Wait and See is an evolving site-specific cameraless photographic installation.
It is a work in progress, created exclusively for each new presentation.
Over the last 15 years, we have gathered about seven hundred packages of expired photographic material, mostly black and white photosensitive papers ranging from 1870 to 1990. Their sources are from our own expired stock, and that of photographer colleagues, institutions, manufacturers, commercial outlets and other individuals; we catalogue and study the material as we acquire it.
For each iteration of this project, we edit a selection of material in relation to the exhibition space, taking into account its material qualities and its historical social, and geographical circumstances. From each box or label we determine place of manufacture and expiration dates, so that we can illustrate the history of photographic materials, by exposing them to light for the first time.
Our composition created with these materials is carefully installed within the exhibition space and covered against the light to be unveiled at the opening. As the photosensitive materials are exposed to light, the intensity and duration of exposure determines the gradation of hues, creating visible patterns that continue to change subtly. Although the most dramatic changes occur in the first days of exposure, the rich colors continue to intensify. Because time has caused the paper to deteriorate, it never turns completely black; its rich and unpredictable palette persists over the course of the exhibition.
Through this abstract approach to photography, we draw attention to the durational nature of the medium and the materiality that has characterized it since 1839. We emphasise photography in its purest form, free of the constraints of the camera, the lens and the image.
We question everyday life, intimacy, passing of time, the position and role of the artist and the Image in today’s society.