June 6, 2023
As a passionate exponent of analogue photography, I have become convinced over the past several years of the possibilities of its marriage with new digital technologies and online applications. Part of my practice has always been research, into materials and photographic technology. It has not been an enormous stretch to expand this to the digital and online realms. This has been made possible by the generous support of the Dutch Mondrian Foundation. My latest work is the first step in this new direction of combining analogue photography with new and exciting digital technology. It is based on the ‘obsession room’ in my 2016 exhibition Une Femme at Huis Marseille, museum of photography, in Amsterdam. In this white cube constructed in the middle of this rather ornate location, over one thousand small photos (8x10cm) were exhibited in close proximity. The pictures show objects from the life of the exhibition’s main, Beirut based, narrative character, M. Khiar, against a white background. It details the obsession of the photographer with M. Khiar’s daily life and is set against their mutual experience of conflict, in M. Khiar’s case Lebanon’s civil war and in the photographer’s case, his war photography.
Now, the overwhelming feeling created by these images all grouped together in a large white space can be experienced at home, or in any location of your choosing, though the miracle of Apple’s latest augmented reality (AR) technology. Simply open it on your iPhone or iPad and transport yourself to M. Khiar’s obsession room. The AR room will be slowly expanding over the course of several months to include over two thousand images. To introduce this new work and anchor it to its analogue roots, I have created unique sets of twelve randomly selected photos from among these images. Each of the photos will be accompanied by its own NFT. The sets of twelve photos are being presented in porcelain boxes finished with an engraved aluminium band and with a photo on the lid. A unique version of the AR obsession room with its own NFT completes the set.
The use of NFTs, each unique with its own code, echoes the uniqueness of each analogue print, which will always show slight variations and tell-tale characteristics despite an effort at consistency. The AR obsession room opens up a new way of looking at what was initially and expressly an analogue work. Yet, the link with the objects remains tangible and authentic through the photos and the incredibly durable porcelain box. Summary of the work: 1 handcrafted porcelain box signed and numbered by the artist which contains: 12 printed images on silver halide paper, each one of two editions + artist proof 12 NFTs, one for each image 1 Augmented reality digital work NFT from an edition of 333