The hoard of the world seen through the eye of an aluminium can

2017 - ongoing

The aluminium can has a perfect shape to be transformed into the pinhole camera making it light-tight with duct tape. The photographic paper 5x7 inch fits into the standard size of the beer can or if cropped it fits the soda can. Imperfect pinhole pictures taken on the sensitive photographic paper are showing a distorted reality of the surrounding world.

The place is familiar – the tiles of the pavement, the lamp, the fence, the trees and the traffic lights. It could be the street behind our house or the sightseeing we had visited during the holidays. Although the angle has changed, thus we can’t be sure whose projection is offered to us. The unsettling, as Freud (1917 – 1919) would describe, happens when the perspective which should have remained hidden, comes to light and provokes the uncanny mood. Suddenly, the agency to look is given to the leftover objects and we (humans and our neighbourhoods) are in the centre of their gaze.

The images are blurry, greyish, with shadows or ghosts and patches of developer. The curved shape of the can makes the wide angle images. It seems like they are showing the views of an intruder who is watching us somewhere from the bushes, from a distance. Often, there is a figure standing in the image. It is me when taking a photograph, although due to a long exposure the person can’t be fully recognized and could be compared to any human who is standing face to face to something that is mysteriously staring at them. The uncanny atmosphere of the images is revealed by the vital materiality of the light-sensitive photographic paper and the nature of the pinhole photography. The images have the power to reveal the story which we have not seen before.

The project started in October 2017 during the community festival Made in Roath in Cardiff. The abjected boxes, tins and cans caught my attention. As a pinhole photographer and craftivist, I wanted to respond to the call of rubbish and started to make pinhole cameras out of the found containers, carefully inserting them in the same place, and in the same position to take a pinhole image from their perspective. The aluminium cans are prevailing. How is the world seen through the eyes of those rejected objects? And is it me who is the photographer or the object itself? Is it a person who left the litter on the spot, the wind that drifted it to the side way or a seagull that got curious? Can we shift the gaze and while we are being looked at by the objects around can we think of stories the vibrant matter reveals to us?

I started with picking up the rubbish... I am tracking the GPS location and taking a digital image recording its visual position. I clean the rubbish and turn it into the pinhole camera. Afterwards, I place such cameras in the same position as found and take the pinhole image at their height. When I am finished I load that information with the image into the open map and leave the camera on site for anybody to pick up and take away. Eventually I pick the containers and bring them to the workshop to make pinhole cameras together with others.

link to the online map here

// 6°17'36.1"W 36°31'59.6"N // 2019 //

// 5°59'20.1" W 37°22'54.8" N // 2019 //

// 2°56'53.7" W 43°15'53.0" N // 2019 //

// 5° 4' 18.8" E 51° 33' 43.9999" N // 2020 //

// 3° 9' 15.8" W 51° 28' 45.3" N // 2017 //

// 3° 9' 10.9001" W 51° 29' 52.1002" N // 2017 //

// 3° 10' 24.9215" W 51° 29' 8.6885" N // 2017 //

// 3° 10' 26.7384" W 51° 29' 37.5" N // 2017 //

// 3° 10' 2.6" W 51° 28' 35.6999" N // 2017 //

// 3° 10' 57.6998" W 51° 28' 29.8999" N // 2017 //

// 3° 9' 52.8001" W 51° 29' 53.4001" N // 2017 //

// 3° 10' 22.3" W 51° 29' 29.1001" N // 2017 //

// 3° 10' 14.7" W 51° 29' 31.7" N // 2017 //

// 0° 6' 27.2002" W 51° 31' 19.4999" N // 2017 //

// 30°44'15.6" E 46°27'53.9" N // 2018 //