc. http://www.jgsinc.org/

Yamamoto Masao, The Space Between Flowers, Video-Interview directed by Arnau Valls Colomer for the Forward Thinking Museum, released in 2010 on the Museum official YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRCqSMF4KMfkIezagKJT4aQ

Yamamoto Masao, official website http://www.yamamotomasao.jp/

Charities’ Campaigns: Physical or Learning disabilities “Vs” Mental Health problems

INFORMING CONTEXTS – ADVERTS ANALYSIS

As analysed during these weeks of course, Charities that work to support people with disabilities often use adverts to portray them as individuals with special needs, unable to be independent or to have a productive role in Society.

This is easily explained if we consider the research conducted by Miller, Jones and Ellis, who found out that the audience is more willing to donate money if their prejudices find confirmation in those ads, so they can feel sympathy for the portrayed people rather than empathy and that a sense of guilt is a powerful stimulus, too.

However, as they pointed out into their “Group differences in response to charity images of children with Down syndrome”, “One initially depressing finding showed that the general public would be more likely to donate on seeing the more traditional, `guilt-evoking’ poster. However, a closer analysis revealed that this group was actually the least likely of all the groups to donate money: those groups who were most likely to donate showed a slight preference in favour of the less stereotyped poster. Thus it is concluded that charities who are looking for donations do not need to rely on feelings of pity and guilt; and in fact, for reasons of both fund-raising and consciousness-raising, would do better to use images which are positive and non-stigmatising” (Miller, Jones, Ellis, 1993).

If we analyse the two posters used for this Study, one from Mencap and the other created by the Down Syndrome Association

Mencap

Miller, Jones and Ellis , the two charity posters used in the study, ‘Kevin’ from Mencap and ‘David’ from the Down Syndrome Association, 1993. ©1996-2017 Down Syndrome Education International

we can easily observe the differences between the visual languages used and the texts reinforcing their message: one shows children affected by Down Syndrome as victims with no future, and only a small caption stigmatizes, then, this way to think at disability, while the second has less negative connotations, showing a different approach to this condition rather than “exhibit” a helpless child.

Here, we could see different kinds of messages related to the same topic, but are there differences in the use of language and images when we have to confront Charities’ adverts related to physical disabilities and psychological problems or disorders?

Since the “victimization” of disabled people in ads has been extensively discussed in the last two decades, I would like to consider and compare those ones that do not try to instill in the audience’s minds the idea that people with disabilities are hopeless and must be saved thanks to our supposed “superiority”.

A humorous attempt to convey a different message has been made by George & Dragon, the Agency that created the Campaign “H.I.D.E., End the Awkward for Scope in 2016.

Jim Gilchrist, Scope’s 2016 TV advert for End the Awkward campaign, 2016. ©Scope, UK

In this video, we can’t see any stigmatisation of the disability rather than the derision of the sense of embarrassment that often people demonstrate when they have to deal with the diversity. The message is clear: don’t hide yourself, don’t be afraid of doing or saying something wrong, just behave normally, since you are meeting a person like another. In fact, when the characters finally find out this matter of fact, they feel relieved and they start introducing themselves.

The roles, here, are inverted: what is commonly considered as different shows that the not normal thing is the reaction of those non-disabled people who can’t properly face a situation.

But what about those adverts related to psychological conditions, such as anxiety disorder, depression or social phobia? Can the message be conveyed in the same way? Probably not, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t find a positive attitude in those adverts related to this topic, too.

Mind, Mental Health: In our words, 2014. ©Mind, UK

In this video, 13 people talk about what is like to live with different types of mental health problems, what the worse things are, how they face their situation and what helped them.

Again, here we don’t see victims: we can simply observe common people speaking about their problems, not to obtain viewers’ sympathy, rather than to make us deeper empathise with them, to make us understand how they finally found out they were not alone, just like anyone of the audience who might be experiencing the same situation. Same as for physical disabilities, it’s something they (WE, I have to include myself) have to cope with and they must find out how to productively proceed with their existences not avoiding their condition or hiding, but facing it, supporting each other and telling their stories.

They don’t mask their pain but, at the same time, they show the audience how they became “fighters” every single day and the firm and calm language, their positivity and constructive attitude pervade our souls while we listen to them and look at their faces.

They hold the situation, they put themselves into play in order to support  others and, becoming Mind’s campaigners, they demonstrated everyone that they are not victims: they are helpers.

Confronting the two adverts, we see that the language used is completely different, but we can also see that a more positive attitude in discussing psychological disorders and learning or physical disabilities is possible and that the power of the message is not affected by it, but reinforced.

 

References:

Jardine Alexandra, End the Awkward, HIDE, on Creativity Online, September 2016 http://creativity-online.com/work/scope-hide/49104

Miller BY, Jones RSP, Ellis NC. Group differences in response to charity images of children with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Research and Practice. 1993;1(3);118-122.

Miller BY, Jones RSP, Ellis NC. Group differences in response to charity images of children with Down syndrome. Abstract of the Study published by Down Syndrome Educational Online website in 2017. © 1996-2017 Down Syndrome Education International. https://www.down-syndrome.org/reports/22/?page=1

Mind, Official website http://www.mind.org.uk/

Mind, Official YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/MindWebteam

Scope, About the disability, Official website https://www.scope.org.uk/end-the-awkward

Introductive Video: four ‘Characters’ empathising with the Author

INFORMING CONTEXTS – CREATIVE PRACTICE

“I can hear you now – Introductive video – Four ‘Characters’ empathising with the Author” ©Dayana Marconi 2017. Copyright for this video belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

This is the video that works as introduction to the project “I can hear you now”.
Since the whole work wants to be a journey into the interiority of individuals, starting from the idea that we are unable to properly communicate our negative emotions, I opted to begin from a video that portrays that lack of communication.

The portrayed subjects are non-professional actors, even if two of them had a brief amateur theatrical experience in the past, but I wanted to use a theatre as location and Cinema’s visual language to enhance the dialogue among different forms of art before enhancing the one among people.
As previously stated, each person didn’t act a role: I provided them with short monologues they had to translate in their native language or in the language they use in their everyday life and, then, I explained them that those words were about my personal experience only at the beginning of the shooting phase, because I wanted to record their genuine reaction to this information and I wanted to see if they could empathise with me or with that specific moment of my life.
Using different languages in order to be connected with me while not being able to do the same thing among them, they tried or to imagine how I would have reacted to that specific situation or they interiorised those words providing a personal “interpretation” according to what those monologue moved inside them.
We can observe four people communicating and not communicating at the same time: what they can’t tell each other by using words, they can express with their emotions, gestures and facial expressions. They weren’t feeling sympathy for the author, they were empathising with me and, at the same time, the visual choices and the music score perfectly represent who I am and the anxiety I often feel.

This video must be the starting point for this project since I want each viewer to feel confused about what is the discussed topic: it depicts the same disorientation we experience when we have to find out the interiority of another individual and his “socially unacceptable” negative emotions.
My hope is that each person who will watch this video at the end of this experience will be more open and curious to face what will come next.

It  must not be considered as an introduction in the sense of a brief explanation of the project, but it must open to viewers’ minds that sense of not understanding that can’t be simply faced verbally, because to understand its contents it’s necessary to put empathy into play. The potential audience doesn’t have to understand what the video is discussing, they have to sense it. They might think to have a clue of what the topic is about but not being sure enough to properly discuss it at this early stage, because it represents that common situation in which people face other individuals’ negative feelings or psychological problems and disorders without having the instruments to engage a constructive confrontation about them.

It’s communication and non communication at the same time. It’s been created to make people feel that uncomfortable sensation they usually experience when they have to deal with that unexpressed negativity and that lack of understanding.

They should want to proceed on that path made of other videos and photographs to find out what is the analysed subject matter and what is the aim of the project itself. They must start from the discomfort they experience every day until they can become more confident in understanding those emotions related to the human being while facing their own interiority. If after this video they will be more curious, it means that it worked somehow.

During its creation, everything perfectly worked since the very beginning, because my “sitters” immediately empathised with me representing each monologue as I would have done: from the calm detachment while talking about a traumatic experience, to the oscillation between a bitter sarcasm, sadness and anxiety, from my personal point of view about an occurrence in which I had a passive role, to the sense of isolation and loss both related to part of my childhood and my adult life.

What we can see are four individuals empathising with someone else in different ways: while the Russian speaking girl interiorised what she was saying, even relating it to her personal experience at some level, the English speaking woman, helped and supported by the decisions made during the post-production phase, represented my duplicity and my very Italian way to communicate, using gestures, different tones of voice and facial expressions. Confronting these two monologues, we can easily see differences between two individuals but even between two cultures in the way the two subjects communicate: the first one more introspective and the second one more sarcastically “exaggerated”. I enjoyed watching both of them because I could see different aspects of my personality arising from their internalisation of what they were saying. The Italian speaking man didn’t represent me, but my personal perspective of a person who had a deep negative impact in my life: he did it both talking about a fact related to the actual and directly talking to me, looking into my eyes since I was behind the camera. The last girl, the Chinese speaking one, perfectly represented the sense of loneliness generated by losing a beloved person, she was sitting there, alone among others, solitary, inaudible. What surprised me was the conversation I had with her a few days after the shooting: without specific explanations she was able to understand what I was talking about with those cryptic sentences.

Even the filmmaking and music score perfectly represent my inner reality: the fast cuts, the “noir” setting, the doubled dialogues that represent those contrasts in me and the anxiety pervading the whole video perfectly match with the music which underlines the contents in a biting way. I provided minor details: each person collaborating with me to create this video independently understood what they were supposed to do.

During the shooting phase, I actively contributed to the videomaker’s work: we decided together how to portray each person and what the final visual result had to be and so I had the chance to collaborate with the direction of the filming phase, but giving him all the freedom and space he needed to interpret my starting ideas.

What makes me said that this visual experiment can be considered as successful is the fact that each “participant” could empathise with me even if they could not completely understand what they were talking about or what they were representing. This is exactly the point from which I can start an actual conversation about negative feelings and their release to give space to positivity, because we must be able to look into the dark to deeper appreciate the light when we can see it.

I decided to start from a personal perspective since, as previously said discussing my video self-portrait, I opted for an inclusive approach from the very beginning of this project, because to give voice to my sitters and make their emotions audible, I absolutely had to participate and to start from my own inner world. Into this video my subjects are empathising with me, while I am doing the same thing while portraying them: my hope is that the viewers will give themselves a chance to experience the same emotions, because it will allow my work to enhance a deeper form of communication around this theme.

Author/photographer, sitters, viewers: we all mirror each other, and this is why everything expanded upon the question “Can you hear me now?”. We can’t actually hear others at this stage of the project, while my aim is to make those emotions perfectly audible at the end of the path.

Someone will agree with my choice of starting from this video and someone will not, someone will perceive those emotions while watching it and someone else won’t, but this is the point: this sort of experiment is a way to start a discussion, to move something inside those individuals who, then, will observe the other moving and still images, analysing what they will observe while analysing themselves. The important thing is the emotive impact in order to start an artistic discussion on an emotional level.

References:

Marconi Dayana, Vimeo Channel, https://vimeo.com/dayanamarconi

Photography: a combination of messages and contexts

INFORMING CONTEXTS – INDIPENDENT REFLECTION

As Susan Sontag pointed out in her “On Photography”, “The photographer’s intentions do not determine the meaning of the photograph, which will have its own career, blown by the whims and loyalties of the diverse communities that have use for it” (Sontag, 1977).

I think the author wanted to convey the idea that the message is into the photograph itself: it works or it doesn’t; the photographer can’t fully control if its message is perceived and how.

As practitioners, we can only try to better understand the photographic language and improve in making viewers understand what we want to photographically communicate.

I think photographs can always be evaluated as a message until, at least, one observer can give his personal interpretation of what he is looking at. I think that to be relevant to someone a meaning must not be generally considered as socially or culturally “important”, because not all photographers are focused on providing a transfer of meaning: some artists can be more absorbed by an aesthetic ideal, for instance and, in addition, some viewers consider more important the visual language used to create an image or its aesthetic result rather than a conceptual content.

My practice should be placed at the antipode in relation to this position: I am not focusing on post-production or on specific sitters rather than others, I want to portray each individual that wants to be portrayed and I am doing my best in focusing more on contents than on editing. The editing phase and images’ post-production must be simply focused on enhancing the content of my images, the message I am trying to communicate collaborating with my subjects.

So, can my practice be considered as a message? Yes.

What ideas am I trying to disseminate with this message? That a more deep level of communication among people is possible, that my sitters are there to be actually and properly heard and seen as individuals, that empathy is something necessary and a value that should be strengthen in order to better interact with the Society we live in instead of being simply shaped by it, in accordance to a scale of values that tends to avoid individual differences, favouring a sort of emotional and behavioural standardization.

I am not saying that all observers will perceive what I am trying to make them understand because, again, we can’t fully control the message, especially in a Society in which the spectacularization of the pain is the daily routine: I have to quote Sontag again, in this case, when she says “Shock can become familiar, shock can wear off.  Even if it doesn’t one cannot look. People have a means to defend themselves against what is upsetting, one can become habituated to the horror of certain images” (Sontag, 2003). This is why I am not trying to portray anything spectacular but the common human condition, in a simple and clear visual language. I am not trying to use a documentary style or to strike viewers’ attention with the aesthetic of my images, I am trying to make them concentrate on contents, on subjects and their emotions. The potential audience can understand it or not, can feel a sense of empathy or not, because, as Gardner said,  “If the same message and same tactics are being used all the time, then it just becomes wallpaper to a person and makes it far easier to ignore” (Gardner in Williams, 2009), and this is why I am trying to experiment different solutions in order to “touch” my potential audience and make people understand they are observing themselves while observing my photographs, that will have the function of a mirror.

As stated in a previous article, the context of consumption in which my work will be consumed will certainly change the way it will be perceived. As it will be, maybe, easier to properly convey the message during an exhibition in which I can display my contents in a certain way and manage the way in which they will be consumed, that could be impossible in a website or on a Magazine. I can provide indications about how to  proceed, what the best direction to follow might be, but in the case of a website users will, of course, focus on those images that visually appeal them even ignoring some of those parts that will constitute the body of work and in the case of the Magazine, editorial choices can change or even overturn its meaning.

Since the approach to images is different from viewer to viewer, I am combining my photographic work with different visual practices, such as Theatre and Cinema, using their languages and solution to reinforce my stills and to create a path with the aim of visually “educate” the audience: in this way, they will have the chance to observe contents from different perspectives and with different approaches, better understanding what the message and the intent behind my project are.

And what is the main objective? Not to create a body of work with a documentary intent, because, to use Martha Rosler’s words, “Documentary, as we know it, carries (old) information about a group of powerless people, to another group addressed as socially powerful” (Rosler, 1982), but to make viewers understand that they are part of the same powerful group of those sitter: what creates confusion and differences is that lack of active communication about negativity, emotions and psychological problems that I am doing my best to fight.

 

References:

Rosler Martha, Around and Afterthoughts on Documentary Photography, 1982, in Bolton Richard (ed.), 1992, The Contest of Meaning, MIT Press, Cambridge.

Sontag, Susan, On Photography, 1977,  Penguin London.

Sontag, Susan, Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003, Penguin London.

Willams Matt, Does Shock Advertising Still Work, in April 24, 2009, Campaign https://goo.gliNJKO

Working on Feedbacks

INFORMING CONTEXTS – FEEDBACK ANALYSIS

While reflecting on the received peer-reviews in relation to my project, I am currently trying to understand its potential from different perspectives.

I created an Instagram profile dedicated to “I can hear you now” to understand what the viewers’ reaction to my images might be. I have to admit that I didn’t expect a so positive response: in two days, about 160 people started following the page and the last post obtained more than 120 likes.

Of course, when we talk about a specific social media, we must understand that some photographs works better than others, and so, a combination of different tools and channels must be used to make the audience fully appreciate the project as a whole.

I started sharing images into this page by using a Regram App, in order to link my personal profile to this more specific one: in this way the visualisation could potentially become double, due to the fact that this application consent to share information related to the page from where the photographs have been taken from.

Combining the two profiles, I could see that on Instagram the most appreciated images are the long-exposure portraits and contact sheets: I presumed that, these are the ones that are more aligned with the style of the photographic language used in this App.

“I can hear you now”, Instagram Profile ©Dayana Marconi 2017. Copyright for this gallery belongs solely to Dayana Marconi. Images may not be downloaded without her permission.

Analysing followers and likes, I could see that I captured the attention of some Magazines and Photographers, such as The Editor Magazine, Shots Magazine, Ryan Jay and Francois Rotger. The intriguing fact is that the interest in my project often came from different fields than Fine Art: many of the followers generally focus their work on Fashion Photography and this made me think about how I could use the visual language I am refining at Falmouth to apply it to different contexts and photographic fields.

At the same time, I submitted my work to the attention of Lens Culture by participating to the “2017 Portraits award”. In this case, I didn’t submitted the whole project, but single portraits: I wanted to understand if, among others, they would have captured viewers’ attention as single images, too. I joined the contest by submitting a confrontation sheet and a contact sheet with other portraits related to different projects.

Lens Culture_Feedback

Dayana Marconi profile page on Lens Culture, Reviewer Feedback. ©Dayana Marconi 2017

By submitting a series of five single photographs, I had the chance to receive a brief review of my practice, which was my true intent.

Surprisingly, the response was very positive and the suggestions I received perfectly matched with the work I am doing at the moment.

They read my images as part of a more complex body of work, in which viewers’ interaction is necessary. I am glad they saw them as part of a Fine Art project with a conceptual and specific intent, because it’s exactly what I am trying to create.

I received, in this case, interesting and constructive suggestions about how to proceed in this path and, more broadly, in relation to my practice as a whole.

What they provided, then, were also recommendations related to reading materials, photographers I should better analyse, competitions in which my work might fit in and information about portfolio review festivals: basically, it’s been a sort of extension of the work I am currently doing at Falmouth with my Professors and Tutors. It’s been very useful and interesting.

I really needed to understand what strengths and weakness of my project are, because that is the starting point to proceed in creating a more integrated body of work.

By applying, I obtained a space into the Lens Culture website to share my photographs and make it more visible to Editors and Magazines. What I will do is to take advantage of this chance and create a second portfolio to give more visibility to this project before creating a dedicated website. In this way, I might have more materials and information in order to submit “I can hear you now” to the attention of Charities and photographic contests, also to better understand what the response will be in different contexts of consumption.

 

References:

Jay Ryan http://ryanjayphoto.com/

I can hear you now, Instagram Profile https://www.instagram.com/icanhearyounow/

Lens Culture, website https://www.lensculture.com/

Regram App, Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=regram.instagram.download&hl=it

Rotger Francois http://www.francoisrotger.com/

Shots Magazine https://www.instagram.com/shots_magazine/

The Editor Magazine http://theeditormagazine.com/