LCC’s current showcase exhibition Staging Disorder runs until Thursday 12 March 2015, and the eponymous publication by Black Dog Publishing is co-edited by its curators Christopher Stewart and Esther Teichmann.
The book and exhibition feature photography that explores the ‘real’ in relation to depictions of modern conflict.
We interviewed contributing writer and LCC Senior Lecturer Jennifer Good to find out more.
Tell us a bit about your contribution to Staging Disorder.
When I looked at the work included in the exhibition I was immediately reminded of the writing of Sigmund Freud on ‘the Uncanny’, and also his ideas about how we ‘act out’ our fears in an unconscious, symptomatic way. What also came to mind was Gaston Bachelard’s book ‘The Poetics of Space’, in which he writes that the analysis of spaces can reveal a lot about our unconscious experience.
In my essay I tried to weave these three concepts together, thinking about the spaces of staged conflict as symptoms of deep social anxiety, externalised in uniquely three-dimensional form.
What particularly interests you about the subject of staged conflict?
For a long time I’ve been fascinated by the connection between architecture and the psyche – how spaces are inhabited by our minds as well as our bodies – and by the further complication that happens when photography enters these spaces and creates representations of them.
The places depicted in this exhibition are deeply evocative because of what we are invited to imagine happening in them. I find them troubling on all sorts of levels, because they can tell us a lot about who we are as a society.
What are you currently working on?
My book, ‘Photography and September 11th: Spectacle, Memory, Trauma’, is coming out on 26 March (Bloomsbury), and I’m about to start work on a new book project, ‘Understanding Photojournalism’, with my colleague Paul Lowe and Robert Hariman.
What do you think is the effect of holding an exhibition and book launch like Staging Disorder at LCC?
Esther and Christopher have done a fantastic job in bringing together the work of such internationally-renowned photographers and connecting it with newly commissioned sound works by members of UAL staff.
The exhibition and book both draw attention to different strands of research and arts practice that are already happening here. As well as raising the profile of the College, it’s great for our students too.
Is there any advice you would give our current students?
The time you spend at university is a time to take risks in your work, interrogate and push it from all angles, question every preconception and above all respond to what really makes you tick, instead of just doing what you think is expected of you.
Jennifer Good is Senior Lecturer, History & Theory of Photojournalism & Documentary Photography, London College of Communication.