Category Archives: Photo
Hearsay
2012 | Wall newspaper, 312cm x 135cm + video loop, 20 sec.

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Matters of Fact
2011 | 7 prints, diasec, each 33 x 44 cm
© JL Diehl

Photo © J.L. Diehl

The series of seven photos shows details from abandoned clothing, furniture and other household articles. These personal chattels are located in an industrial building in Tivoli, Italy, which has long been empty. The images document one small part of the disintegrating former paper factory where discursive personal narratives of place, time and intention intersect with the more general categories of history, migration and homelessness. Who left these things here? Who regarded the space as a refuge and under what conditions did they leave? Despite the wealth of detail provided by the images, the series raises more questions that it can answer. They are evidence without explanation, a story with an open end. Read More…

First Contract
2010 | Series of 9 colour photos, each 77 cm x 70 cm (unframed) | Edition of 5 + 2 AP

First Contract (2010) is part of a work group that includes the object, Chain Reaction, and the video installation, Little Mountain. It consists of a series of 9 photographs concerned with the complex ramifications of the Western insistence on quantifying land, thus transforming it from being primarily a place which confers local identity and a place to live into an object of trade and speculation. The photos also reflect on the colonial dispossession of the original inhabitants of the north American continent, especially the First Nation peoples of Canada by using ‘flagging’—plastic ribbons normally used to mark property borders—in lines or triangles and ironically re-creating the Euclidian geometries of surveyor rituals of appropriation and possession. This is still contested territory. Read More…

Die Macht des Faktischen
2008 | Photo collage for back cover of Bildpunkt, Winter 2008/2009

The photo collage is based on reproduced material relating to the old French colonial Palais de Justice. The building housed birth, death, marriage and criminal records of the colonial administration.

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Demolition of Aspang Station 2003
2005 | Large format slide in light box (50cm x 40cm) and 2m measuring rod divided into black and white sections of 10 cm

Installation-view-2005Built in the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Aspang Station was part of the Vienna – Thessalonica railway project. From 1939 to 1942 it was the station from which over 47 train loads of Viennese Jews were deported – over 50,000 people. After the war and Austrian independence the station went into slow decline till it was eventually demolished in 2001 and the site scheduled to be part of a large-scale redevelopment project.

reconstructing-50x60The sight of machines removing the tracks and digging trenches into the former platforms seemed particularly evocative especially since the safety barriers round the excavation had the same colours as the Austrian flag. With issues of restitution and memorialisation still being debated in Austria, the visual image also resonated up with the historically racist elements of Western tradition – measuring and classifying “races” and assigning them a position on a scale of purported civilisation. The US laws classifying anyone with “one drop of black blood” as non-white; legal sterilisations carried out on Native Americans and asylum patients into the 1970s; the invention and propagation of the pseudo-science of eugenics throughout Europe, etc. Read More…

I_D_Entities
2004 | 13 colour photos (6 digitally altered photos, 7 text images). Each approx. 60 x 70 cm (framed). Image size approx. 40 x 50 cm.

The series re-works 6 hand-coloured photographs from the end of the 19th century showing Heligoland, Norderney and Venice. Inserted into the settings (tourist, travel and holiday destinations) is a single image of a young woman, a Berber from North Africa, probably Algeria. It is taken from a two volume work published in Berlin in 1910 – Das Weib im Leben der Völker by Albert Friedenthal, most “from my own collection,” as the author says.

Interwoven with these historically contiguous elements are seven texts in the form of separate, extended quotations from SCRAM: Relocating under a new Identity by James S. Martin. The short ‘captions’ at the bottom of the photos themselves also come from this source. Published in Washington in 1993, the book is effectively a handbook with legal and not so legal tips about how to divest oneself of one identity and acquire another. Wiping the slate clean. Building a new life. Starting again somewhere else. It demands the total erasure of one life and the assumption of another, justifying it by the fact that the authorities provide the same “service” and relocation possibilities to criminals. Read More…

Dis·integration
2002 | Frame capture/reproduction from adaptation of Schnitzler’s Liebelei

disintegration-1The photograph is one of the coincidences of material and history that probably happen more often than we notice. In 2001 I was given a number of rolls of old film which had been subjected to fire damage and subsequent water damage. Much of the film was glued together as a result and it continued to deteriorate further at a rapid rate. I managed to determine that it was a copy of an adaptation of Schnitzler’s Liebelei, the title frames disintegrating in my hands. I was able to save a few frames of a woman’s face, discoloured and in the process of dissolution. The image here is one of them. A few weeks later the material was almost totally decomposed and had to be disposed of. Read More…

This is not a Burning Flag
2000 | Joint project with Lisl Ponger for Museum in Progress [Transact 51] for publication in Der Standard, 23 September 2000

A protest against the Freedom Party (FPÖ) / Austrian Peoples Party (ÖVP) coalition of 2000.

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