Val Williams looks back at Peter Mitchell and Leeds in the 1970s – Sara Davidmann takes’ Ken’ to the ALMS conference – Corinne Silva, Eva Sajovic, Alice Cazenave and Melanie King make a huge cyanotype - Ed Clarke, Crofton Black and Max Houghton at the Frontline Club
Looking Back at the 1970s in Peter Mitchell’s work.
In the late 1970s, PARC Director Val Williams worked with Leeds photographer Peter Mitchell on a new show for Impressions Gallery, where Val was founder co-director. Val got to know Peter after seeing his work advertised on a poster for a small exhibition in west Yorkshire and was struck by its immediacy and inventiveness, and particularly by his use of diary entries to accompany the photographs. In a time when gallery photographs were small and monochrome and words played little part in photographers’ methodologies, the work seemed spectacular.
In July, the exhibition which Val and Peter put together- A New Refutation of theViking 1V Space Mission will be re-staged at the Arles Festival in France for a new audience. There is an interesting collection of memorabilia from the New Refutation exhibition in the Val Williams Archive at the Library of Birmingham, including a copy of Photographers magazine which formed the catalogue, and the invitation with badge and model plane.
Looking back, Val remembers:
‘I was so intrigued when I first saw Peter’s work. It dealt with the detail of life in 1970s Leeds, which was both in decline and overshadowed by the presence of the serial killer, the Yorkshire Ripper. It was great to show Peter’s work from this series again in an exhibition at the Gardner Centre at the University of Sussex in 2004 and in the show I co-curated with Susan Bright in 2007- How We Are, at Tate Britain- where it was exposed to a new and large audience'.
For the beginnings of Val’s Archive website visit www.valwilliams.uk- it’s growing all the time and the first section looks at the first years of Impressions Gallery, when it was part of the UK photography renaissance.
Capture the Sun with Melanie King, Alice Cazenave, Corinne Silva and Eva Sajovic
Sunday 5 June, 11.30am – 3.30pm
Embassy Gardens Marketing Suite, Nine Elms Lane, London, SW8 5BL
Join photographer Melanie King and artists Corinne Silva and Alice Cazenave in a family workshop to create a massive cyanotype print using sunlight and flowers from Covent Garden. Suitable for children aged 5+ with supervision. Book your free place at www.nineelmslondon.com
Nine Elms on the South Bank Chelsea Fringe Festival
Ken. To be destroyed: Photography, a transgender relative and a family archive. 22 June 2016
This conference paper will be presented by Dr Sara Davidmann, PARC member and Reader in Photography at LCC, at LGBTQ+ Archives, Libraries, Museums and Special Collections "Without Borders" conference June 22nd-24th 2016. As part of the conference there will also be a book signing with Val Williams and Sara Davidmann on June 22nd at the Bishopsgate Institute.
Archives, Libraries, Museums and Special Collections (ALMS) 2016, an International LGBTQ+ Conference hosted by the City of London through London Metropolitan Archives in partnership with Bishopsgate Institute and the University of Westminster.
Ken. To be destroyed is published by Schilt
and is on show at the Schwules Museum, Lützowstraße 73, 10785 Berlin, March 17–June 30.
Frontline Club: The New War Photographers: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition
Tuesday 7 June 2016, 7:00 PM
PARC are delighted to partner with The Frontline Club, for a new series of events examining how today’s photographers are finding new strategies to bring to light important information in the public interest – information that governments would rather remained secret. Working with lawyers, human rights specialists – and becoming rigorous investigators in their own rights – these new war photographers reveal the invisible battlefields that have been multiplying the world over since 9/11.
For this first event of the series we welcome photographer Edmund Clark and counterterrorism investigator Crofton Black, in conversation with Max Houghton, who have assembled photographs and documents that confront the nature of contemporary warfare and the invisible mechanisms of state control.
Since George W. Bush’s 2001 declaration of the “war on terror” until 2008, more than one hundred people disappeared into a network of secret prisons organised by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. These so-called “high value detainees” were transferred across the globe on contracted business jets, without legal process – otherwise known as extraordinary renditions. Their movements were never made public. Some were sent to Guantanamo Bay or released; others remain unaccounted for.
In a new volume of work, Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition, Clark and Black have recreated the network that links CIA ‘black sites’ – travelling worldwide to photograph former detention sites, prisoners’ homes and government locations; and assembling a paper trail that exposes the weak points of this unlawful system hidden in plain sight.
This event will be moderated by Max Houghton, senior lecturer in photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. She previously ran the documentary photography MA at the University of Westminster, and edited the photography biannual 8 magazine for six years. She writes regularly on the arts for publications including FOAM, Photoworks, 1000 Words and The Daily Telegraph.
Crofton Black has spent over six years carrying out in-depth international investigations into counterterrorism tactics on behalf of the human rights group Reprieve, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and other organisations. He has a doctorate of philosophy from the University of London on the topic of early modern hermeneutics and was formerly an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Edmund Clark is an award-winning photographer whose work links history, politics and representation. His series Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out (2010), Letters to Omar (2010) and Control Order House (2012) engage with state censorship to explore hidden experiences and spaces of control and incarceration in the global “war on terror.” More recently, with The Mountains of Majeed (2014) he reflects on the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He has received worldwide recognition for his work, including the Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal for outstanding photography for public service and the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award. He teaches at the University of the Arts, London. His work is the subject of a major solo exhibition, ‘Edmund Clark: War of Terror’, at the Imperial War Museum from 28 July 2016 to 28 August 2017.
For the second event of the series, we will be joined by critically-acclaimed artist David Birkin, in conversation with Max Houghton, who uses his work to examine elements of censorship and spectacle in the so-called War on Terror. He has explored subjects ranging from the covert deployment of drones in Pakinson and Yemen, to the Bush-era ban on photographing flag-draped coffins. We will be hearing from Birkin on his recent work that engages with invisible warfare – including ‘The Shadow of a Doubt’, his public performance involving a plane circling the Statue of Liberty’s torch; and ‘The Evidence of Absence’, in which he launched a replica of a military surveillance blimp currently flying over Kabul above a London residential neighbourhood.
David Birkin is a British-born artist based in New York. He studied anthropology at Oxford University and fine art at the Slade, and was a fellow on the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His past projects have included a collaboration with the courtroom sketch artist at Guantanamo, a visual rendering of identification numbers from the Iraqi civilian casualty database, and skywriting an extract of CIA legalese above Manhattan. He has exhibited internationally, most recently at The Mosaic Rooms in London, FotoFest in Houston, and the Whitney ISP in New York, and has written for publications including Creative Time Reports, Cabinet Magazine, Ibraaz and the Harvard Advocate.