In support of our exhibition Adrift, we’re asking our exhibiting artists four questions to help you get to know a bit about them and their work.
David Kendall’s practice explores how spatial, economic and design initiatives, as well as participatory practices, combine to encourage social and spatial interconnections or conflict in cities. Kendall utilises visual archives, mapping, events and embodied experiences to activate and generate his photographic, film and site-specific projects. His photographs, spatial research and collaborative projects have been exhibited and presented internationally including Tate Britain, the South Bank Centre London, Københavns Universitet, Denmark, Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Germany, Centro Cultural Manuel Gómez Morín, Santiago de Queretaro, Mexicó, the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge, UK. Kendall is a visiting research fellow within the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, Department of Sociology, University of London, UK.
What can a photo do that other representations can’t? What is it that made you choose photography over other media as a way of communicating?
An attractive feature of photography is accessibility; photographs can be utilised to explore connections between the physical manifestation of the city, its architectural form and personal experience. In 2012 digital photographs are viewed and socially exchanged everyday. People use digital imaging technologies to experience and reference our social lives. Photographs offer people opportunities to reflect and move beyond preconceptions of what their world is and can begin to develop fresh visual perspectives of what their world could be. Photographs allow people to look at the world with fresh eyes, form opinions, explore common narratives and question the status quo.
What’s the first thing you remember photographing and why did you choose it as your subject?
Growing up on the edge of London I spent my adolescence travelling between the suburban ‘green belt’ and the centre of the city. Walking in sites designed for road travel offered me autonomous opportunities to move freely and weave within city spaces intended to direct users towards particular destinations. I became interested in generating photographs that explore journeys and not destinations. The repetitive act of walking and social uses of architecture encouraged the visual development of my photography. Consequently perceptual connections between communal spaces, structural features, ledges and contours, moving traffic, the physical and psychological affects of the climate, continues to inform my creative practice.*
How does your photographic process work, where do you start? Is it with a theory or idea, or is it driven by aesthetics or a desire to use a certain technique or piece of equipment? Have you found photography to be an effective research tool? Has it uncovered ideas which have changed the path of your thinking?
Temporality is a structural component within urban development that informs how my projects move forward. Spatial aesthetics and visual experiences have been as important as photographic technique or equipment when producing, ‘Gone but Not Forgotten.’ Photographic composition relies on where we stand, locate or position a camera. The technological experience of making a photographic journey interacts with spatial and theoretical insights and texts.
Journeys are elemental in allowing the re-conception of spatial and social possibilities that may manifest in world cities. In making these images I have attempted to create ocular pauses within space in order to gather my thoughts. I do not feel present or absent. The images are scenes viewed time after time, day after day, year after year, always present yet always absent. I enjoy the ongoing process of discovery; excursions s into the city inspires new work and practice development. Photography helps me compose original ideas; produce projects, visual journals and written assignments that examine how personal and collective spatial experiences intersect in cities.*
*03/03/2013 Edited to update the artists response to questions