Researching photography involves investigating the medium in contemporary art and current visual – and increasingly digital – culture, as well as the photographs of the past and historical perceptions of the medium. The Hasselblad Foundation supports, initiates and conducts its own research in and critical thinking on photography. This includes research related to photographers and artists who have exhibited at the Hasselblad Center, as well as the work of academic researchers disseminated through seminars and publications, often held at Gothenburg University.
By awarding grants, creating exhibition platforms, supporting publications, lectures and symposiums, and especially through its interest in collaborations both nationally and internationally, the Hasselblad Foundation strives to increase and improve the practical conditions for conducting and disseminating research on photography.
Postdoctor in contemporary photography and (natural) science
HDK-Valand and the Hasselblad Foundation have a long-term collaboration whose purpose is to support the exploration and development of the relations between photography and science. Within this framework, we have hired an artist/photographer whose interest lies in the field of (natural) science for a 2-year postdoc position, starting in January 2024.
More information will follow soon.
Photography and the Glitch
Under the umbrella title Photography and the Glitch this research collaboration explores glitch as form, metaphor and methodology within photography with a specific focus on digital, networked cultures. We aim to define multiple potentials of the glitch as disruption to systems of technology, knowledge, classification, and control.
Since 2005 a growing community of artists have been engaged with the potential of the glitch – with processes and aesthetics stemming from visual errors in digital technologies. Photography and the Glitch investigates technology as something beyond the apparatus, including discursive, spatial, social, and political mechanisms.
The research is thus manifold. One aspect is concerned with the glitched body in terms of skin, camouflage and hybridity, and here Legacy Russell’s Glitch feminism Manifesto (2020) is a crucial work. Embracing illegibility, unruliness, vulnerably, and lack of control the notion of the glitch opens for posthuman and non-human relations and visibilities. Another approach centers around the glitch as a bug using the concept ‘insect media’ (from Jussi Parikka’s 2010 book Insect Media. An Archeology of Animals and Technology) as a source of inspiration. The figure of the bug in camouflage and in-betweenness offers reflections on how contemporary machinic or networked photography can be thought of through insect entomology. And yet another focus point is non-human agencies and interferences – from both the machinic and the natural realms. Joanna Zylinska’s 2017 publication Nonhuman Photography offers key media-specific observations.
With a multidisciplinary approach, Photography and the Glitch invites practitioners and researchers from art and technology to be in dialogue about how the glitch can provide space for new ways of seeing, making images and ultimately engaging with the world.
Planned outcomes (2021-25) are a series of public symposiums, publications and an exhibition.
Moment is a multi-disciplinary research project about lens-based media cultures in Sweden between 1939 and 1969.
The point of departure for the project is two central aspects of film and photography: evidence and aesthetics. It deals with our conception of lens-based media’s unique capacity to capture reality, which has pervaded the use of film and photography as well as their aesthetic ideals and expressions. This period – from the onset of World War Two through the year after the student uprising – coincides with the establishment of the Swedish welfare state, which largely determines the project’s direction and the examples included.
GPS400: Centre for Collaborative Visual Research, Hasselblad Foundation, HDK-Valand
Ph.D. student Department of Cultural Sciences
Christina Tente 2021–ongoing
Visualization of the Covid-19 pandemic through images and memes
Early in the pandemic, many of us were fascinated by images from the media all over the world, where empty streets and squares were portrayed, areas that are usually teeming with people. Christina Tente, a new doctoral student in art and visual studies, will now, among other things, through images, photographs and memes, investigate what happened to our visual culture when societies began to shut down as a result of the pandemic.
“My interest in this topic began as soon as the first lockdown in Wuhan was announced, as I was fascinated by the imagery from the area under lockdown. The big empty highways, the people in the balconies, this whole post-apocalyptic scenery characterised by an absence of humans and a suspended sense of miasma”, says Christina Tente.
Early in the pandemic, Christina started journaling and writing down preliminary observations, noticing how the visual tropes would evolve, as the virus would progress and regress in waves of intensity. During her doctoral studies, Christina Tente will investigate the visual culture as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic through photographs and photography-based memes.
“I started collecting and archiving photographs that were published online and in magazines. As soon as the virus reached Europe, the memes started. I found this whole situation – albeit terrifying – extremely interesting; on one hand, photographs that visualised in one way or another an invisible threat, and on the other hand the most creative, cynical, sarcastic and self-loathing memes as a pharmakon against the madness”, Christina says.
Christina wants to create an understanding of how the first year of the pandemic has been visualized and experienced throughout Europe through the images. Eager to analyse the aesthetics and the patterns, as well as trace the differences in the visual language of the photographs, she wants to compare countries with strict lockdowns (like Greece and the UK) to countries with restrictions and not very harsh measures (such as Sweden and Finland).
Christina Tente was born in 1992 in Greece, and took a master’s degree in visual culture from Lund University in 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Media from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2015). The position is a collaboration between the Department of Cultural Sciences at the University of Gothenburg and the Hasselblad Foundation. The planned start of the doctoral period is in September 2021. The supervisor at the Department of Cultural Sciences is Karin Wagner, and Louise Wolthers at the Hasselblad Foundation is a co-supervisor.
Ahead of Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary, the Hasselblad Foundation, in collaboration with Göteborgs Konsthall, has awarded artist Conny Karlsson Lundgren a grant of SEK 175,000 for research and work in 2020.
“Conny Karlsson Lundgren has been awarded an artistic and research-based grant for his genuinely innovative work that challenges existing historiographies through projects deeply rooted in the artistic research of archives, traces, memories and private and collective narratives connected to queer history. Often through photo- and film-based work, Conny Karlsson Lundgren reveals the role played by artistic examination and research in contemporary art and how the method of artistic research relates to historical material.
“Distinct examples are the works Tonårslöparen (The Teenage Runner), a performance that follows the embodiment of a photograph in a collection and its historical narrative based on memories and desires; (Dissident) Dance Actions, a choreographic remodelling of a political protest and it’s lost “forbidden” movements, and Status Quo and The Spheres, refashioned fragments from composer Johanna Beyer’s unfinished political opera from the interwar period, written at a time of political upheaval similar to that of today.”
Stina Edblom, Artistic Director, Göteborgs Konsthall and Louise Wolthers, Research Manager and Curator, Hasselblad Foundation
About Conny Karlsson Lundgren
Through film, text, image and documents, Conny Karlsson Lundgren sheds light on the boundaries between language and social, political and private identities. In various staged situations and reworked historical narratives, he interlinks seemingly disparate phenomena with cross-disciplinary methodology. He introduces alternative readings of popular culture and material of a more private nature, and his research-based works identify new perspectives and meanings.
Conny Karlsson Lundgren (born in Västervik, Sweden) divides his time between Stockholm and Hoby Mosse in southern Sweden. He participated in the Studio Research programme at the Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, the Netherlands (2014–2015) and received his MFA from Valand Academy in Gothenburg. Karlsson Lundgren’s installations and films have been shown in Sweden and internationally, with solo exhibitions at Neue Galerie Innsbruck, Haninge Konsthall and Kalmar Konstmuseum.
Erika Larsson about her research
As a postdoc, I participate in the research project Interwar Lens Cultures, a collaboration between Valand Academy (GU), Institute for cultural Sciences (GU) and Hasselblad Foundation. This project aims to revisit and rethink the practices and meanings of lens-based visual cultures in the Interwar years by focusing on hitherto under-researched connections between photography and film in Sweden and beyond.
In my part of this research project, I approach this period in history through contemporary works that relate in different ways to this history, as well as through my engagements with material from this time. The working title for my part of the project is Feeling the Past, as my focus lies on affective, emotional, and embodied engagements with historical material. Through such a perspective, I look at the research of racial biology through works by Katarina Pirak Sikku and Marjo Levlin, as well as through my visits to the archive of racial biology in Uppsala. Through works by Lina Selander and archival material of private albums, I also look at how notions connected to National Socialism relate to everyday life. Additionally, I engage with material from the archive of Natural History about works by contemporary artists that, in one way or another, bring out the interconnection between natural history and political and cultural attitudes.
In all cases, the affective, emotional, and embodied engagements with historical material are seen as a way to approach aspects of this time in history that are otherwise unavailable, as well as to make cultural parallels between the interwar period and the present.
Thresholds: Interwar Lens Media Cultures
Drone Vision. Surveillance, Warfare, Protest
Published: Photobook in Sweden
The Hasselblad Foundation is honoured to host an artist talk by South African photographer, artist and activist, Zanele Muholi. The event will take place on September 2, at the City Library on Götaplatsen. The conversation will continue on September 3 at Valand Art Academy.
September 2, 5:30-6:15 pm, City Library
Zanele Muholi will talk about her use of photography as a political and artistic medium, the LGBTI community in South Africa and the current fights for human rights. Together with writer, journalist and activist, Lerato Dumse, Muholi will present the long term project Faces and Phases, portraying and documenting black lesbians and transgender people in South Africa and beyond. The conversation will be moderated by Louise Wolthers, Researcher at The Hasselblad Foundation,.
Immediately after the talk, The Gothenburg Art Museum Book Store will host a reception for Zanele Muholi’s latest book, Faces and Phases 2006-14 (Steidl), at 6:30 pm.
September 3, 6-8 pm, Valand Art Academy
Zanele Muholi will give a talk at Valand Art Academy, moderated by Senior Lecturer Mary Coble. This presentation will focus on queer art and activism, and Zanele Muholi and Lerato Dumse will screen a movie about the queer and activist media collective Inkanyiso.
About Zanele Muholi
For more than a decade, Zanele Muholi (b 1972) has created a visual record of the LGBTI community in her home country. In 2006, Muholi began her Faces and Phases-project, an ambitious series of portraits of LBT people, which has been exhibited globally.
Muholi founded Inkanyiso, a non-profit organisation concerned with visual activism. It is involved with visual arts and media advocacy for and on behalf of the LGBTI community. The organisation’s vision statement is Produce. Educate. Disseminate. In 2010, Muholi co-directed her documentary Difficult Love, which has been shown internationally, also in Sweden.
Zanele Muholi’s work has won international acclaim and has been exhibited widely. Carnegie International awarded her the Fine Prize for emerging artists in 2013. Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Tate Modern, London, among others. Muholi participated in Documenta (13), 2012 and in the 55th Venice Biennial in 2013. The Brooklyn Museum in New York has an ongoing exhibition of Muholi’s large-scale images titled Isibonelo/Evidence, on view until November 1, 2015.
Zanele Muholi’s visit has been organised in partnership between the Fine Art Unit at Valand Academy and The Hasselblad Foundation.
Earlier research projects
Earlier research projects include Women Photographers – European Experience, a collaboration with the Department of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg. It resulted in a touring exhibition, which opened at the Hasselblad Center in 2003, as well as the book Women Photographers – European Experience, published in 2004. A recent project revolves around the South African photographer Ernest Cole, who documented apartheid from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s. A large amount of his work is included in the foundation’s collection. The research has resulted in a touring exhibition and the book Ernest Cole, Photographer (2012).
Recently, other case studies have resulted in essays on the history of Swedish photography (in Between Realities, 2014), and on the Hasselblad Apollo 11 photographs as modern history paintings (in En målad historia [A painted history], 2014).
The first exhibition and publication in the series From the Hasselblad Foundation Collection was called Still Life / Work Life and focussed on the juxtaposition of photographic documentation of work with the still life genre.