Permanent Error

While in Milan i ventured into the Disquieting Images exhibition at the Triennale. I faced more shock and scandal as i was expecting. The exhibition doesn’t shun from showing images that depict domestic violence, decaying corpses, post-war trauma, animal abuse, unorthodox sexual practices, etc. The usual suspects were there – Diane Arbus, Letizia Battaglia, Nan Goldin, Yoshiyuki Kohei, Robert Mapplethorpe, etc. – and so were many photographers whose work i was not so well acquainted with.

Full report on your desk as soon as i’m out of this wifi limbo where uploading an image takes longer than reading a volume of A la recherche du temps perdu.

permerrorabdulai35.jpgPieter Hugo, Abdulai Yahaya, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2010

Speaking of usual suspects…. Pieter Hugo was there.

Pieter Hugo 7 .jpgPieter Hugo, Untitled, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2010

Pieter Hugo 6 .jpgPieter Hugo, Untitled, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2009

After the moving and now iconic series The Hyena and Other Men and the stunning Nollywood, Hugo‘s latest work, Permanent Error, portrays the people, animals and landscape of a dumping ground for computers and electronic waste from Europe and the US. The area, on the outskirts of a slum known as Agbogbloshie, in Ghana, is a shocking contrast to the better faster shinier life promised by the unrelenting advances of technology.

permerror36.jpgYakubu Al Hasan, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2009

Notions of time and progress are collapsed in these photographs. There are elements in the images that fast-forward us to an apocalyptic end of the world as we know it, yet the alchemy on this site and the strolling cows recall a pastoral existence that rewinds our minds to a medieval setting. The cycles of history and the lifespan of our technology are both clearly apparent in this cemetery of artifacts from the industrialised world. We are also reminded of the fragility of the information and stories that were stored in the computers which are now just black smoke and melted plastic.

permerror14.jpgUntitled, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2009

permerror18.jpgUntitled, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana 2010

Disquieting Images, an exhibition co-curated by Germano Celant and Melissa Harris, remains open at the Triennale in Milan through 9th January 2011.