Shutter Hub member Caroline Thake recently exhibited in her first group show – between the 1st and 11th of February her work formed part of Leyden Gallery’s Platform for Emerging Arts #13. As part of our Close Up series, we invited her to share some of the images from the exhibition, as well as telling us more about the inspiration behind her work.
For this exhibition I showed three works – a large aluminium backed C-type print of a piece called Interzone, made in Tangier, Morocco; a moving image piece made during a recent residency at Largo das Artes in Rio de Janeiro; and a reworking of an older set of images made in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Interzone was made during the first of three trips I have made to Morocco over the last few years. The piece, made in March 2015 is a homage to the late William Burroughs, a groundbreaking author and prominent member of the Beat Generation.
Among his innovations were his cut up texts, the cut up technique, pioneered by Tristan Tzara was stumbled upon by Burroughs and Brion Gysin while residing at 9 Rue Gît-le-Cœur, Paris, nicknamed the Beat Hotel. The discovery played a prominent role in Burroughs work, particularly his Nova Trilogy which included ‘The Soft Machine’, ‘The Ticket That Exploded’ and ‘Nova Express’.
Tangier is a city steeped in counter culture myth and resonates with a sordid history. From 1924-1956 Tangier was known as the International Zone, a combination of Morocco’s instability and it’s key geographical positioning as a gateway between Europe and Africa meant that a range of European countries had a financial and tactical interest.
During this time Tangier was home to the rich, to spies, exiles and an array of influential writers including Jean Genet, Paul Bowles and William Burroughs who’s seminal work Naked Lunch was written here. In his novel Burroughs referred to the International Zone as Interzone.
I first got hold of a William Burroughs novel while on a scholarship at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, during the second year of my undergraduate studies. The book was called the Western Lands, a later novel and one of my favourite of his works. From there I went on to read and study Burroughs prolific body of work and experiment with the techniques he used to produce them.
I spent my final year exploring text, I used techniques such as stream of consciousness, dream material, plagiarism, dialogues and cut up techniques. The outcome was a book of texts exploring language itself, looking at and manipulating it’s structures and margins, breaking it’s rules.
Some time after this discovery I realised the potential of applying these techniques to my photographic work, which at the time I had become disenchanted with. This happened back in 2009, just before I started my Postgraduate study and since this time I have been refining the process and building a body of work, a selection of which can be viewed on my website.
The moving image work called Fuji Test ii (view here on Vimeo) was made in October 2016 while on residency at DESPINA in Rio de Janeiro. My piece for the end of residency show took the form of duel projections, the upper projection, Fuji Test ii, melting through a series of vibrant images of the cityscape. The lower projection containing images from Jardim Botanico displayed perpendicular to the first, and running at half the speed, the shifting of imagery often almost imperceptible.
This work was an exploration of the cityscape, an examination of the conjunction and flux between the natural and the man made. Rio offered a rich and colourful tapestry from which I created a fantastical mapping celebrating the energy and vibrancy of this culturally rich and beautiful city alongside a meditation on the natural world constantly vying for space.
Leyden’s Platform show has been an important step in my development as an artist – an opportunity to showcase a few of my key pieces of work and a platform upon which I hope to begin building a diverse and international network within which to work and exhibit.
All images: © Caroline Thake
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