Image credit: Kate Golding, Camera obscura (install detail), 2016, courtesy

Thursday 2 March, 6pm | Centre for Contemporary Photography
Gold-coin doantion, no bookings required.

CCP’s Echo Chamber represents a series of occasional, ongoing public programs showcasing current emerging research in all areas of photography, including historical research, technology, communications and contemporary discussion.

Chair | MICHELLE MOUNTAIN | Program Manager, Centre for Contemporary Photography


Kate Golding | The camera obscura: past, present, future

A precursor to photography as we know it today, the camera obscura is a naturally occurring optical phenomenon. Through her research, Golding has examined historical and contemporary applications of this “darkened chamber” from astronomical observation, seaside recreation, scientific and military uses through to art making. This research has extended to experimentations with the creation of several camera obscura both fixed and portable. However, the camera obscura is more than just a photographic apparatus or mechanical device, it can be an idea, a metaphor. French philosopher, Sarah Kofman has examined how Marx, Freud and Nietzsche all made use of the camera obscura as metaphor in their writing. This presentation will discuss both this history and philosophy. Golding will propose ways in which the camera obscura, as experiential device, might be used to disrupt perception.

Kate Golding is an artist based in Narrm Melbourne who utilises photographic processes to examine colonisation while reflecting critically on her own settler heritage. Currently undertaking a Master of Fine Arts by Research degree at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, her research project focuses on First Nation sovereignty, the memorialisation of Captain Cook and the creation of counter-monuments. Golding has exhibited both nationally and internationally and last year was the winner of the 2016 Linden Postcard Show and the Best Work by a CCP Member award at the 2016 CCP Salon.

Image credit: Kate Golding, Camera obscura (install detail), 2016, courtesy the artist.

Sophia Cai | In My Skin: Contemporary Chinese Photography

In this talk, emerging curator and arts writer Sophia Cai will examine the use of the body in Chinese contemporary photography. Drawing on the works of young artists born in the 1970s and 1980s, who have all grown up without direct experience of socialism and the Cultural Revolution, this talk will examine how social, economic and political changes are registered through personal experiences and identity. The focus on the corporeal through the lens of photography offers the artists a means to mediate directly on contemporary life and issues, while anchored in personal experience and intimacy. While not always overtly political in nature, the primacy of the body works can be understood against a broader backdrop of China’s recent history and developments, particularly in relation to a shift from collectivism to individualism.

Sophia Cai is an emerging curator and arts writer with a particular interest in Asian art history and craft-based contemporary art practices. She completed a Masters in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2014 specialising in contemporary Chinese art post-1979, and previously graduated from the Australian National University with a First-Class Honours degree in Art History and Curatorship. As an independent curator, Sophia has worked on exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne including Secret Garden at Schoolhouse Studios (2015), Some words are just between us at Firstdraft (2016) and Closing the Distance at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre (2017).

Roderick Grant
Critical Infrastructure: Landscape, Intention and Intervention

What we see as the outward visual denotation of urban infrastructure is not always connected directly to what it might connote as a symbol, an index, or as an embodiment of policy, need, capital and spatial practice. The objective of this new research and scholarship is to bring to light the disjunctions and contradictions in the visual coherence of our urban infrastructure, and to reveal how we might begin to analyze its meaning and re-assess the significance of its critical adaptation, and intentional evolution. The core aspects of infrastructure that this investigation will address begin with energy – what can be understood by their critically assessing the overlap, integration and opposition of infrastructure with seen and unseen aspects of governance.

Roderick Grant is Chair + Associate Professor of Graphic Design at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Before joining OCAD University in the Fall of 2009, Roderick was Assistant Professor of Design, at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He holds an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BA in Urban Studies from New College of Florida. Roderick’s design practice – simonjames – a partnership with his wife Michelle Grant, focuses on small architectural and editorial projects, design competitions, and speculative design work. He is currently a Visiting Researcher at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia for the 2016/17 academic year, initiating a longer-term research project on urban infrastructure, photojournalistic representation and visual narrative construction.

Applications to present research for future Echo Chamber public programs are welcome.