London to Seoul & back

April 5, 2016 § 4 Comments

On Sunday 17th January 2016 a group of photographers met outside New Cross station in South London. They gathered together not far from Goldsmiths College, University of London and it was in Goldsmiths College that this story began.

On Thursday 15th January 2015 two students of photography from Seoul, together with their translator, came to visit John Levett who was a Visiting Research Fellow at the college. They came at the suggestion of their teacher Jiwon-Kim.

Jiwon-Kim had been a contributing member of The London Villages Project of 2011-2012 which had been co-ordinated by John Levett and supported by the members of London Independent Photography.

During the January 2015 meeting between John Levett and the Korean students multiple interpretations of ‘street photography’ were discussed and illustrated. We also took an extended detour of New Cross and Deptford before finishing at the top of Greenwich Park beside the Greenwich Observatory.

We then said good-bye to each other and went our different ways.

And that was it until some months later when John Levett received an email from Bang Sung Wook, one of the students who visited Goldsmiths College. Bang Sung Wok had liked the idea of The London Village’s Project so much that he wanted to create a collaboration on making a ‘Villages Project’ in Seoul and to exchange ideas and images with a group in London.

And so it began …

But first we need to go back …

At the beginning of 2014 the project ‘Bleeding London’ was launched by the photographer and curator Del Barrett. The idea was to photograph every street in London; at least, every street in the London A-Z map of London. John Levett was asked by Del Barrett to co-ordinate the photographing of the edge of the London A-Z map and The Edge Group was born.

 

The Bleeding London Project was completed in 2015 and was exhibited in London’s City Hall. The Edge Project had it’s own small exhibition at The Greenwich Heritage Museum in Woolwich beside the River Thames in November 2015.

There had been a lot of emailing between Seoul and London and it finished up with the idea of a joint exhibition. The Seoul Villages Project exhibition would also include the images from the London Edge Project and there would be an exhibition of the Seoul Villages Project in London.

So far so good but then another idea came up.

Instead of exhibiting the Seoul images in a gallery space why not exhibit them in the street in the way of The Elephant’s Journey Collective — the idea of using street spaces as ‘A Possible Canvas’; using intrusions into urban spaces as acts of gifting by making the images available for appreciation and, if anyone fancies the image, to appropriate it for themselves. Many images are taken, many are left to decline over time, So far we have never found one that has been defaced or destroyed.

… and so it was that in January 2016 the photographers of The Edge Group came together and populated the streets of New Cross and Deptford with the images of Seoul.

In the spirit of using available free spaces the Korean photographers used former university laboratory rooms for exhibiting the London images.

It is also important that we photographed the preparation of the images and the placing of them in the south London locations. Documenting process is seen by us as part of the practice of art-making. The documentation extends to recording the ‘history’ of the placements. In other words, what becomes of them. These images have been kept as part of an archive of the collaboration.

The photographers in The Edge Group were: Dorota Boisot, Elizabeth Brown, Chris Burke, Gareth Davies, Angela Ford, Roger Ford, Cinnamon Heathcote-Drury, Gordana Johnson, John Levett, Claudia Pilsl, Przemyslaw Polakiewicz, Angela Schooley, Steve Stewart

Seoul in London Deptford_0149

John Levett

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