If you're in the Grand Forks area (or even if you're not!), I encourage you come and enjoy the opening night of Ryan Stander's photographic exhibit entitled Topos/Chora: Photographs of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project. The gallery opens at 6:30 and short gallery talks begin at 7 pm on Friday night. We also hope to give a sneak peek of a film by documentary filmmaker Ian Ragsdale who worked with us this past summer as well.
The exhibit of photographs is an exciting example of an almost ritualized inversion of roles. In the past, archaeologists have used photographs or art to illustrate the results of their work or even their procedures. The recent turn toward post-processural, reflexive archaeological practice has emphasized documenting the processes and experiences the produce archaeological knowledge. While scholars who have used video, still photography, audio, and reflexive writing in these contexts have problematized the techniques and tools used to gather this information, few have sought to invert the process entirely and free the camera's gaze from the control of the archaeologist. Our collaboration with Ryan Stander, does just that. I turns the camera toward the archaeologists and removes it from their physical and intellectual command.
In these photographs (which will come the web soon, I promise), the photographer's autonomy allowed for a perspective of the archaeologists' work that is outside the archaeologists' gaze and control. While I would be naive to claim that these photographs are a fully independent perspective, after all the photographer lived with the project and interacted daily with us, they nevertheless capture something approaching an outsider (or objective, at least from the archaeologists' perspective) view of archaeological practice.
For more on Ryan's work, check out his blog Axis of Access.
So, come down to the Empire Arts Center in beautiful downtown Grand Forks, North Dakota to check out Ryan's work, hear about the project, and see some moving pictures! 7 pm for the gallery talks on Friday night. Some light refreshments will be served.
And stay tuned for the online companion to the exhibit!