“[…] a study of global connections shows the grip of encounter: friction. A wheel turns because of its encounter with the surface of the road; spinning in the air it goes nowhere. Rubbing two sticks together produces heat and light; one stick alone is just a stick. As a metaphorical image, friction reminds us that heterogeneous and unequal encounters can lead to new arrangements of culture and power” (Tsing 2005, 5).

No perspective is equal to another. Vision implies a subject that sees and is responsible for their now power to see. Equal positioning denies responsibility (Haraway 1988, 584) and it is dictated by globalisation logics of mainstream and hegemonic cultural and political domination regulated by circulations.

Images circulate globally either through market logics (e.g. art fairs and galleries, international exhibitions and publications), nation states’ cultural diplomacies or through the formless liquidity of online exhibitions or exchange platforms, which we have learnt over the last year that does not substitute but complement on-site exhibitions.

To break down problematic global circulations, there are no precise indications, as Irit Rogoff argues (2017), although the standpoints of the alternatives to global hegemonic narratives gravitate around Anna Tsing’s notion of “friction” as a form of performative imagination able to transform differences in alternative narratives and potential histories.

In an attempt to render alternative narratives to those depoliticised by mass media, the project sees twenty-two authors whose practice and situatedness are heterogeneous, dialoguing around the representation of contemporary society. The locality of Ireland and the views from nine Irish artists emerged as a point of departure to reflect on possibilities of frictions in a glocal context.

“On Possibilities of Frictions” is the first curatorial project by Ilaria Sponda (1998), an Italian curator, writer and visual artist based between Dublin and Lisbon. As a writer and curator, she is inspired by artists that particularly engage with photography and video as anthropologists of contemporary society, both on an individual and collective level, and local and global scale. Ilaria also focuses on visual education and dialogic practices within communities.

“On Possibilities of Frictions” authorial page will serve as a record of her current Master research on contemporary social documentary photography as a situated practice in a global context of the contemporary image exchange society and global circulation of art. In social documentary photography, so the kind of photography that tells about society, she individuates one of the most important sites where social exchange happens and where to witness a powerful critical language to start thinking differently the binary notion of global and local and deconstruct institutionalised powers at play into the present. Reflecting on the cultural, political and situated practices conducted by Irish and other artists from PHROOM international archive, her research  attempts to provide effort in connecting the local and the global to not homogenise identities and representations but activate a critical global circulation of images.

Copyright © Ilaria Sponda and PHROOM, all rights reserved

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