Alecio-project proposal

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As a true outdoor lover, practicing hiking and sport activities in nature, I accumulated hundreds of images of natural environments, plants details, city landscapes, exploring my surroundings with the medium I feel close to, the photo camera, in this spontaneous flow of events.

During the last few years, my photography practice has focused on the development of photographic bodies of work with nature as the main subject matter. In 2019 I began to research more consciously the theme of Nature vs Culture, its evolution and further consequences.

I developed the idea to consciously and actively producing a body of work that would talk about these subjects.

I looked for traces and signs of that nature/culture dualism and tried to translate the theoretical texts I was reading into visuals. The images shot started to compose a more unified body of work which reflected my fascination with the moment of transition of a natural environment into a cultural material and how the natural world provides inspiration for the artificial landscape.

1 What do you want to make?

The project I’m working on it’s called Visible Forces, and focuses on the nature-culture dualism. I am interested in creating visual associations between the natural landscapes and the artificial world, showing how plants, rocks and animals are able to inspire humans in the way we think and build our surroundings.

On one hand I have produced a series of images with the nature at its core: landscapes, plants, rock formations that are in comparison with the artificial world such as building, vehicles and daily life objects. This comparison sometimes is more literal and visible, sometimes more subtle and less linear.

I am using photographs as main medium to investigate these topics.

Moreover, I have produced digitally manipulated images that originate from my landscapes photographs and through the use of a randomized computing process, some unexpected elements are added, turning the original photographs into more abstract representations of nature. These artifacts serve as digital traces. A human artificial product, that find the fundamental inspiration in the surrounding world. What I am expecting is to discover a new way (for me) to produce images: with a very controllable medium, creating unexpected results.

The plan is to print a book that will narrate my personal interpretation of the “culturalization” process, including photographs, scans, photograms and digital manipulated visuals.

Images Sample2.jpg

2 How do you plan to make it?

I begun shooting the photographs in 2019, in Brazil, and during this year I have added some more images shot in The Netherlands and Italy.

During September 2021 I have started collecting minerals and gemstones: now I am in the process of scanning these natural objects and including them in the book as archival documents, treated in black and white. The idea is to print these images with a specific printing technique with a silver finishing coating.

Moreover, during the past months I have been working on the creation of few digitally manipulated images. Starting from my original pictures, I mix them up with the use of a software that creates a random final visual effect.

The other medium I’d like to begin experimenting with, are photograms in the darkroom.

The idea is to develop further the following creations:

- Expanding the research around gemstones, cataloging 15 to 20 new stones;

- Produce more digitally manipulated files;

- Start experimenting with analog photograms in darkroom;

- Select, edit and assemble photographs;

- Work on the book shape, graphics and layout;

All of these outcomes will be organically integrated within the final book, conceiving a storyline as relevant as possible for my own narrative.

Regarding the book design, I am working with a duo of graphic designers, we are developing together the book concept, graphics layout and printing materials and supports.

Reflecting on the final outcomes, in addition to the book, I would like to create an immersive installation for the graduation show. My wish is to exhibit few images on a large scale, most likely printed on support such as light-boxes, accompanied by soundscapes, in order to create an immersive experience.

Images Sample.jpg Images 3.jpg

3 Why do you want to make it?

I started to develop an interest in this topic few years ago, while I was reading texts about the anthropological studies conducted by Claude Lévi-Strauss, largely focused on ethnographic field research in Brazil. I was mainly struck by his analysis on themes such as linguistics, taboos, signs and traces.

As time passed, I started to dive deeply into these topics and I realized that there was a straightforward yet unconscious link with my photography research projects carried out the previous years. I’ve always been interested in the natural as well as constructed landscapes and my photography-eye is fascinated by that.

I want to take advantage of the upcoming months to develop the narrative in the most efficient yet meaningful way, and find the right key. In parallel I want to produce new digitally manipulated contents as well as photograms in the darkroom that can complete the visual work. Within the culturalization process, the digitally manipulated visuals (ideally) represents the latest technology available, but at the same time its peculiarity of creating randomized outcomes > I am interested in this dichotomy.

In regards of the images with black and white gemstones, I would like to experiment and play around with darkroom photograms. This part it’s still work in progress, I need to clarify which position and form these visuals will take place once I will get the results.

4 Relation to previous practice

This project intends to be a continuation and a deeper dive into my ongoing research on Nature and Culture dualism.

As I previously mentioned, during the last year I’ve been working on different series of images that presented how natural landscapes and elements had inspired or affected our surrounding ‘artificial’ world.

For instance, in 2018 I developed a project called Port Talbot, a documentation of the environmental, social and economical effects on one of the most polluted city in the UK. During these years, my visual language as well as the approach evolved, but the fundamental premises remained.

My intention is to develop the concept more in different directions, theoretically as well as practically, building a body of work that live as a generative evolution of the previous ones.

5 Relation to a larger context

Nature and culture converge in many ways that span values, beliefs and norms to practices, livelihoods, knowledge and languages. As a result, there exists a mutual feedback between cultural systems and the environment, with a shift in one often leading to a change in the other. For example, knowledges evolve with the ecosystems upon which they are based, and languages contain words describing ecosystem components. If plants or animals are lost, then the words used to describe them are often lost shortly afterwards, and this changes the way the natural environment is shaped by the practices of those human communities. Nature provides the setting in which cultural processes, activities and belief systems develop, all of which feed back to shape biodiversity.

6 Who can help you and how?

Steve - Discussing the meaning of the work. Finding supportive literature and visual theories in relation to my work.

Ine and David - can help me with the narrative of the story as well as visuals selection and meaning.

Menno Boer - Darkroom and printing tips.

Graphic Designers I'm working with - For the design layout, typography and paper.

7 What is your timetable?

November: → Images editing → Start the images selection process → Collecting minerals

December: → Start working on the book layout, graphics and paper → Scan minerals → Start experimentation with photograms in darkroom

January: → Continue working on the book layout, graphics and paper → Continue producing new digital manipulated images

February: → Finalize the book layout and graphics → Start editing digital manipulated images and scans/analog photograms

March: → Finalize the book layout → Print dummy book

April: → Book Printing → Initial thoughts on the exhibition

May: → Book Launch → Start Working on the exhibition

June: → Build up the exhibition

8 References/bibliography

Cook, Theodore Andrea, Sir. (1903). Spirals in nature and art. J. Murray. Retrieved from 10.5479/sil.25890.39088001368638

Cook, Theodore Andrea, Sir. (1914) The Curves of Life (London, 1914)

Daston, L., & Galison, P. (2007). Objectivity. New York, Zone Books.

De Lattre, M. (2021). Mother’s Therapy. The Eriskay Connection.

Hartmann, J. (2021). Mastering the Elements. The Eriskay Connection.

J. Stoots. Karl Blossfeldt Indisputably Modern, 2011

Levi Strauss, C. (1964). Totemism. London, Merlin Press.

March L. and Steadman P. (1971), The Geometry of Environment (London, 1971), pp. 229-32.

Murata, H., Material Forms in nature: The Photographs of Karl Blossfeldt. Scholfield, Peter Hugh. “The Theory of Proportion in Architecture.” (2011).

Steadman, P. (1979). The Evolution of Designs Biological Analogy in Architecture and the Applied Arts /Philip Steadman. Cambridge University Press, 1979.

Thompson, D. (1992). On Growth and Form (Canto) (J. Bonner, Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781107325852