Returning to the family photo album as a point of retrieval and recovery, TIMESCAPES offers narratives on memory, materiality, and temporalities of photographs. A visible layer of time as an ingredient is inscribed upon the images in the form of topographical decay and damage, alluding to the layered state of our social, environmental, and human condition. The reclaimed archival photographs, taken by my Cameroonian father on his travels far away from home, are symbols of dis/placement. Recapturing and digitizing these photographs, derelict objects often buried away within our home spaces, is an act of haptic re/collection in the ever-changing present. According to Ariella Azoulay, “the event of photography is never over. It can only be suspended, caught in anticipation of the next encounter that will allow for its actualisation: […] to remark on the excess or lack inscribed in the photograph […] including those that some believe to be fixed in place by the glossy emulsion of the photograph.”
TIMESCAPES is a comparative study of the interplay between the natural and mechanic; a quest for a more symbiotic relationship. It embraces the secondhand, reframing the imagemaker as custodian and inheritor of all time, following African cyclical traditions of carrying histories forward. The photographs are found objects, assembled within their original archival sleeves that failed to withstand time, exposing the fragility of technologies that attempt to preserve. Their acquired textural qualities may be mistaken for light leaks, fractal land formations, or digital alterations.
‘Change’ is illustrated through temporality and frequencies of touch embedded in the album. The making of the image, the assemblage of the album, and the unknown moving forward. Featured land/seascapes, abstractions of diaspora and migration, seemingly reanimate the photographs’ surfaces as a call to action against environmental degradation, which continues to disproportionately affect Black bodies.