Landscapes are stories

Landscapes are stories

Abrucena, 2013

“Q: How can the medium of landscape imagery be used to tell stories?

A: Landscapes are stories, we just need to learn how to read them. And there are many, many stories – waiting for someone to come along, and give shape to them and find an appropriate means to tell them. Part of the fascination for me is allowing a place to reveal a complex web of narratives, through a slow and patient engagement, and as it does so I am struggling to find a form, a structure, with which to articulate some of what I have found. My works always bring texts together with the pictures – captions, short stories, essays, lists – which is a reason why books are such a rich way to bring study together.”

– Jem Southam, in an interview with Drake’s.

As I became invisible

As I became invisible

New York, 2011.

“You see, ten years ago when I first came to the city, I had a job on the West Side as a pushcart vendor. In order to get my license, I was told to go to a certain municipal office, to approach a particular window and to pay a small bribe to a teller.

On most days, I would roll the cart from a parking garage to the same spot on Ninth Avenue, near the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel. I sold roasted peanuts and sodas in front of a discount electronics store and a used furniture outlet. Sometimes I was sent to other locations depending on the weather, or on other vendors, or on factors I didn’t understand. But mostly I parked in that same spot. And for a while that patch of sidewalk became my own.

I sold peanuts, I stood behind my cart and, after a few weeks went by, I became a fixture to some. And to others I became increasingly invisible. I discovered that simply by standing behind the cart and selling, I had put up both a wall and a window from which I could watch what happened on the street, on the block, on that long corridor of businesses and passers-by. And as I became invisible, I started to see things that had once been invisible to me.”

– Jem Cohen, Lost Book Found, 1996.

Un lloc d’exploració ideal

Un lloc d’exploració ideal

Terrassa, 2014. De la sèrie TRS 120/135 – Margin Walker.

«A la meva literatura he anat a parar sempre a la perifèria, ja sigui interior de la persona, ja sigui externa. La literatura es mou bé en els espais perifèrics. Fent un volt pels entorns de qualsevol ciutat, el desordre i l’acumulació donen idea, més que de deixadesa, de poca fe en cap mena de valors. En el cas d’un escriptor català, potser assenyalin, a més, la consciència d’un món i una llengua en dissolució. Tot paisatge és cultural i, doncs, moral, i qualsevol representació és simbòlica. Potser la perifèria ens resulta tan inaccessible justament perquè ens descriu la realitat que envolta i de la qual és filla, millor i tot que els centres fixats i estàtics, i que en definitiva són aparadors hipòcrites. Si vivim moments de canvi, si tenim consciència d’una crisi de valors -un sentiment paradoxalment perenne-, el territori ambigu de la perifèria, que es mou al seu gust, seria un lloc d’exploració ideal.»

Toni Sala a Paisatg-e, Butlletí bimestral de l’Observatori del Paisatge, 2010.