Monthly Archives: September 2015

Alan Knox: Shifting political landscapes and its impact

The British Council India and ‪‎The Alkazi Foundation‬ have come together for a photo project titled ‪PHOTOUKINDIA – Origins, to curate works drawn from the shared history of both countries. 

The exhibition of the curated entries will be held on October 14 at the British Council India in New Delhi.

We’re very excited to finally announce the participants for the first chapter of PHOTOUKINDIA. Over the coming weeks, we will feature a new artist, their history with, and approach to photography. In these two works, British photographer Alan Knox looks at the idea of the political landscape and the evolving personal space:

The Debatable Lands

Marshall Meadows Bay on the Anglo Scots border, Northumberland, UK © Alan Knox

“Having been born and raised in Lanarkshire outside the city of Glasgow, my early interest in photography as an art-form was shaped by attending weekend classes at the Glasgow School of Art. During this time, I was exposed to the electrifying transformation taking place within the Glasgow contemporary art scene during the 1990’s, inspiring my practice for years to come.

During the past year my work has explored documentary practices by questioning shifting political sovereignty and it’s effect on the natural landscape.  With The Debatable Land, I travelled the Anglo-Scots border with the intention of documenting the b-roads and dirt-paths that criss-cross the border, And presenting them as conduits between past and present.

My companion project, Schengland explores the role of internet imagery in documenting the transformation of border controls across the European project by appropriating Google Street View images from the eastern Schengen border and installing them on the Anglo-Scots border.”

Man in the Moon

Large format black and white negative held to the light of a full Moon © Alan Knox

In the past year my practice has moved from the political to the personal. For Man in the Moon, producing large format black and white negatives from the family archive, held to the sky so to be backlit with the full Moon’s reflection, the faces of my ancestors filter the motion of the lunar orbit, which is traced as I re-photograph the negative at regular intervals.

My practice thus seeks to reflect on the lost aura of the work of art caused by mechanical reproduction, as Margaret Iversen writes: “To experience the aura of the phenomenon means to invest it with the ability to look at us in return. It implies, then, an ethical attentiveness and receptivity to the other.” In my practice, one may become receptive to the loss of the other by investing the lunar satellite with the ability to gaze back at the viewer through the mediation of photography, tracing the timeline of my Grandfather’s life.

Follow his Instagram feed @alanknoxphotography

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Thereby hangs a tale

We never stop telling stories, do we, small and tall alike?

Once upon a time I went to Scotland. There, in a castle in the dark, misty highlands, actually a modest hotel in Edinburgh, I found my flesh creep as I walked down its sinister corridor. We’d had dinner with Jock McArthur only the previous night, and the next morning he’d been found with his throat slit. The chill finger of suspicion pointed at all of us. Oh, all right, there’s a wee bit a yarn-tellin’ here. We were part of a ‘murder weekend’, then still a new tourism lure. ‘Silly gimmick’ i’d thought to myself when i was invited to it, but we were all unwittingly drawn into the plot by the wicked witches, aka the professional players pretending to be guests like us.

Literature delegation in Edinburgh

Bachi Karkaria (centre) with the other delegates at Edinburgh. Image courtesy Momentum/Festivals Edinburgh

Once upon last week, i was once more in Edinburgh, again at the heart of storytelling as actors and artists, clowns, kings and queens of all sexes created the fairy-tale world of the Festival’s ‘Fringe’. Like all good stories, theirs made us laugh, cry — and think. A bunch of us litfest organisers had wound our way from Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Bogota, Bucharest, Budapest, Bali, Lahore and Mumbai to a gypsy caravan called Momentum Literature, hitched for four days to the International Book Festival.

Every night, we gathered in a baroque tent for Jura Unbound. ‘Jura’ was the sponsor, the fairy godmother needed by all real-life events. Professional storytellers ‘unbound’ the tales of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm and recast them for the here and now, which has its own rags-to-riches stories — and certainly no dearth of ugly ducklings swanning around.

So, did the golden coaches turn into pumpkins during the day? No! We continued to be bewitched by the luminous passages read by authors from their new books. Skilful moderators drew out the writer’s own stories of wandering through dusty, musty archives, finding the Aladdin’s lamp of inspiration, and the magic kiss of publishers who don’t easily fit the description of ‘Prince Charming’.

Very grim and no fairy tale were the Amnesty International panels dedicated to writers and journalists killed for their courage. Not everyone lives happily ever after, but the story must be told.

Post written by: Bachi KarkariaCourtesy: The Times of India.

(The writer was part of the Momentum Edinburgh Festivals International Delegate Programme, delivered by the British Council in partnership with Festivals Edinburgh and Creative Scotland in August, and participated in the Edinburgh International Book Festival and other events.)

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