70 film

first post in a series of post with the new films by 2015 VA students:


Family celebrations and parties are a specialty of my family. Ever since my high school times, schoolmates and friends would grin whenever I declined a weekend getaway offer on the basis of family obligations – a common scenario, as it sometimes seems we celebrate something every second week.

Translating this party obsession within my family into anthropological terms, it can be seen as a backslash against the disintegration of the strong family ties that took place as one of the results of the modernity. For example Costa (2012) has noted that even though it seems that family members spend less time together, the number and ritualization of the special family occasions has actually been increasing. Furthermore, new rituals are being invented, “combining past experiences and gaining new forms, meanings and actors and merging tradition and modernity” (Costa 2012, 273).

The film sets out to show one of the…

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Closed. (Synopsis of a photo essay)

Although the topic of my photo essay is a closed hospital, the photos are not only pictures of urban decay. There is more (story) to them than only the strong effect of the textures (broken glass, peeling paint) which convey the idea of slow destruction.

According to Barthes the act of taking a photo involves that the subject is transformed into object. For the viewer, the essence of a photograph, the punctum is a wholly personal connection; it is achieved when its viewer is able to turn the object back to a subject. And although in case of an edifice it seems less relevant talking about object/subject – it was the very subjectification that I felt while taking /looking at the pictures, due to the invisible but tangible history and stories linked to the place. I hope the photos convey something of that.

What happens to a building that has lost its function?

During 140 years, this building and the institution it hosted became intertwined. For some years now, the institution no longer exists – the edifice does, derelict. As it is impossible to enter the hospital, the barred windows turn out to be the only tools to communicate with the inside. The majority of the photos therefore concentrate on these places / objects that best exemplify the change that occurred to this building when it lost its meaning, the inner side of it. The perspective turned: windows that once gave sight from the inside to the outer world, now let us peep in to the vacant wards; the bars that were meant to keep people in, lock us out.

The different materials at/around the windows all show signs of decay, which makes even the bottle of antiseptic left on the windowsill seem out of place… This might be the point that shows us that it is not decay that is so disturbing about the place but rather the reason for it, the absence of humans, the aim of these objects and the building itself being there. The presence of such objects intensifies the absence of their users.

I’d welcome any feedback.


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