Photographic Practices as Care-Taking, Tromsø

24-25 November 2022: conference in collaboration between the research group WONA Worlding Northern Art, UiT The Arctic University of Norway and Perspektivet Museum, Tromsø. In our paper we discussed the practices of Lisa Sartorio, Laurence Aëgerter, Agnès Geoffray, Léa Belooussovitch and Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza and the potential for images to serve as interfaces of closure and collective remediation.

︎ Conference program and list of abstracts

Can photography provide a framework to cope with the present, transcend it, heal it? We argue that photographic images can be considered as a pharmakon, given their capability of transmitting, violence, pain, trauma, and simultaneously carrying the potential for care, repair, and healing. The inherent dimension of care within certain artistic practices is easily recognizable when artists employ explicit strategies to counter the violence embedded within the images: whether by concealing their contents, altering their original appearance, reframing them within a fictional context, or performatively caring for the physical support of the photograph itself.

We classify these visual strategies of manipulation of the photographic record (and its material support) as acts of care, born out of the intention of the artists to reframe the perception of their own reality, recovering or staging alternative histories to repair cultural erasure, even attempting to symbolically heal a traumatic narrative. By investigating selected photographic practices (i.e. Laurence Aëgerter, Agnès Geoffray, Léa Belooussovitch, Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza, among others), our curatorial research aims to understand the processes by which the photographic image becomes itself a means of managing the negative impact it can have on the viewer, questioning the agency and role of photographic images beyond their documentary role, while reflecting on their potential as interfaces of individual closure and collective remediation.

︎ Higlights from the conference and Tromsø’s cultural scene:

Dawn Woolley, Queer Selfies as Practices of Care-taking (and giving)

Lena Gudd, Organic Photographic Processes as Care-Taking
fermented photographs in co-autorship with bacteria, plants, salt

Eduard-Claudiu Gross, Displaced Histories. The Circulation of Orphan Photographs and their Archival Importance
combining analog methods of identification with digital recognition tools to restore family archives

Katarina Pirak Sikku, Agálaččat bivttastuvvon sohkagotti ivnniiguin, Ihkát ájttegij bájnoj gárvodum, Ihkuven aajkan maadtoej klaeriejgujmie gåårveldihkie / Perpetually Shrouded in the Colors of the Ancestors
beautiful textile intervention on dozens of phtographic albums of Sami people
in the archives of the former Institute for Racial Biology in Uppsala

Evgenia Arbugeva: Hyperborea. Stories from the Arctic at Perspektivet Museum

George Ridgway: Interstice *I feel that you are with me* at kurant9000