Studio for Propositional Cinema Exhibition The disaster camera responds to photography’s current status as a medium on the brink of extinction, offering techniques to preserve it while reimagining its future. The exhibition is supervised by Lentil crushers, a new dystopian narrative work composed of texts and photographs, which tells the story of a group of dissidents who try to reinvent photography to free it from authoritarian control. Nestled in the narrative is “Manual: The Camera of Disaster”, a survival kit – loosely structured on the 1844 book by William Henry Fox Talbot Nature’s Pencil—containing the knowledge and tools needed to untangle the photographic process from the annihilating logic of industrialism and the algorithmization of desire.
The disaster camera aims to reclaim the means of production in order to imagine a form of image making that could be preserved in futures where photography is made illegal or technology is lost in disaster scenarios such as power grid failures or the loss industrial production capacity. Beyond a call to preserve photography itself, the work shines a light on photography within a web of other forms of communication and expression that are systematically ceded to corporations and governments that can then, at will, control their use. By insisting on the continuing possibilities of what photography could still become, one can attempt to resurrect it and give it, and the world it depicts, another future.
Composed of large-scale photographic and textual elements, this installation draws on Studio for Propositional Cinema’s exhibition practice in which the exhibition format itself is used as a temporal narrative form. The disaster camera offers a quasi-cinematic experience that viewers unfold through the exhibition, its dialogues and its images: a dismantled disaster film with a cautiously hopeful ending.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new catalog box with contributions from David Campany, Joanna Demers, Paulina Pobocha and Jeff Wall. It will be launched during the 40th anniversary celebration of the Abteiberg Museum on June 23, 2022.
The disaster camera is financed by the Hans Fries Stiftung, the Stiftung Kunstfonds and the Embassy of Canada, generously supported by RECOM ART and HALBE Rahmen.
Studio for Propositional Cinema was inaugurated in Düsseldorf, Germany in 2013. Recent exhibitions and exhibition projects include Swallow Project Space, Vilnius, Lithuania (2021), Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy (2019), Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2018), Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, Germany (2017), Swiss Institute, New York, USA (2017), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2016), Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf , Germany (2016) and mumok , Vienna (2015). Their recent collection of writings, Myths and manifestoswas published by Kunstverein München and Verlag der Büchhandlung Walther und Franz König in 2021.