Photofusion Gallery talk

posted by Michael on 22 September 2010

Last night's "in conversation" organised by Photofusion in Brixton was a great success.

Photofusion gallery talk

The discussion covered Kurt Tong's two series, "In Case it Rains in Heaven" and "Memories, Dreams Interrupted", both on show in the gallery as well as more general discussions about his approach to work. This was interspersed with a lively aside and much comment from the audience on a piece in the Guardian in which Alex Soth explained his 7 year old daughter had shot his contribution to the Brighton Photo Biennial.

Kurt TongKurt explained much about the Chinese practice of making paper offerings to the dead as featured in the "In Case it Rains in Heaven" series. He also explained that because of the superstitions attached to this practice no studios in Hong Kong where he shot these pictures would allow him to bring the offerings onto their premises. Instead Kurt used a makeshift studio.

His explanation of the thinking behind the Memories series highlighted his concern with combining the physical nature of photograph making and the conceptual. The images were produced by distressing and almost destroying sheet film by x-raying, heating and freezing it, and then using the characteristics of different scanners to pull out different parts of Bridget Coakerthe information which he then put together in Photoshop. This is, for Kurt, an analogy with what we understand memory itself to be, something that is constantly revised and altered by revisiting it. Kurt drew a comparison between how memory constantly develops and what happens when a jpeg is repeatedly opened and re saved and opened and re saved. The result is something new, albeit corrupted in the case of the jpeg.

The conversation continued in the Prince round the corner.

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