Artist Statement

As the need for ‘the Other’ – religious, sexual, national, political – rises in a global climate of increasing fear, my work reflects a rising need to question the role of lens-based media and imagery in generating exclusion and stigmatization. My work is generated by encounters, encounters with new places, new people and – increasingly– a new political reality.

My most recent work, HOPE & FEAR is a large-scale, three-channel video projection in public space where people on the streets of Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Copenhagen, Dar Es Salaam, New York and Ulan Bator form a global choir of voices in answer to the questions ‘What’s your biggest hope?’ and ‘What’s your biggest fear?’ in an appeal to global solidarity and respect.

The work represents a thematic continuation of earlier projects. The series JUMP is equally full of global encounters, but deliberately elides identifiable geographical signifiers so the viewer never knows if they are in Brooklyn, Bahrain or Burkina Faso. Encounters en route form the core of HEROES, where I set up as a traveling photographer in different places in the city of Roskilde. The resulting 1,000 Polaroid portraits personally signed by each person I met form a mosaic mural of the everyday heroes who continue to cross my path.

The role of itinerant photographer was exchanged for that of explorer in NATIVES: THE DANES, marking the move from my own personal photographic encounter to an ever-increasing awareness of the role of photography as a historically and politically loaded medium. It is this power of the image that projects like ‘NATIVES: THE DANES and ‘WHO’S NEXT?’ address: the role of photography in framing and creating prejudices and minorities, and as an instrument of control in categorizing, recording and archiving ‘the Other.’ From the colonial images of ‘natives’ photographed from the front and the back on expeditions throughout contemporary Denmark, to mugshots of members of the LBTQ community shot in a police station basement in WHO’S NEXT?

This drive to interrogate the history and role of lens-based media in generating fear and stereotypes has, in recent years, also led to an increasing number of projects in public space, with participatory projects like TO TINGBJERG WITH LOVE, the neon harbour installation TIME FOR TRUST, and in 2016 the international launch of the large-scale, public video work HOPE & FEAR in Copenhagen.

 

(printed from www.charlottehaslund.com)