April / May 2014
The Opaque Document: the Poetic and Political Dimension of the Everyday.
Campus in Camps, Al Feneiq Center, (Dheisheh Refugee Camp)

The everyday or the quotidian (meaning “daily,” from Latin quotus “how many? ” + dies “day”) is defined by repetition and the consequent concealment of our own realities, making them opaque. In a condition where the everyday is disrupted physically and or psychologically, the act of concealment dictated by repetition can be situated between the poetic and the political. The latter is a dimension that follows the collective urge for explanations towards a certain condition while acting inside an individual imaginary space. Developing this proposition this cycle proposes a discussion that considers photography as a language that – because of its nature of being opaque in its process, while still adopting the quality of a document – creates a voice that speaks to the relationship between re-presentation, time, and the archive.

This approach developed in the cycle into a “Politics of Re-Presentation”, focusing on the observation of the photographic gesture of recording the everyday using mobile phones technology. The reason for using this medium is to start a dialogue on how identity and representation today cannot be separated from technology as a ‘state’ of Post Modern society. The participants were invited to select twenty images from their mobile phone pictures following the themes of: imagination, narrative, impermanence. The motivation behind these three words or concepts raised from a discussion to the following reference in Gaston Bachelard The Poetics of Space:

Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger then all the houses of the past so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home…Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts – serious, sad thoughts – and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence then in one of finality.

Gaston Bachelard,
The Poetics of Space
Chapter 2: House and Universe Section VIII

Biographical note

Valentina Bonizzi is an Italian artist based in Scotland since 2005. Bonizzi explores the capacity of technology to represent historical time. Responding to scientific methods that define citizenship and seeking alternative modes of representing the individual within collective history, she explores migrant experiences from 1850 to the present day, developing long-term relationships with people and paying careful attention to specific moments in history.
Bonizzi’s work is supported by the AHRC, Creative Scotland and her work has recently been commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland, Stills Gallery, Cultural Documents.