>Ian Dawson

>Pictures Not Homes, Ian Dawson and Louisa Minkin, 12.01.17-27.01.17, Winchester School of Art Gallery, UK

In ‘PICTURES NOT HOMES’, Ian Dawson and Louisa Minkin assemble in the gallery material documentation of the urban regeneration process enabled by new-imaging technologies; the wreckage of place salvaged as file types. The exhibition title is a reversal of the slogan ‘HOMES NOT PICTURES’ daubed by protesters across ‘social’ artwork on a demolition site hoarding. This exhibition wanders about appearance and dwelling, through pictures and homes, divisions and productions, data-sets and concrete abstractions. Regeneration is a key word here, standing in for varied processes of optimism and despair. It points towards a yearning for better futures whilst simultaneously masking dispossession: a byword for social cleaning and clearing, a logic of ‘bettering.’ The current regeneration cycle involves artists repopulating the site as part of the gentrification process, transforming the image of the locale as new forms of dispersal architecture are manifested. This is a question of home as frontline, the ends of utopia, the mining of cultural capital.

In the spring of 2014 Dawson and Minkin got access to Taplow House, a South East London estate block, before the bulldozers. A row of forgotten shops: a cab-office, a laundrette and a butcher’s, boarded up for 30 years. Taplow House is itself named after Taeppa’s Low, an imposing 7th Century burial mound in countryside far west of the Aylesbury Estate, an invocation of a phantasmatic homeland among the prefabricated concrete slabs and raised walkways. Over a ten-day period they attempted to apply contemporary archaeological recording practices to the site; new technologies such as photogrammetry, reflectance transformation imaging [RTI] and 3D laser scanning. Documenting how memories are written into the world with more or less intent, more or less duration: the stratigraphy of discarded litter accumulating in the corner of rooms, a hand-print on a burnt out wall. 'Technology is where we in the west preserve our ancestors’ writes Sean Cubitt.

In ‘PICTURES NOT HOMES’ Dawson and Minkin will present the results of their partial excavation, 3D prints and scans will be shown as fragments, as a time capsule. This is a documentary project, informative of the site, processes and technologies at work. It is also a way to frame questions of what pictures do: questions of capacities, anxiety and ambivalence. Here is an environment of barricades, sandbags, file types and data as ruin. Belated understandings brought about by lumpen or ‘dirty’ misuse of the technologies. This exhibition will explore the double processes of media where with every picture the viewer is propelled ever further away from the subject, a double movement of capturing and creation occurring with every image and data compilation. ‘We can never directly see what is true, {..} we look at it only in reflection’ Goethe said whilst grappling with these very same issues. 

To coincide with the exhibition a symposium will hosted by the AMT Research group on 26.01.2017