Mishka Henner has a solo show at the Carroll/Fletcher gallery right now. How come i never paid more attention to his work so far? Just like Edward Burtynsky, he looks at how industries shape landscapes. Like Trevor Paglen and Omer Fast, he is interested in (overt and covert) sites that the U.S. military deploys outside of its own borders. Just like Michael Wolf and Jon Rafman, he is a photographer using google mapping instruments instead of a camera. Yet, comparing his work to the one of some of the artists i admire the most is pointless. Henner is his own man slash artist. He uses contemporary technology to give a new twist on artistic appropriation and redefines the role of the photographer, the meaning of the photography medium and the representation of the landscape. Without ever using a photo camera.

The Black Diamond exhibition brings together four series of work, based on the collection and mediation of publicly available information sourced through the internet. Henner explains: 'I'm exploiting loopholes in the vast archives of data, imagery and information that are now accessible to us, connecting the dots to reveal things that surround us but which we rarely see or don't want to see.'

Oil Fields and Feedlots are large-scale inkjet prints taken from Google Earth's satellite imagery. The photos reveal landscapes carved by industries meeting the natural resource-devouring demands of two stalwarts of the U.S.'s hyper consumer society: oil and beef.

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Centerfire Feedyard, Ulysses, Kansas, 2013. Feedlots

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Randall County Feedyard, Texas, 2013. Feedlots

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Black Diamond Feeders Inc, Airbase, Herrington, Kansas, 2013-2014. Feedlots

Feedlots are cattle-feeding operations used in factory farming to 'finish off' livestock. Almost all the beef consumed in the United States will have been finished on a feedlot where up to 100,000 steers at a time spend the last months of their lives gaining up to 4 pounds a day on a diet of corn, protein supplements, and antibiotics. Everything on these farms is calculated to maximise meat yield; from the mixture in cattle's feed to the size of run-off channels carrying the animal's waste into giant toxic lagoons.

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Levelland Oil and Gas Field #2, 2013-2014

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Cedar Point Oil Field, 2013-14

In certain parts of the USA, natural features have long been supplanted by man-made marks and structures reflecting the complex infrastructural logic of oil exploration, extraction and distribution. The result is stunning. The prints look fake, painted over and heavily retouched. The exhibition essay compares the images to the work of abstract expressionists.

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Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, 2010. 51 US Military Outposts

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Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean, 2010. 51 US Military Outposts

Fifty-One US Military Outposts presents overt and covert military outposts used by the United States in 51 countries across the world. Once again, the sites were gathered and located using data which exists in the public domain, including official US military and veterans' websites, news articles, and both leaked and official government documents and reports.

"The internet is full of loopholes and leaks," the artist said. "I remember one day Hilary Clinton had categorically stated: 'we have no US military presence in Honduras.' However, the next day I was on Panoramio and was looking around pictures from Honduras - sure enough there was a photograph of a native Honduran worker with his arm around a sergeant major from the US cavalry regiment. The Honduran had even written to all his mates talking about how happy was to have got a job on this US military base. So the internet is full of these really simple leaks that completely contradict statements made by very powerful organisations."

The prints are displayed on plinths filling the rear gallery space, allowing visitors to walk around and watch the images from above, as if we were satellites. Or drones.

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The walls of the space downstairs are covered with Henner's ongoing Scam Baiters series. Scam baiters are internet vigilantes who pose as a potential victims in order to waste scammer's time and potentially expose their identity,. They respond to their email, pretend to go along with the scammer's demands in exchange for time-consuming requests supposed to ensure that the money transaction will be successful. Henner is showing cardboard signs that various scammers were asked to make as a result of email conversations, negotiation of fraudulent documents and bogus websites. One case involved an almost four-month long correspondence between Henner's associate, 'Condo Rice' and a trio of scammers spread across Libya and the United Arab Emirates. In one of his final message, the scam baiter asks the scammer for proof of identity. He asks for a photo containing a U.S. flag held on a stick, a sign with SKAMMERZ ISHU, and 'to be absolutely certain this is a genuine photograph", the scammer has to wear an Obama mask.

Sound recordings of the scammers singing popular songs permeate the space.

Henner is currently shortlisted for Consumption, the Fifth Prix Pictet Award. The exhibition of finalists will be on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in May 2014, where Henner will show a selection of works from his "Oil Fields" and "Feedlots" series.

Black Diamond is at Carroll/Fletcher in London until 31 May 2014.

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Please, don't miss Martin Creed: What's the point of it? at the Hayward Gallery if you're in London. It is visually stunning, very entertaining and it doesn't even require you to wriggle with your brain if you don't want to. In fact, i think this is contemporary art for people who can't suffer to see the words 'contemporary' and 'art' side by side. But don't quote me on this, i never tried to bring a contemporary art-hater to a retrospective of an artist who won the Turner Prize with Work No 227: The Lights Going On and Off, an installation in which the lights of an otherwise empty gallery were turned on and off every five seconds.

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Martin Creed, Work no 960

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Work No. 1094, 2011

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Installation view,Work no. 1092, 2011,Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

Also i am not entirely impartial when it comes to Martin Creed. I love his work. Whether it's the Sick Films in which people enter an empty white space and proceed to vomit on the floor, the mocking neon signs or the cactus plants neatly positioned by size. I LOVE his work.

What's the point of it? is a retrospective which aim wasn't to simply assemble most of Creed's most representative pieces, but to provide a multi-sensory experience. As the following two works will easily demonstrate...

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Work no. 1092, 2011. (Photo by Happy Famous Artists)

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Work no. 1092, 2011. (photo by Happy Famous Artists)

The word MOTHERS almost literally hits you as you enter the gallery. You instinctively duck as the 6 gigantic neon letters slowly gyrate and dominate the whole room. It is fun and slightly menacing. I wonder how the Hayward wasn't served a loud "Health and Safety No No." Meanwhile, 39 metronomes lined up on the floor gently tick at various speeds.

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Installation view, Work no. 200, 1998, Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

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Martin Creed, Work no 200

The small glass room above is filled with some 7000 balloons. I'm claustrophobic. Even the title of the installation, Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, made me hyperventilate.

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Installation view,Work No. 1806, 2014, Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

The exhibition is also an optical party: the walls serve as a happy splashy backdrop for the works. Creed covered them with layers of paint, stripes of adhesive tape and even with rows over rows of small broccoli prints.

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Installation view,Work No. 1585, 2013,Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

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Photo by Happy Famous Artists

There were also videos from the Sick Film and Shit Film series. Work No. 660 shows a rather elegant and not entirely at ease young woman entering the frame and defecating in the middle of a white gallery.

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Work No. 660, 2007

I wish i could find online videos from the Sick Film series. I don't care much for the crap ones but the vomit series is mesmerizing. Some people throw up generously. Others struggle to do so and eventually give up. "Living," as the artist explains "is a matter of trying to come to terms with what comes out of you... That includes shit and sick and horrible feeling. The problem with horrible feelings is you can't paint them. But horrible vomit - you can film that."

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Work Number 1029. Photo via Purple

Rise and fall of an erection on to the Hayward's terrace. Creed has distributed works outside of the usual gallery space: on the terrace, in the bathroom, in the lifts of both the Royal Festival Hall and of the Hayward Gallery.

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Work 1686 (Ford Focus). Photo by Happy Famous Artists

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Photo by Happy Famous Artists

So what's the point of this exhibition? I guess there are many answers to that question. For me, it's about getting lost in sensations, being surprised, feeling awe and disgust at the same time and having a very happy moment that lasted long after i exited the show.

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Installation view Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

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Martin Creed, Work no 629


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Installation view,Work No. 1110, 2011,Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind


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Martin Creed, Work no 88

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Installation view Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

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Installation view, Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

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Martin Creed, work no. 1095

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Work No. 1315

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Installation view,Work No. 928, 2008, Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

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Installation view, Work No. 916, 2008, Martin Creed What's the point of it, Hayward Gallery. © the artist. Photo Linda Nylind

Ah! Martin Creed! Even the man looks very cool.

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Photo by Happy Famous Artists

Martin Creed: What's the point of it? is at the Hayward Gallery until Monday 5 May 2014.

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Jane & Louise Wilson, Urville (from the 'Sealander' series), 2006

Most people are fascinated by ruins. The appeal of the crumbling and the decaying is such that it has its own term in photography. It is called "ruin porn" and Detroit is one of its most celebrated subjects. Tate Britain currently has an exhibition about the mournful, thrilling, comic and perverse uses of ruins in art. It is called Ruin Lust. Not because Tate curators are prude and proper but because they are erudite, the title of the show, i read, comes from the 18th-century German architectural word Ruinenlust.

The exhibition begins with the eighteenth century's fascination for ruins among artists, writers, architects and travelers. Think J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. I can't summon much enthusiasm for paintings, etchings and sculptures of the past so i'm going to stop the romantic trip here, shamelessly skip the first parts of the exhibition and focus solely on contemporary works. Most of them photography.

Contemporary artists see ruins, not simply as scenes for aesthetic pleasure and remembrance of past glory, they also question their essence and even view them as as sites of rebirth and new opportunities.

Even if i deliberately only enjoyed a small part of Ruin Lust, i exited the show content and ready to enjoy any overlooked and crap-looking bit of urbanism London has to offer (before they become a real estate 'prime location'.)

Here is a hasty tour of the show. It represent only a very subjective and photography-heavy perspective of it:

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Jane and Louise Wilson, Azeville, 2006

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Jane & Louise Wilson, Biville (from the 'Sealander' series), 2006

Jane and Louise Wilson have long explored architectural spaces that evoke power and control. The artists started photographing decaying Nazi bunkers on France's Normandy Coast, after having read an article by J.G. Ballard on their place in modernist architecture. "We were intrigued by the World War II bunkers that were being drawn back into the water," Jane says. "It was like something from an ancient civilization, but darker."

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Tacita Dean, Vesuvio, 2001

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Tacita Dean, The Wreck of Worthing Pier, 2001

The Russian Ending, by Tacita Dean, is a series of photogravures with etching inspired by postcards documenting disastrous events. The title of the series refers to a cinematographic practice of the early 20th Century when the last sequences of European movies exported to America and Russia were filmed twice. American audiences would watch the 'Happy End' while a 'Tragic End' was made for Russians.

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Broomberg and Chanarin, Red House #12, 2006

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have photographed marks and drawings made on the walls of what seems to have become a tourist hotspot in the town of Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: the Red House. The building was originally the headquarters of Saddam's Ba'athist party. It was also a place of incarceration, torture and often death for many Kurds. Broomberg and Chanarin

The artists photographed the marks left by Kurdish prisoners. We cannot tell what marks were made when and in what order. History presents itself as a palimpsest. If you wish you can sense in these photographs echoes of Brassai's surrealist images of scratched grafitti from 1930s Paris or Aaron Siskind's photos from the 1950s of daubs and tears made in hommage to abstract expressionist painting. But the context is more pressing and more fraught. The traces recorded by these photographs may relate to past events in the history of the Red House but nothing is settled in Iraq yet. While the photographs are fixed forever, these may not be the last marks made on these walls - David Campany.

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Gerard Byrne, 1984 (screen shot from the video installation), 2005-2006

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Gerard Byrne, 1984 and Beyond, 2005-2006

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Gerard Byrne, 1984 and Beyond, 2005-2006

In 1984 and Beyond, Byrne re-enacts a discussion, published in Playboy in 1963, in which science fiction writers - including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke - speculated about what the world might be like in 1984. Unsurprisingly, they were way off the mark.

Black-and-white photographs accompany the video work look like they came straight from the 1960s but if you look better you realize that they show objects, landscapes, cityscapes and scenes that might just as well belong to 1963, 1984 or now. They show the future that might have been, that probably never was but that still loiter in today's world.

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Keith Arnatt, A.O.N.B. (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), 1982-4

Keith Arnatt's deadpan series A.O.N.B. (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) subverts the idea of what is picturesque and what deserves to get our attention by pointing the camera to the most prosaic man-made interventions in the landscape.

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John Latham, Five Sisters Bing

Five Sisters is a derelict land site in the Midlothian and West Lothian area which John Latham, during his artist's placement with the Scottish Development Office, recommended they be preserved as monuments. He also proposed that the 'bings' (huge heaps of coal waste) should be preserved as monuments. Latham's proposed to erect sculptures, in the form of books, on the summits of the 'bings'.

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Paul Graham, Paint on Road, Gobnascale Estate, Derry, 1985, printed 1993‑4, from the series Troubled Land

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Paul Graham, Republican Coloured Kerbstones, Crumlin Road, from the series Troubled Land

Paul Graham's series Troubled Land looked at "the troubles" in Northern Ireland.

Instead of working like a photojournalist and look for dramatic scenes to document, Graham searched for subtle traces of political instability left in the landscape. Graham said: "It's a combination of landscape and conflict photography, using small seductive landscapes to reveal the details."

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Jon Savage, Uninhabited London, 1977-2008

Savage photographed abandoned locations around North Kensington. In the 1970s, the area had very little in common with the chic neighbourhood it later became. He wrote:

These photos were taken on an old Pentax during January 1977: their purpose was to serve as an image bank for the second issue of the fanzine London's Outrage. The location was the square of North Kensington that lies between Holland Park Road, the Shepherd's Bush spur, Westbourne Park Road and the Harrow Road.

The bulk of the images come from the streets around Latimer Road and Lancaster Road: the district called Notting Dale. Here, as in other inner London areas like W9 (the Chippenham) and WC2 (Covent Garden), the tide of industry and humanity had temporarily receded. Slum housing stock had been demolished, but there was no reconstruction: squatting communities like Frestonia (based in Notting Dale's Freston Road) occupied the remaining buildings. Not yet the clichés of punk iconography, large tower blocks loomed like primitive monsters above the rubble and the corrugated iron. I was guided to this area after seeing the Clash and the Sex Pistols. I was very taken with the Clash, partly because their North Kensington manor was so close to mine. Songs like "How Can I Understand The Flies" and "London's Burning" reflected their environment with precision and passion. London was very poor in the late seventies. (via)

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Rachel Whiteread, A: Clapton Park Estate, Mandeville Street, London E5; Ambergate Court; Norbury Court; October 1993 1996


Rachel Whiteread, B: Clapton Park Estate, Mandeville Street, London E5; Bakewell Court; Repton Court; March 1995

Rachel Whiteread's 1996 prints show tower blocks on three housing estates in east London at the moment of their demolition. The images were scanned from photographs and stages in each of these demolitions were documented in three photographs taken from the same view-point. A fourth photograph of each site from a different location records moments that preceded or followed the knocking down.

The Demolished photos record what Whiteread calls 'something that is going to be completely forgotten ... the detritus of our culture', creating a memorial to the past in the hope of generating something better for the future.

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Tacita Dean, Kodak, 2006

Tacita Dean's film Kodak explores the ruin of images and obsolescence of technology. The artist traveled to Chalon-sur-Saône (France) in 2006 to visit and film the final days of the production of the company's 16-mm film stock.

On the day of filming, the factory also ran a test through the system with brown paper, providing a rare opportunity to see the facilities fully illuminated, without the darkness needed to prevent exposure.

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Laura Oldfield Ford, Detail of Ferrier Estate, 2010

Please, don't let this post convince you that i don't like painting. Laura Oldfield Ford's look at brutalist estates and architecture's failed attempts to build an egalitarian society.

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John Riddy, London (Weston Street), 2009

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David Shrigley, Leisure Centre, 1992

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David Shrigley, Leisure Centre, 1992 (detail)

Ruin Lust is at Tate Britain until 18 May 2014. The catalogue is available on amazon USA and UK.

A visit of the exhibition Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology yesterday made me realize, once again, that i should be grateful to live here and now and not at a time when melancholia was treated with a 'healthy' dose of electric shocks and nerves were supplied with a 'vital energy' by wearing an electrical belt previously soaked in vinegar. This ancient cure looked like jolly good fun though.

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Model of a human brain, sectioned, French, first half 19th century. Image courtesy Science Museum

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Susan Aldworth, Transition series, 2010

Mind Maps explores how mental health conditions have been diagnosed and treated over the past 250 years. Divided into four episodes between 1780 and 2014, this exhibition looks at key breakthroughs in scientists' understanding of the mind and the tools and methods of treatment that have been developed, from Mesmerism to Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) bringing visitors up to date with the latest cutting edge research and its applications.

The small show is everything but dull and scholarly: controversial treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy and poisonous nerve 'tonics' are followed by pendulum measuring the speed of thoughts, Pavlov's experiments on conditional reflexes and by Freud and his couch.

Every single object in the exhibition comes with a fascinating and at times chilling story. The only criticism i'm ready to make about Mind Maps is that ongoing journey into the mysteries of the brain and the nervous system would benefit from a less dim and confined exhibition space.

Highlights from the exhibition:

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Frog Pistol, invented 1860s. Image courtesy Science Museum

The artefact i found most puzzling was the 'frog pistol' developed by German scientist Emil du Bois-Reymond to demontrate 'animal electricity' to his students.

A fresh frog leg was placed on the glass plate inside the tube, with the nerve ends connected to the keys on the top of the pistol grip. When these keys were depressed, a contact was made and the leg kicked back as it if had been electrified.

The small pistol instrument was of course inspired by the work of Luigi Galvani. In the 1780s, the Italian doctor discovered that sparks of electricity caused dead frogs' legs to twitch, leading him to propose that electrical energy was intrinsic to biological matter. Some of the instruments used by Galvani in his pioneering studies of nerve activity are presented in the exhibition, they haven't been displayed in public for more than a century.

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Amuletic dried frog in a silk bag from early 20th century south Devon. Photo Science Museum blog

The nerve/frog connection doesn't stop here. A dried frog inside a silk pouch is a testimony to the resilience of folk medicine in the 20th century, the essicated amphibian was carried around the neck 'to prevent fits and seizures.'

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Detail of an anatomical table displaying human nerves, dissected at the University of Padua in the 17th century (image Fresh eye on London)

Let's keep on the macabre mood with this 17th century dissection table from Padua with all the nerves of (presumably) an executed criminal laid out on it to form a map of the nervous system on a varnished wooden panel.

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Cavallo-style electrical generator, made by George Adams, London, 1780-84. Object no. 1889-29 © Science Museum

Tiberius Cavallo, a leading European authority on medical electricity, designed this compact electrical generator and its accessories, including the 'medical bottle' that regulated the shocks it administered. Turning the glass cylinder built up a static electric charge in the metal collector on the side of the machine.

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D'Arsonval cage from Riviere's clinic, Paris. Image courtesy Science Museum

The patient stood inside the D'Arsonval cage while harmless high-frequency alternating current from the tesla coil on a desk pulsed around the metal framework, generating powerful electromagnetic fields inside the body. The treatment was claimed to stimulate metabolism, reduce obesity and eczema, and temporarily relieve nervous pains.

The cage was only one of the many devices that Dr J-A Rivière, "electrotherapist and pacifist", used in the 1890s. His Paris clinic specialized in 'physical' treatments involving water, air, heat, light, electricity and after 1895, the newly discovered X-rays. Patients were seated in electric chairs, flooded with electric light or plunged into electrified bathtubs.

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Bottle of "Ner-Vigor", with instructions, in original carton, by the Anglo-American Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. Image courtesy Science Museum

Huxley's 'Ner-Vigor' was used between 1892-1943 for "strengthening the nerves." Like some other medical products of the period, it contains a very small measure of the strychnine poison.

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Nervone nerve nutrient, 1924-49. Object no. 1988-317/165 © Science Museum

The Nervone 'nerve nutrient' was launched in the 1920s as an alternative to harmful nerve tonics and was still being sold in the 1960s when it was replaced by new anti-anxiety and depression drugs such as Valium.

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Sherrington's cat model, c. 1920-30. Object No: 1999-917 © Science Museum

Nerve scientist and Nobel Prize winner Charles Sherrington was fascinated by the way cats kept their balance while negotiating obstacles at speed. This model was used to illustrate how the cat's eyes, whiskers, neck, legs and tail continued to work together even when the 'highest' portion of its brain had been removed.

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Electroconvulsive therapy machine made in the 1940s for the Burden Neurological Institute

The period that followed the Second World War saw the rise of several controversial treatments, including electro-convulsive therapy (where electricity is used to induce a brain seizure) and lobotomy.

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Equipment for conducting an electronic lobotomy, 1962

The machine was designed to deliver just enough current to a gold electrode to make a peppercorn sized hole in the brain. This technique, also known as leucotomy, was a more precise form of lobotomy. It was used from the early 1960s to treat patients with uncontrollable anxiety.

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EEG hairnet. Image courtesy Science Museum

Electroencephalography (EEG) remains an essential element of the psychology laboratory. It is frequently used in conjunction with brain scanning.

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Lecuir's battery, 1880-1920. Photo courtesy Science Museum, London

Batteries to stimulate nervous energy sometimes also featured religious symbols, because mental health needs all the help it can get, right?

Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology is free and runs at the Science Museum in London until 10 June.

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Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, The Brothers Non-Collaborative Portraiture, 2013

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First Person Plural. Audience Q&A chaired by Steven Bode with speakers; Adam Broomberg, Julian Stallabrass, Oliver Chanarin Lucy Kimbell and Nina Wakeford

A couple of weeks ago i spent the day at the Dana Center in London for First Person Plural: The cult of the photographer and the culture of social media, a symposium hosted by The Science Museum in collaboration with Film and Video Umbrella.

First Person Plural accompanied the final days of Only in England: Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr, the first exhibition of the Science Museum's brand new Media Space. The conference briefly paid homage to the legacy of Tony Ray-Jones, who chronicled the social rituals of the English in the 1960s, which he feared were at risk of disappearing with Americanisation.

In the increasingly globalised world of the early 21st century, are there equivalent expressions of cultural identity, or equally idiosyncratic social rituals and behaviours, that modern life seems to be passing by - and who are the contemporary artists and photographers who are recording them? Or, taking our cue from new technology, should we turn this question the other way round? In the age of the 'selfie' and social media, might it be the figure of the Photographer, as observer and recorder of social change, that is becoming passé, destined to be replaced by a new type of collective 'portrait' formed from the aggregation and analysis of big data?

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Tony Ray-Jones, Dog owner with is clipped poodle at Crufts dog show, London, 1968 © SSPL/Getty Images

The symposium looked at the impact that current technologies and social media have on the roles, image and identity of the photographer. Some of the highlights of the day included Natasha Caruana explaining how she met with married men in search of an extra-marital affair and documented fragments of their restaurant encounters using a disposable camera, writer and lecturer Julian Stallabrass reminding me how much i love Martin Parr's work (though i'm pretty sure that wasn't Stallabrass' objective) and a talk by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin whose work i've been following with enthusiasm since i discovered it At Strozzina in Florence a few years ago.

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Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin at the First Person Plural symposium

My notes from the events are going to be limited to Broomberg & Chanarin's talk because they highlighted valid points about notions of authorship, about the perception that technology is 'neutral', but they also exposed how representation is complicit in events, not only documenting them but being actually involved in them.

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Jahangir Razmi, Firing Squad in Iran, Aug, 27, 1979

One of the first projects they discussed what the Afterlife series which reconsiders a photograph taken in Iran on 6 August 1979 by a very young Iranian photographer called Jahangir Razmi. Taken just months after the revolution, the image records the execution of 11 blindfolded Kurdish prisoners by a firing squad. This is the kind of photo that wins prestigious awards, like the World Press photo prize. And indeed it won the Pulitzer Prize award. But why is an image like this so beautiful and alluring? Broomberg and Chanarin found and met Razmi and discovered that he had taken many more pictures of the dramatic moment. They looked at Razmi's 27 other frames and dissected them in an attempt to deconstruct the moment. For example, each time the prisoner blinded appeared on an image, they isolated him and included him in a collage which aim was to stop the emotional response triggered by the original image. The collage revealed also the mechanical movement of the photographer around that event.

The deconstruction and reconstruction of the image was inspired by Razmi's answer to the question "What is your favorite film?" He answered that his favourite film was a film that hasn't been made: a film of the assassination of Kennedy but taken from multiple angles.

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Afterlife

Next, Broomberg and Chanarin also explained the importance of chance in photo reportage. For example, Robert Capa's iconic photo of The Falling Soldier was an accident. Capa didn't even look through the lens, he held the camera up and clicked on the shutter. It truly was an accidental image.

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Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, The Day Nobody Died, 2008

B&C illustrated chance in photography with the project The Day Nobody Died, a work made while they were embedded within the British army in Afghanistan. Once there, they turned a military vehicle into a dark room. Each time an important event happened, the duo took up photographic paper and exposed it to light and then put it back in the box. The result doesn't reflect in a figurative way the events that Broomberg & Chanarin were supposed to document in Afghanistan.

The works questions the viewer's expectation from the proxy, the photographer who goes off to the war or to the scene of natural disasters to act as a witness, record and show it to to the public. How much do the images he produces have to be figurative to act as a piece of evidence of the events?

The piece of photographic paper they took to Afghanistan was there. It did go on a journey and, abstract or not, it stands in for this notion of the witness.

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Shirley, 2013

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To Photograph A Dark Horse, 2013

A fascinating point the photographers made was to question the assumption that there is an inherent neutrality to the technology of photography. They illustrated it with a couple of projects. The first responds to the photo of a woman called Shirley. When employees of professional photo laboratories calibrate the printing machine every day, a piece of paper comes out and it comes with various shades of grey to black, then the picture of a lama appears and finally, the picture of a woman. The woman is Shirley. In the beginning of colour films, the Kodak corporation photographed one of the workers, Shirley, and sent the picture out with the word 'normal' as the normal print for caucasian skin. Jean-Luc Godard refused to use Kodak, he called it racist.

Right after the end of segregation in the USA, black and white children started to sit side by side in the same class. Kodak's range was so limited that it was at the time impossible to take a photo of a black and white child in the same frame. It was just a basic limitation of way film had evolved and that's what Godard regarded as racist. Kodak didn't respond to the problem until 2 of their biggest clients, the furniture industry and confectionary industry complained and lobbied Kodak because they were unable to photograph the various nuances of wood and chocolate.
In response to pressure, Kodak developed a new film which they marketed as a film that was good for "photographing of a dark horse in low light."

When Broomberg and Chanarin were invited to a ludicrous mission to document Gabon for two weeks, they went on bay and collected unprocessed 'racist' films which they used in Gabon. They only produced one picture. It is pink (because the green pigment is more stable.)

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I.D. 5, Polaroid Picture, 107mm x 86mm, 2013

From there, the photographers became increasingly interested in the idea that a camera or a piece of films could somehow embody ethical ideas, that a piece of technology wasn't ethically neutral. The collaboration of Polaroid with South Africa's Apartheid State is a clear evidence of this.

Polaroid developed for the apartheid government the ID-2 camera that was used to produce the pass book picture that all Africans had to carry around with them. The camera has two lenses so that you can make the portrait and the profile in same sheet of paper. There is also a special button at the back of the device that has been especially designed for black skin. By pressing it, you increase the flash power by 42 percent.

Two Afro American employees of Kodak ("Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement") campaign to convince Polaroid to retire from South Africa. They were fired but the Head of Polaroid eventually sent a delegation in the country and subsequently withdrew all Polaroid products closely linked to end of Apartheid.

Again, B&C went online, bought one of those cameras and traveled to South Africa to take pictures that turned on its head the toxic use of the camera. They decided to ignore the rules they found in the guide book that comes with the camera and proceeded to photograph the flora and fauna of South Africa.

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Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot, from Two Eyes Above a Nose Above a Mouth, 2013. Photograph: Broomberg and Chanarin

The last work they mentioned is their ongoing curatorial project Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen, a Yiddish insult that means "A piece of meat with two eyes".

Once again, the work emerged from what the photographers call a 'ludicrous' commission. When the G20 met in Saint Petersbourg, one photographer from each of the G20 countries was invited to come and create a piece of work about Russia. B&C discovered a small Russian company at the avant-garde of surveillance software. Their cameras are invisible and can be placed anywhere. They capture data as you pass through and make marking of your face. The result is not a photograph but a 'data double', an algorithmic map of the face, a structure of your bone. The machine doesn't need the image to portray and identify a person. This technology heralds the breakdown of the photographer and the collapse of camera. At the same time, it announced the advent of software and computer.

The developers of the software said that the biggest challenge was developing a camera that could operate in a non collaborative mode. We are thus entering a new era of non collaborative portraiture, the subject does not even need to be aware that their face is being scanned in 3 dimensions, that can later be rotated and scrutinized. The technology totally substitute the meaning of the face with the mathematics of the face.

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"Life for life, {21:24} Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, {21:25} Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe" - Exodus 21:23, Holy Bible© Adam Broomberg e Oliver Chanarin, MACK/AMC, 2013

Some of the presentations are on soundcloud.

See also: Broomberg and Chanarin's best photograph: Pussy Riot in 3D and 'Racism' of early colour photography explored in art exhibition.

Previously: Only in England: Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr.

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Jealous Gallery

Art14 is "London's global art fair." It took place a couple of weekends ago and it is my favourite art fair in London. Not that i'm a big fan of fairs but, you know, "In the country of the blind," blablabla. Art14 changes its name every year. Last year was its first edition and it was called, you guessed it, Art13. If i had to compare it to Frieze i'd say that catering is far better at Art14 (which for me means "WOW! there's a juice bar, here!"), the public is much younger and the art is more accessible and not just financially. Last but not least, there's no Jeff Koons inflated glitter in sight. I did see too many Botero though. At least one.

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Thorsten Brinkmann, Karl Schrank von Gaul, 2008

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Installation view of Art14 London, Photography: Written Light

The reason why Art14 defines itself as "London's global art fair" is that the 180 participating galleries come from all over the world. Europe of course but also Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America. 38 different countries in total.

What follows is a long series of images of works i discovered at the fair. Most of them are photography because that was the medium that stood out at the fair for me.

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Jason Larkin, Pressurised Water, Krugersdorp, Johannesburg, 2013. Flowers Gallery

Johannesburg was founded on the wealth that came flooding in from a gold rush beginning in 1886. The mines didn't just create the fortunes, they also generated six billion tonnes of waste dumped outside the city's poorer areas. Some 400,000 people now live surrounded by these mountains of waste.

In his series Tales From the City of Gold, Jason Larkin documents life in these impoverished areas.

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Hirohito Nomoto, Facade Pachinko, 2013. Tezukayama Gallery

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Hirohito Nomoto, Façade 05 (ed.7) 2011

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Hirohito Nomoto, Façade 02 (ed.7) 2011

This series records some of the structures damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Hirohito Nomoto explains: The photographs of the facade of each building were taken using techniques of architecture photography that allowed me to keep my emotions at bay, in order to depict the scene as naturally as possible. The aim of this work was to present the viewer an image of what happened there on the day. Most of the buildings in the series were pulled down and do not exist anymore.

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Ohad Matalon, Tower, Egypt-Israel Border, 2011-2013. Podbielski Contemporary

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Ohad Matalon, Tower, Egypt-Israel Border, 2011-2013. Podbielski Contemporary

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Ohad Matalon. Podbielski Contemporary

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Ohad Matalon, P.o.v., Jaffa, 2007

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Shen Chao-Liang, STAGE #97, 2011. AKI Gallery

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Shen Chao-Liang, STAGE #14, 2011. AKI Gallery

Shen Chao-Liang photographed the extravagant stage trucks employed by cabarets and other performers to travel across Taiwan. In less than an hour, the stages turn from mundane vehicles into 50-foot sensory spectacles complete with powerful sound systems, neon lights, and splashing painted stage sets. And back into trucks again until their next destination.

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Francesco Jodice, Capri #3, 2013

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Jeff Liao, Luna Park (Coney Island series), 2010. Crane Kalman Brighton

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Helene Schmitz, Alabama Fields

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Hazem Harb, We Used to Fly on Water, 2014. ATHR GALLERY

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Albert Renger-Patzsch, Schubert & Salzer factory, Ingolstadt, Germany, 1950. Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs

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Albert Renger-Patzsch, Schubert & Salzer factory (Blow room machine, Cotton Mill Machine. Untitled), Ingolstadt, Germany, 1950 (Blow room machine, Cotton Mill Machine. Untitled)

Bauhaus artist Albert Renger-Patzsch looked for beauty and dignity of prosaic industrial machines.

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Nelli Palomäki, Baawo at 30, 2011. Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire

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Michael Ormerod, Child with Mask, Hillrose, Colorado, 1989. Crane Kalman

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Abdul Abdullah, You see monsters, 2014. Fehily Contemporary

Abdul Abdullah's Siege refers to the 'siege mentality'; a state of mind in which one feels under attack. Abdullah feels this is a condition suffered by many minorities and marginalized groups, particularly young Muslims who live in traditionally 'Western' societies. Growing up in the post 9/11 era, Abdullah has stated that he believes that if there is a 'bad guy' in the popular imagination, it would be Muslims, and as a Muslim he has felt obligated to defend his position.

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Ramune Pigagaite, Feuerwehrmann (Menscher meiner Stadt), 2004. Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs

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Ramune Pigagaite, Fischer III (Menscher meiner Stadt), 2001. Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs

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Ramune Pigagaite, Bahnwärterin, (Menscher meiner Stadt), 2000. Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs

Ramune Pigagaite was born in Varena, a small town in Lithuania. People of my Town is a series of forty small sized colour photographic portraits of people from Varena. Their professions seem antiquated, strange and curious: baker, beekeeper and poet.

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Hugh Holland, Stacy Peralta in the Valley, 1977. Crane Kalman

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Hugh Holland, Skate Shooter, Kenter Canyon Elementary, Brentwood, 1976. Crane Kalman

Hugh Holland documented the early days of the skating culture in California. The young people he photographed in the 1970's became legendary names of the sport.

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Sofia Borges

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Sebastiao Salgado, Church Gate Station, Western Railroad Line, Bombay India, 1995. Sundaram Tagore Gallery

It would be unfair to reduce the fair to photography:

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Dominic Harris, Ruffled. Privatekollektie Contemporary Art

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He An. Tang Contemporary, Beijing

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Anton Goldenstein, Rocket Summer. Coates and Scarry

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Anton Goldenstein, There Will Come Soft Rains. Coates and Scarry

Anton's works are a cultural fusion of African/European cultural references and phenomena. Influenced by his family's history with tales of deterritorialisation, migration, displacement and assimilation his practice is multiplicitous, presenting an ongoing exploration, a type of meta-anthropology, a broad sweep of culture(s), conglomerations of many themes, histories and ideas (from natural/world/art histories, language and media).

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Linus BILL, Weniger Jugend, mehr Polizei, 2011. Christophe Gute Galerie

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Penny Byrne, Gaddafi's Girl Guards, 2011. Fehily contemporary


Ding Chien Chung, Église Vide (幽蕩之堂). Galerie Grand Siecle

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At Jealous Gallery

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At Jack Bell Gallery

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Photography: Written Light

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Photography: Written Light

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Yinka Shonibare, Cannonball Heaven

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