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Uncertainties of Tomorrow Haiti and The Dominican Republic 2018

My initial focus on investigating uncertainties of tomorrow has, in the light of my research and experiences, developed further to encompass levels of poverty.

I have realised that having nothing appears to be totally overwhelming.

There seems to be a correlation between the context of mere existence and the level of depravation experienced.

Scribbles collected from buildings in City Solei - the poorest area in Port-au-Prince.

The more uncertain life is, the more certain we are of tomorrow. It is unlikely that anything will ever change.

The more certain life becomes, the more uncertain and anxious we feel. We always fear of loosing what we have. Nothing stays the same.

Eking out an existence in Haiti to sustain life.
The research question: What is the question or issue you wish to explore through the MA course?

Research issue:

"Today versus the future". I am looking at my responses to the witnessing of different levels of poverty. I propose to explore the effect of this on my perception of my own uncertainties.

Poverty is a continuing language of misery.

This issue is universal and not limited to one country. There is a massive difference between feeling poor and having virtually nothing.

Research problems:

  • Observing entrapment of life in chaos (under $1 per day).
  • In total poverty, there is no future. There is only today.
  • Uncertainty of the comparative wealth of today, versus anxiety of tomorrow.
  • Putting the value of my own life in context.
  • Obsession with measurability, accountability, control and organisation of data.
  • The old certainty has vanished. Nothing is permanent and the temporary has become ultra-ephemeral.
  • Looking for certainty in the wrong place.
  • Trying to replace permanence with temporary gratification.
  • Participating in an unachievable race to be current and up-to-date.
  • The more I learn about it, the more overwhelmed I feel.
  • Being unsure of self.

Research boundaries:

Today and tomorrow. Suspended somewhere between: certainty and uncertainty; temporary and permanent, time and no time, having something and possessing nothing.

Research question:

The extent to which I am able to deal with my own uncertainties, in the context of having witnessed extreme poverty.

The context: Who are the key artists/designers/writers or other creative individuals related to your project? What are the key ideas or developments that are central to your area of interest?

Bruce Nauman.

La Biennale di Venezia - Biennale Arte 2015.

Components of life. Setting the boundaries of existence. Isolating the essence of what life is about.

Thasnai Sethaseree (Thasnaj Setaseri).

Sundaram Tagore Gallery Oct 12th – Nov 4th 2017 New York, 547 West 27th Street.

Heads or Tails? Uncertainties and Economical Tensions in Contemporary Thailand

‘What You Don’t See Will Hurt You’

Thasnai Sethaseree was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1968. Recurrent themes in his practice have included issues of memory, migration, and a philosophical questioning of the nature of having, knowing and being. Sethaseree is best-known for his conceptual and relational works, usually ephemeral in nature. His practice has recently turned to sculpture and painting. His preference for painting premiered at the prestigious Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco as part of a project organized by Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Neha Choksi

20th Sydney Art Biennale ‘The Future Is Already Here – It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed.’

Works between Bombai, LA and New Jersey.

Neha Choksi in collaboration with Alice Cummins ‘In Memory of the Last Sunset’.

Removing certainty from life: “The image of a curtained sun came to me years ago when I was working on various photographs of the sun being burnt in different works”, Neha Choksi

Mattia Insolera

Italian photographer. Born: 1977 (age 44), Bologna, Italy. Awards: World Press Photo Award for Daily Life

"Surviving Greece" at La Caixa Forum, Madrid, 2015

Refugees with nothing, who pretend to have something. Exhibition of photographs, which juxtapositions the harsh reality of their existence against the imagined fantasy of prosperity that they promote on social media.

Methodology: How will you go about researching your question? What are the particular means that you will use i.e. interviewing, visiting particular collections, processes or production for making?

I visited Haiti and the Dominican Republic during the summer of 2018, for 7 weeks. This gave me a chance to interview a cross-section of people and record the nature of their uncertainties. I was exposed to different levels of degradation, including extreme poverty. This has led me to investigate the broader contexts of sustaining life, education, family, community, security and perhaps, ambitions and aspirations in a heavily polluted environment.

Following on from this experience, this has led me to think long and hard about my own existence and my place in the world. Analysing and questioning the way I live and how I spend my time. Each day is relatively straightforward.

Where do my anxieties come from? What is their origin? Do I have a right to be uncertain?

Resources: Are there particular resources or equipment that you plan to use for your Research Project? If this does not come under the facilities available at Camberwell - what are your plans to gain access to this equipment?

Self-resourcing: research findings from the trip, digital cameras and voice recorders. Talking to people about their lives.

Initial experimentation with visual responses.

We can stop watching poverty from a comfortable position. They cannot. There is nowhere to escape the squalor. Test yourself. How long can YOU endure it for?

Observing poverty from a place of luxury.

The soundtrack comes from Stevy Mahy, a Haitian singer that I heard on a bus journey while observing the locality through the window. The further I try to escape those memories, the more vivid they become. The up-side-down reality of total depravation.

This grotesque sight hits you with immense clarity, when you first see it.

Three days later, it becomes just a blur in the background. Just like the distant sound of the siren, nobody responds to it anymore. It would be futile.

The shaking and bouncing of the image of Port-au-Prince is a parallel to the overwhelming emotion experienced by such a disturbing scene. The haunting sounds of the disembodied voices emitting from the seemingly empty buildings.

There is a common rejection of the recording and evidencing of their lives. Nobody agrees to be patronised and used as "entertainment" for the outside world.

Despite offers of money, the locals respond in an angry way and refuse to have their pictures taken. They drop out of sight.

The disgusting photograph of reality dancing with energy to the happy music of a popular singer.

In the context of all water being polluted and undrinkable, there is a juxtaposition of an open sewer and dripping rain in the middle of the street.

These images have been inked over to cover up poverty.

Day after day, watching poverty.

Nothing will ever change.

Dog guarding poverty.

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