Japanese Stab Binding

Whilst talking through my ideas for Assignment 2, my tutor recommended Japanese stab binding as a way of producing a book for my photographs. This idea really appealed to me, however it was something I had overlooked previously, due to the numerous online tools for creating photo books. It had never occurred to me that I could make my own. 

Online publishers, such as Blurb, make it very convenient and obvious to use them, especially when they have plugins for software such as Adobe Lightroom. However, now that I want to include acetate pages in my book, I will need to make it myself. 

My tutor had suggested Japanese stab binding.  I had never heard of it before. After researching more about it online, I liked the bespoke nature of the finished product. It gave the book a ‘one-off’ feel, rather than one made using an online publisher.  

There are a number of Japanese stab binding video guides, such as the one below. I watched a few of them, to get a good idea of what the method involved.  

After watching the videos, it appears to be quite a simple process. It is something that I want to try for this assignment. 

Exercise 2.2: The artist as archivist

Now that we are well and truly in a digital world, Belgian photographer, Mishka Henner, believes that images and data are waiting to be discovered. His work involves trawling unimaginably vast data terrains, such as Google Earth and Street View, to find specific subjects. Rather than a ‘photographer’, he could be referred to as a ‘digital explorer’. 

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Exercise 2.1: The artist as curator

For this exercise I needed to create a typology of found images, in which a particular motif appears again and again. At first, I had thought about something link red telephone boxes or black cabs. However, the photographs often contained a lot of irrelevant visual information, which might detract from the main subject. Having found out about Joachim Schmid's method of collecting  and categorising photographs, I tried to think of the modern day equivalent. I found my answer on the Internet.

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Archive Noises

In his chapter, Archive Noises, Joan Fontcuberta (2014) attempts to define the role and purpose of photography in modern society. Since its existence was announced at the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Fine Arts, by scientist and politician, François Arago on the 19th August 1839, Fontcuberta (2014) defines modern photographic practice as a discourse between documentation and experimentation, and between memory and forgetting. In other words, the photograph enables us to capture details which the human eye might miss, and serve as a prompt to recall visual data, which would otherwise be forgotten.  

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Let's go to a place

OCA tutor, Wendy McMurdo, uses photography to document the relationship between children and technology. She is currently exhibiting 'Let's Go to a Place', at the Edinburgh Museum of Childhood. It is inspired by the Pokemon Go craze that took the world by storm in the summer of 2016. The GPS-based app enables the user to use the camera on their digital device to view Pokemon characters in front of them, and enter a parallel world.

McMurdo has digitally manipulated the faces of children's portraits from her daughter's class. The distortions remind me of Julie Cockburn's portraits, however McMurdo's shapes appear to be more varied. They remind me of the pixellated shapes of the Pokemon Go characters that they would encounter. 

The viewer is unable to see the child's complete face, because they are not completely there. These digital natives have both an offline and online existence.

I am really interested in McMurdo's approach to the impact of new technologies on children. Her other work includes Masks II, which  explores identity and play in a post-digital world. This will be useful, when studying the Digital Identities part of this course.