Head On Festival: Eastern Thoughts (V. Queiroz and M. Maia)

Tue 9 -Sun 14 May, 2017

A Head On Photo Festival exhibition curated by Artemis Projects.

A multisensory exhibition and book launch with photograhs by Vitor Queiroz, text by Marta Maia and sound by Richard Tamplenizza.

Official Opening: Tue 9 May 2017, 6:30pm

Mon – Fri 3:00-7:00pm (or by appointment: +61 404 827 956)
Sat and Sun 11:00am – 6:00pm

“What is the border of our perception? How wide is the frame?

In her book The Skin of the Film, Laura Marks points to the “cultural organization of perception”. Spectatorship, she writes, “is an act of sensory translation of cultural knowledge”. What we see is what we are conditioned to see. The eye is attracted to that which it has learned to seek.

Traveling through Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, Vitor Queiroz (a Portuguese living in Sydney) captures the local life – the people, the objects, the atmosphere. But how much do these images reveal about the lived experience of local people? Or are they not more a revelation of the photographer, a revelation of his expectations and his “cultural organization”?

What is more, once the image is taken it is extracted from its context – form the surrounding smells, sounds, temperature, touch.

“I don’t think that image speaks more than thousand words,” writes Marta Maia in the book that accompanies the exhibition. A photograph, for her, is just a fraction of reality, a dangerous authority.

In contrast, Marta’s verbal reflections on the way we encounter, seize and memorise another culture, attempt to capture the “tactile memory”, the sensations that are “closer to the body” and are “repositories of private memory”.

But like Vitor, Marta also questions the limits of this expression; the authority of words not just in describing the other culture but also in describing ones private experience of another culture. Language too is a border and the frame.

We travel in hope to learn about another culture but what we discover is a culture within our own body, the limits of our perception.”

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