Living Data

Living Data

Evolving conversations  

University of Technology, Sydney Main Entrance Foyer, 3 Sept 2014 - 20 Nov 2014
In Ultimo Science Festival, Sydney3-12 Sept 2014

Presentations INDEX
COMMENTS

  Paul Sutton

People rarely feature in my photographs, let alone dancers. Perhaps this explains the powerful feeling of not knowing what I was doing when I first photographed Caterina and Ashley... there was no separation between audience and performers. As the dancers moved around the exhibition space the audience followed them. We had no idea where the dancers were going to take us next. Everything was new.

 

Paul Sutton. Photo, 2012
Caterina Mocciola and Ashley Macqueen
The Muse, Ultimo Science Festival, Sydney

 

Story:

Another World

2012 (Ongoing) series of photographic prints with variable dimensions

 

I first encountered Caterina Mocciola in 2012 at the opening of a Living Data exhibition. She was dancing with Ashley Macqueen at The Muse. When Lisa Roberts asked me to photograph their performance I had no idea what I was in for.

I was unfamiliar with the dancers, their form of dance Contact Improvisation, and the physical space they were performing in. While I had witnessed other dance performances before I had never seen anything quite like this.

At this event, there was no separation between audience and performers. As the dancers moved around the exhibition space the audience followed them. We had no idea where the dancers were going to take us next. Everything was new.

While the meaning of the dancers' gestures was unknown to me the sheer beauty and physicality of what I saw made a strong impression on me, it resonated with something within me.

I moved around the gallery space with Caterina and Ashley and started making photographs. It quickly became apparent that it was going to be very difficult to convey my experience of what was happening. This was not only because there were tears in my eyes as I photographed their movements and felt corresponding movements within my inner world, or because there were two moving dancers and I was making still photographs in a dark environment. But there was an energy to this live performance that could only be experienced by being present, it was nearly impossible to record then and it is difficult articulate in words now. I soon realised that the photographs I were making could only be an interpretation of this event, and only a feeble interpretation.

I photographed Caterina and Ashley once again at Customs House during their Oceanic Sydney performance. This was a more elaborate event accompanied by live musicians, animation projections and stage lighting. There were also more photographers, more professional than me. This second performance lacked the intimacy of the dance at The Muse, particularly because there was a clearer physical separation between audience and performers. It also did not make have as powerful an affect on me. Nonetheless, it was a moving performance.

I realise now that photographing dancers is at odds with my regular practice. Usually I photograph urban still lifes or landscapes. People rarely feature in my photographs, let alone dancers. Perhaps this explains the powerful feeling of not knowing what I was doing when I first photographed Caterina and Ashley.

I do not believe that the experience of looking at my photographs of Caterina and Ashley comes anywhere near to what I felt while watching this performance, all they can do is remind me of it. Hopefully there is something there for other viewers.

Paul Sutton

 

Bio:

Paul Sutton is a Sydney based pedestrian who lectures in photography and design at UTS. He has been photographing the streets of Sydney since 1990. Sutton's work focuses on the art of seeing, recording his experience of being in the world and creating evocative viewing encounters. His research explores the impact that a photograph has on the viewer's inner world. He refers to this inner world as the invisible.

Affiliation(s): Caterina Mocciola, Ashley Macqueen & Lisa Roberts
URL(s): http://www.hugonnet.com.au/
Contact details: Paul.Sutton@uts.edu.au