Week 3 – Constructed Realities

Figure 1: ROSLER, Martha. 1967-72. Balloons from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home.  [Cut-and-pasted printed paper on board]

The photographs dealt with this week are constructions or a record of staged settings, hence not necessarily ‘naturalistic’ or authentic in that sense. Despite a certain ‘falsehood’ or fabrication however, the aim of the author in most of the examples does not seem to try to deceive the viewer. They rather use such construction to create a narrative, pose questions and convey a message which is probably what we should focus our attention on. In Martha Rosler’s “House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home” (1967-1972) (see figure 1) for instance, the viewer is immediately made aware of the unnatural component within the work but in contrast to such example, the documentary style adopted by Miriam Bäckström in photographs of Ikea showrooms (see figure 2) makes it harder to decode initially in the absence of any further suggestions. The photo as a record of a staged setting becomes more evident in other of Bäckström’s work. In “Scenografier/Set Constructions” (1995-2001) (see figure 3) Bäckström reveals at the edges of the photographs the environment of their constituted setting. In both cases, ultimately, the viewer is made aware of the unnatural component within the work. With that said however, one should not undermine the messages that such work carry as these are of greater importance than a mere debate on whether a work is fictional or not (Snyder and Allen 1975: 169).

Figure 2: BÄCKSTRÖM, Miriam. 1999. Museums, Collections and Reconstructions, IKEA corporate museum, “IKEA Throughout the Ages”.
Figure 3: BÄCKSTRÖM, Miriam. 1995-2001. Scenografier/Set Constructions. [Silver dye bleach print]

These examples play with ideas of representation and an uncanny constructive relationship with reality. In both cases, the artist borrows a share from reality. Bäckström’s end result seems to linger in between these two states, the artificial and reality. This remains prevalent in the artist’s work from this period. To extract further meaning one might need to ask further questions. Could Bäckström’s photographs lead us into questioning spaces, how we interact in them and how and to which extend are these a representation of our own personalities? The collective exhibition “Informative Rooms. The Interior as Portrait” (2016) looks at these same notions. The exhibition situates Bäckström and others’ work in the context of empty spaces ready to provide insights on the identities of the people inhibiting them. Such exhibition questions the relations to our homes. It asks if these are sanctuaries and “an honest expression of the self” (Judah 2016). The exhibition asks if they are stage sets “where we perform in public view” (Judah 2016). On the other hand, when looking at the constructive tactics used by Rosler one identifies that these do not share the indexical traits one might be used to in photographs. Despite that, her work seems to result in a more coherent message where the chosen representations showing an interconnection between two worlds raise clear discourse around political agendas, the Vietnam War and cultural practices in her homeland.

Such examples contrast other ideas around staged photographs. Photos of Ikea showrooms seem to present yet another question. To which extend are we shaped and affected by outside influences, and which roles do these influencers play? Here one might bring in context the role of advertisements and how sometimes the viewer could be lulled by a make-shift reality, accepting the mergence of the fictitious and the real to fall for a deceptive manipulative act stemming from for profit reasons. Jerry Goodis, Benetton’s Advertising Manager says; “Advertising doesn’t always mirror how people are acting, but how they’re dreaming… In a sense, what we’re doing is wrapping up your emotions and selling them back to you” (cited in Nelson 1983: 10). This asserts that despite our ability to recognise the fictitious elements, in the advertising arena, the power of the image can be exhorted on the viewer who at times or most of the times might become unaware of the actual intentions behind it, which is to lure him with a desirable disposition into materiality and consumption.

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Figure 4: EGGLESTON, William. c1969. Memphis. [Dye transfer print]

Going back to the practitioners mentioned, when considering my work along their practice some similarities could be identified. In current practice, similar to Bäckström, the subjects are untouched and photographed straightforward using solely the available light. Certain shots could also possess a comparable relationship to the lower perspective adopted by Eggleston in constructing the tricycle photograph (see figure 4). In my experience, such undertaking appeared in order to exclude areas of clutter unrelated to the subject (see figure 5). A lowered view was later implemented as an experimental attempt to accentuate the subject matter (see figure 6). Notwithstanding that, the aim of my work is not a construction at play around concepts of actuality and artificial but as in Rosler’s case, it is an attempt to question the socio-political context at this given time. The research project intends to deal with the contemporary discourse around global sustainability and sheds light on the effects of collective human behaviour and a country where issues such as waste management and other social and environmental measures remain at a disproportionate stand in comparison to a rampant economic situation.

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Figure 5: MALLAN, Kevin. 2017. Work in Progress. Anthropocene – A Dystopian Legacy.
Figure 6: MALLAN, Kevin. 2018. Work in Progress. Anthropocene – A Dystopian Legacy.

Reference List.

JUDAH, Hettie. 2016. ‘Insightful rooms: artists explore what our homes really say about us’. The Spaces 2 February [online]. Available at: https://thespaces.com/2016/02/02/insightful-rooms-artists-explore-what-our-homes-really-say-about-us/ [accessed 23 February 2018].

LANGSTON, Ingrid. 2012. ‘Cut and Paste: Works by Franz West and Martha Rosler’. MOMA 16 August [online]. Available at: https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/08/16/cut-and-paste-works-by-franz-west-and-martha-rosler/ [accessed 23 February 2018].

McARDLE, James. 2016. ‘December 17: A show New Enter Image by Swedish artist Miriam Bäckström is opening today at Galería Elba Benítez, San Lorenzo’. On This Date in Photography 17 December [online]. Available at: https://onthisdateinphotography.com/2016/12/17/december-17-appearance/ [accessed 23 February 2018].

NELSON, Joyce. 1983. ‘As the Brain Tunes Out, the TV Admen Tune In’. Globe and Mail.

ROSLER, Martha. 2018. ‘Photos and Photomontages’ [online]. Available at:   http://www.martharosler.net/photo/index.html [accessed 23 February 2018].

SNYDER, Joel and Neil Walsh ALLEN. 1975. Photography, Vision and Representation. Critical Inquiry, 2(1), 143-169. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1342806 [accessed February 10th, 2018].

‘Ee 9 – interview. Miriam Bäckström – Into the Image’. 2017. Entreentre 10 January [online]. Available at: http://entreentre.org/Ee09.html [accessed 23 February 2018].

‘Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen – Informative Rooms’. 2016. E-Flux 26 January [online]. Available at: http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/7724/informative-rooms/ [accessed 23 February 2018].

‘Constructed Realities’ [online lecture]. Falmouth University. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/81/pages/week-3-introduction-constructed-realities?module_item_id=5259 [accessed: 23 February 2018].

Figure 1: ROSLER, Martha. 1967-72. Balloons from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home. Available at: https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/08/16/cut-and-paste-works-by-franz-west-and-martha-rosler/ [accessed February 23rd, 2018].

Figure 2: BÄCKSTRÖM, Miriam. 1999. Museums, Collections and Reconstructions, IKEA corporate museum, “IKEA Throughout the Ages”. Available at: https://onthisdateinphotography.com/2016/12/17/december-17-appearance/ [accessed February 23rd, 2018].

Figure 3: BÄCKSTRÖM, Miriam. 1995-2001. Scenografier/Set Constructions. Available at: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/16/08/11/1608111f63b6f591d8dd860f62465d71.jpg %5Baccessed February 23rd, 2018].

Figure 4: EGGLESTON, William. c1969. Memphis. Available at: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/51630 [accessed February 23rd, 2018].

Figure 5: MALLAN, Kevin. 2017. Project Work in Progress. Anthropocene: A Dystopian Legacy.

Figure 6: MALLAN, Kevin. 2018. Project Work in Progress. Anthropocene: A Dystopian Legacy.


Week 2 – Further Questions of Authenticity

As Batchen (2002: 139) asserts, in the representational task of forming a photograph, the author’s choices in its construction in some way or other would lead to unavoidable “artifice”, thus questioning the ‘really real’ aspect which viewers can often hold on to. Similar grounds are also held by Susan Sontag (2005). In her essay In Plato’s Cave, Sontag claims that;

despite the presumption of veracity that gives all photographs authority, interest, seductiveness, the work that photographers do is no generic exception to the usually shady commerce between art and truth. Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience. The immensely gifted members of the Farm Security Administration photographic project of the late 1930s (among them Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Russell Lee) would take dozens of frontal pictures of one of their sharecropper subjects until satisfied that they had gotten just the right look on film—the precise expression on the subject’s face that supported their   own   notions   about   poverty, light, dignity, texture, exploitation, and geometry.  In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects. Although there is a sense in which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as paintings and drawings are.

(2005: 4)

Sontag also states that “a photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened. The picture may distort; but there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like what’s in the picture.” (2005: 3). Sontag writes that “doubt, seems proven when we’re shown a photograph of it.” (2005: 3). An example that challenges the notion of the photo’s veracity could perhaps be the performative photographic work ‘Front’ by Trish Morrisey (2005-2007).

Figure 1: MORRISEY, Trish. 2006. Lou Soucell, July 14th, 2006. [C-Type Print]
Figure 2: MORRISEY, Trish. 2005. Chloe Gwynne, May 30th, 2005. [C-Type Print]

In Morrisey’s work (see figures 1 and 2) we deal with composed family vistas or groups of friends at an ordinary seafront setting. Although the photographs are “mechanical” (Snyder and Allen 1975: 149) records of a scene that existed, the artist’s camouflage in these scenes can serve to psychologically challenge photographic notions of truth that are sometimes unquestionably accepted without much ado. One could more clearly identify the apparent staging in Crewdson’s photographs for instance (see figures 3 and 4), but the idea of an unapparent ‘fake’ family photograph could well serve as a reminder to be more considerate of what we are looking at and how. Therefore, such example serves to highlight that assumptive measures are never the right form of arbitration.

Figure 3: CREWDSON, Gregory. 2002. Untitled. Dream House series. [Digitaler C-Print]
Gregory Crewdson. 2014. The Haircut.
Figure 4: CREWDSON, Gregory. 2014. The Haircut. Cathedral of the Pines series. [Digital Print Pigment]

Notwithstanding that, although I would by no means accept that all photos are ‘real’ and could highly debate if any of them are due to their “characterization” (Snyder and Allen 1975: 149) for instance, I still currently feel that photography could possibly offer an ethically correct link to the authentication of a subject, that dependent on the impartiality level adopted by the author. Such a belief in authenticity might be sustained by Snyder and Allen who along with their criticism posit that “it can be asserted, of course, that while photographs do not always show us a scene as we would have seen it, they are, because of their mechanical origin, an accurate record of the scene as it actually was.” (1975: 157). Snyder and Allen also state that “the inevitable outcome of the facts of the situation … would certainly allow us to say that certain photographs are ‘natural’ or ‘objective’” and that there is “no doubt it is this sense of inevitability, this feeling that a photograph is the end result of a series of cause-and-effect operations performed upon ‘physical reality’, that inclines us to impute a special sort of veracity to photographs” (1975: 157).

Figure 5: MALLAN, Kevin. 2018. Project Work in Progress. Anthropocene: A Dystopian Legacy.
Figure 6: MALLAN, Kevin. 2018. Project Work in Progress. Anthropocene: A Dystopian Legacy.

Despite that, without doubt, meaning could still vary depending on several other properties which play their role in how a photograph is perceived, be it cultural formations, changing viewing contexts and others. In my case and with my current project and its aims, the indexical relationship an added documentary view could offer (see figures 5 and 6) might help with the better placement of work in the deserved contexts to provide further thought, understanding and awareness on current social, economic and political grounds but that alone does not necessarily determine its success or otherwise demise. Neither does it mean that other representational ideas should be placed in disregard. In fact, it would be apt for authors, viewers and writers to note Snyder and Allen’s (1975: 169) reminder of the bigger questions one ought to keep in mind and ask in relation to photography and the photograph which go beyond the philosophising discourse about “photographs and reality”, the definition of “photographic seeing” or “photography’s essence or nature”. Instead, by asking “what it means, who made it, for whom was it made, and why was it made in the way it was made” (Snyder and Allen 1975: 169), we could perhaps gain better results on all fronts of meaning.

Reference List

Batchen, Geoffrey. 2002. Each Wild Idea. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT.

SNYDER, Joel and Neil Walsh ALLEN. 1975. Photography, Vision and Representation. Critical Inquiry, 2(1), 143-169. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1342806 [accessed February 10th, 2018].

SONTAG, Susan. 2005. On Photography. New York: Rosetta Books.

Figure 1: MORRISEY, Trish. 2006. Lou Soucell, July 14th, 2006. Available at: http://www.trishmorrissey.com/works_pages/work-front/workpg-05.html [accessed February 10th, 2018].

Figure 2: MORRISEY, Trish. 2005. Chloe Gwynne, May 30th, 2005. Available at: http://www.trishmorrissey.com/works_pages/work-front/workpg-02.html [accessed February 10th, 2018].

Figure 3: CREWDSON, Gregory. 2002. Untitled. Dream House series. Available at: https://sambensteadphotographyportfolio.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2016/12/ [accessed February 10th, 2018].

Figure 4: CREWDSON, Gregory. 2014. The Haircut. Cathedral of the Pines series. Available at: https://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/gregory-crewdson–january-28-2016 %5Baccessed February 10th, 2018].

Figure 5: MALLAN, Kevin. 2018. Project Work in Progress. Anthropocene: A Dystopian Legacy.

Figure 6: MALLAN, Kevin. 2018. Project Work in Progress. Anthropocene: A Dystopian Legacy.

Snyder J. and Walsh ALLEN. Photography, Vision, and Representation.pdf

Week 2 – A Question of Authenticity

In Camera Lucida (1980: 89) Roland Barthes states that ‘In the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation’

Authentication refers to the indexical truth of an untouched1 photographic reproduction of the view in front of the camera. Roland Barthes seems to be referring to photography’s ‘mechanical’ power to claim truth objectively. On the other hand, by representation Barthes refers to the ‘handmade’ reproductions. This representation refers to a selective construction of aspects of reality in both photography and other media such as painting where its derivative meaning requires interpretation. This same interpretation is dependent on individualistic interpretations which could also be reliant on one’s context of viewing.

I would say that such posited statement is in its generic sense biased. Although aspects of these notions have validity, as other proclamations in Camera Lucida suggest, Barthes seems to write from a certain point of view which excludes other realities of photography and the photograph. Whether these assertions are naive, intentionally exclusive or not I have no assurance at this stage. Barthes (1980:76) states “in Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there. There is a superimposition here: of reality and of the past”. Barthes (1980:85) goes further and asserts that “The Photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been”. The quote under analysis follows later on when Barthes stresses;

“To ask whether a photograph is analogical or coded is not a good means of analysis. The important thing is that the photograph possesses an evidential force, and that its testimony bears not on the object but on time. From a phenomenological viewpoint, in the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation.” (1980:88-89)

I agree with the idea of a photograph possessing “an evidential force” (Barthes, 1980:89) but I would question this certitude with which Barthes states that “in the photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation” (1980:89), especially when one analyses photographs in the broader context of the photographic medium. As much as the camera can be an instrument of evidence a photograph could well be representational of everything except that, reality. For instance, Barthes seems to be missing out on the fact that the manipulated photograph has existed since almost the birth of photography in the 1800s. Apart from staged or altered scenes as was the case with photographs of war by Alexander Gardner or Roger Fenton, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop” organised by curator Mia Fineman (2012) sheds light on prints from 1846 to the early 1990s that identify the broader manipulative act, challenging also certain perceptions about the phenomenon and any claims of it as being something of a contemporary digital age.

Leap into the Void, 1960
Leap into the Void. 1960. Yves Klein, Harry Shunk, and Jean Kender.

Although personal views seem to an extend at conflicting ends with Roland Barthes’s somewhat one-sided assertions, notions around the indexicality of the photograph are still very relevant for my current practice. The choice of subject matter and the aims for my research project deal with current social, political and economic situations and the first questions that were being dealt with are certainly in relation to notions of representation. The subject could be treated in any way of my choice however, keeping my practice solely along the earlier more experimental areas can result in a multitude of interpretations where my own message might not come across and thus the scope of the project would come under questioning. Although not only, the aims for the project are currently demanding enquiries around an objective documented view which to a certain degree could be offered by this very same truthful characteristic of the medium.

The week’s introduction also sets emphasis on the context of viewing as a possible determining factor for claiming a photo’s veracity. It is the case for instance that a photograph in a newspaper is seen as authentic given the context’s demands of such evidential truths. Apart from that, one might say that the authentic and representational degrees of a photograph are dependent on various factors such as; subject, image, viewer, context and photographer. Consideration of the relationships between these aspects could hence provide a better position of analysis for understanding both the image as well as its meaning better.

1 Untouched might not be the best of words. As one could note, in a broad sense “one might argue that there is no such thing as an absolutely unmanipulated photograph.” (Fineman, 2012:6)

Reference List.

BARTHES, Roland. 1980. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang.

FINEMAN, Mia. 2012. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

JOHNSON, Ken. 2012. ‘Their Cheating Art: Reality and Illusion. ‘Faking It’ at the Met, a Photography Exhibition.’ The New York Times 11 October [online]. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/arts/design/faking-it-at-the-met-a-photography-exhibition.html [accessed 10 February 2018].

Week 1 – Photography: The Shape-Shifter

Re. Photography, Photographies

The Nature of The Photograph

With the consideration of the subject matter and intentions for the project, my practice has morphed into a documentary approach where it is observed that most of the characteristics identified by John Szarkowski in The Photographer’s Eye (2009) become inherently connected, although not necessarily representational within the full context in which it is explained.

When reflecting on the thing itself this reminds me of the initial steps in this direction which had occurred for reasons relating to an actual reality a more objective image could portray. Notwithstanding this objective characteristic one could argue that it is rather impossible to have a totally impartial view on a reconstructed sight (John Berger) which meaning could also be altered by the photographer’s own experiences, the recipients’ own and the varied viewing contexts.

It is relatively impossible to focus and bring into sight the effects of capitalism and the human constituent of the ecology on the being and environment in totality, especially where in some instances the effects themselves are abstracted in form. As suggested by the detail I find myself making choices and shifting focus on fragments of this other side of reality through vistas which could at times be hidden amongst the mundanity. This, with aims to raise questions and extract further meaning.

Another characteristic suggestive of our choices in photographing a subject is the frame which forces practitioners to choose what is held within it and what is left out of it. Personally, I find intrigue how the content falling within the dimensions of the photograph could expand thought in relation to the aspects of what is perhaps being left out. With regards to my practice, I find that this omission could lead to further questions on these regards, possibly raising questions not solely on the actual omitted view but beyond that in a globalised context.

Time when assessed as a characteristic of the actual photo in terms of longer exposures or movement could be said that is the least defining factor in my work. Perhaps the most important aspect of time in relation to my practice lies in the relationship these photographed vistas hold to the past and future when considering that the subjects form as a result of behaviours linked with historical proceedings. The continuity of these actions in the present poses questions in connection to the future where as the project somehow hyperbolically suggests, could lead to dystopic states.

The last notion that Szarkowski deals with, vantage point, is a characteristic which needs to be experimented with further along my project. Currently the subjects are dealt with mostly straight on or on slightly lowered vantage point. Given the possibility, a higher vantage point will be assessed and with respect to that, for certain works, intentions to work with an aerial view have been brought into consideration.

Other visual characteristics worthy a mention could be colour and atmosphere. The latter especially, is something I am constantly being reminded of. The light and sombre look provided by an overcast for instance seems to heighten the scenes and provide another link to the themes in concern. Posing difficulties on these regards is the weather in a subtopic region, especially when being received by organisations on set dates and time to work on their premises.

Both Szarkowski’s study and similarly Shore’s in The Nature of Photographs (2013) seem to focus on the materiality and physicality of the photograph but perhaps a deeper sense of the photograph could have been brought in the discourse and maybe as suggested by Ken Johnson (2014) in relation to the International Center of Photography exhibition What Is a Photograph, rather than focusing on such aspects, “photography’s effect on the individual and collective consciousness” could have been explored.

Reference List.

SZARKOWSKI, John. 1964. The Photographer’s Eye. [press release] 27 May. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

SZARKOWSKI, John. (2009). The Photographer’s Eye. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

SHORE, Stephen. (2013). The Nature of Photographs. London: Phaidon.

JOHNSON, Ken. 2014. ‘Digital, Analog and Waterlogged ‘What Is a Photograph?’ Opens at the I.C.P.’. The New York Times 3 July [online]. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/arts/design/what-is-a-photograph-opens-at-the-icp.html [accessed 04 February 2018].

Week 1 – Photography: The Shape-Shifter

Where are you now?

My practice is intended for the gallery context and it incorporates a rather straight on documentary approach possibly reminiscing “new objectivity” photography. Whilst previously working along the lines of experimental and conceptual photography, this more objective (realistic) approach seems to have been demanded by the choice of subject for my research project along the first module.

The project, Anthropocene – A Dystopian Legacy is meant to be resolved in an exhibition that positions contemporary discourses and photographic practice around global sustainability in the context of the human-nature narrative. For this project the human impact on the environment will be analysed amongst the works of other contemporaries in close proximity with the subjects of industrial development and global capitalism.

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Work in Progress. Anthropocene – A Dystopian Legacy. Kevin Mallan. 2017.

Research on the themes and subjects to date has surfaced several thoughts about characteristics normally found in dystopian literature and although dystopia within this context is to an extent hyperbolic, in close relation to this idea, the project could serve as a warning sign, a call that suggests the need to change tracks. Considering the subject matter and intentions, the project could henceforth be regarded as a form of socio-political activism.

The plans are to extend my research on the subject matter where I will be analysing several identified works to further contextualise the project within the historical, philosophical, ethical and economic dialogues on such treatise. Together with that I intend to improve the technical aspect and attempt to merge certain experimental / conceptual ideas to the documentary aspect.

Work in Progress. Anthropocene – A Dystopian Legacy. Kevin Mallan. 2017.

Week 7 – Peer Commissioned Project.

Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption.

Dérive Works
Work from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.

Isabella Campbell has commissioned this project that tackles psychogeography from a point of view that relates to my research project comprising of effects of capitalism on our environment. In 1955 Guy Debord, a Marxist theorist and founder of the Situationist International has defined psychogeography as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals” (cited in Knabb 2006, para. 2).[1]  This project was tackled through a dérive that is “one of the basic situationist practices” (Knabb 2006, para.1).[2]  The dérive is “a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences” (Knabb 2006).[3]  It is said that “dérives involve playful-constructive behaviour and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll” (Knabb 2006, para.1).[4]

Dérive Works
Works from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.
Dérive Square Works
Work from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.
Dérive Works
Works from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.

This small project is a psychogeographical enquiry which focuses mostly on human consumption via photographs of their waste. Photos of surrounding environments were also covered along the way in order to serve as landmarks and provide a connection to these transient places and emotive states. The task eventually covered a distance of around 8km on a sea front path which offered the possibility to tackle the subject from land and sea aspects.

Satellite View of the Grand Harbour Region, Malta
Satellite View of the Grand Harbour Region, Malta. Map Data ©2017 Google.

A focal area has been identified prior to the start of the project however, no strategy was involved apart from the dérive concept. Isabella Campbell asked to consider the possibility of using black and white photography for the images that may not require colour which could perhaps help the emphasis on the subject in the photo. At first this was regarded with scepticism but I got comfortable with the idea as soon as the ‘journey’ started. In fact, all final images on display here were shot directly in black and white.

Dérive Works
Work from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.
Dérive Works
Work from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.
Dérive Works
Work from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.
Dérive Works
Works from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.

Although it was an uninterrupted, quiet and peaceful assignment, atmospheric and landscape shifts were noted while walking from the outskirts of a rural area to more frequented and touristic areas. While on the task, the encounters made me think on how we are conditioned to the environments, how we seem to act in preconditioned lifestyles that seem to ebb away meaning and a sense of the bigger picture we form part of. Certain contrasts were also encountered. Most of the waste along the shoreline involved food and drink containers which seem to indicate the kind of activities held in such places. On the outskirts, off the beaten path, refuse was larger in size and quantity as well as more varied. Medical instruments on these same outskirts made me think of drug addiction. While some consume their snacks openly, there are others consuming psychologic alternant substances away from our view. Environmental neglect and social irresponsibility were other topics that came to mind during the course.

Dérive Works
Works from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.


Dérive Works
Dérive Works. Kevin Mallan. 2017.


Dérive Works
Dérive Works. Kevin Mallan. 2017.

With regards to the project’s final arrangement, it seems that when several works are presented collectively or in close proximity as seen in certain instances above, the effect on the viewer enhances and the projection of the idea behind it appears better.

Dérive Works
Works from Dérive, A Psychogeographical Enquiry Through Consumption. Kevin Mallan. 2017.

Reference List

Google, 2017. Satellite View of the Grand Harbour Region, Malta. Map Data ©2017 Google [online]. Available at: https://www.google.com/maps/@35.8883077,14.5247578,3242m/data=!3m1!1e3 [accessed: 12 November 2017]


KNABB, Ken. 2006. ‘Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography’. Situationist International Anthology. Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets.

[2, 4]

KNABB, Ken. 2006. ‘Theory of the Dérive’. Situationist International Anthology. Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets.


KNABB, Ken. 2006. ‘Definitions’. Situationist International Anthology. Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets.