Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2013

Max Dean, As Yet Untitled, 1992–95, installation view, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1997. Courtesy of the artist and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

ExpVisLab, Swarm Vision, 2013, production screen shot, 2012. Courtesy of the artists.

Craig Kalpakjian, Black Box, 2002-2013, exhibition view, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, 2002. Courtesy of the artist.

Barbara Probst, Exposure #55: Munich, Waisenhausstrasse 65, 01.17.08, 1:55 p.m., 2008. Image from the work. Ultrachrome ink on cotton paper, 12 parts, 75 x 112 cm each. Courtesy of the artist and Murray Guy, New York © VG Bild-Kunst, Barbara Probst / SODRAC (2013).

View of the exhibition Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2013, VOX, from September 7 to October 19, 2013.

Credit: Corina Ilea.

View of the exhibition Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2013, VOX, from September 7 to October 19, 2013.

Credit: Corina Ilea.

View of the exhibition Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2013, VOX, from September 7 to October 19, 2013.

Credit: Corina Ilea.

View of the exhibition Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2013, VOX, from September 7 to October 19, 2013.

Credit: Corina Ilea.
2013.09.07 - 10.19

Max Dean, ExpVisLab, Craig Kalpakjian and Barbara Probst

Paul Wombell

Opening on September 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm

For its 13th edition, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal has invited renowned British curator Paul Wombell to develop an exhibition program around his theme, Drone: The Automated Image. From September 5 to October 19, 2013, more than 25 exhibitions deployed in different sites will transform the city into a vast yet coherent photography exhibition.

Drone: The Automated Image


Drones extend the capabilities of the body in the act of looking. The eye has a fixed position on the human body, has limited vision over long distances, and does not work well in reduced lighting conditions. Drones can travel to difficult and remote locations, they can see at all times even in limited light. They can be controlled remotely and be operated from a distance; they can function automatically, have artificial sensing, and also convey a sense that they have an intent or agency of their own. Drones are the robots of seeing. Over the last 40 years the camera has taken on some of the same characteristics of the drone, even to the extent that the camera now has a life of its own and functions more like a computer. There is no need to look through the viewfinder because all the calculations for exposure and focus are automatically completed. You can set the camera to take photographs without the need to be behind it. With motion detectors, remote controls, CCTV, webcams, Google Street View, and the development of robotics, the camera can function without human involvement.

Drone: The Automated Image is a project charting the changing relationship between the camera and the human body. It looks at how photographers and artists are using the automatic devices of the camera in its many different forms in the production of their work.

Max Dean (Ontario, Canada)

The destructive nature of technological innovation makes previous forms of technology obsolete and changes existing social relationships; this is the kernel of Max Dean’s As Yet Untitled (1992–95). A pivoting robotic arm selects and presents the viewer with a family photograph. The viewer can decide to press on the hand-shaped panels in front of the robot, so that the print is saved and placed in an archival box; or do nothing, which causes the print to be shredded, its remains falling onto a conveyor belt to join other destroyed images. The arm then returns to the pile of photographs and repeats the process. The photographic print becomes a disposable item on the quest for a better tomorrow.

ExpVisLab (Hungary / Quebec, Canada / United-States)

Since the 1990s, the discussion about digital photography has centred on the status of the photographic image: its capacity to be easily altered, compressed, and sent around the world in seconds, as well as its capacity to function on different computer-based platforms. However, the camera has come through this transformation in photography’s technological nature with little evolution. This is changing. In computational photography, the camera is being fundamentally reconfigured. The ExpVisLab collective (George Legrady, Danny Bazo, and Marco Pinter) is involved in research on developing an intelligent camera. The interactive installation Swarm Vision (2013) consists of three cameras that respond to human movement in the gallery. They compare and evaluate each other’s results, projecting them onto the gallery wall.

Craig Kalpakjian (United-States)

In 1999 Sony introduced a new gadget, the AIBO pet dog. This robot was able to learn, adapt to its home environment, and respond to its owner’s functional and emotional needs. It could emit friendly sounds and take its own photographs. Three years later, in his work Black Box (2002-2013), Craig Kalpakjian placed a Sony AIBO robot dog inside a sealed wooden box, not unlike a larger version of a Skinner box used by researchers to study the behaviour of animals in a controlled environment. It is not possible to see into the box, but each day the robot dog takes a photograph of the interior. These photographs are then displayed outside the box on the gallery wall.

Barbara Prost (Germany / United-States)

By using multiple cameras placed in different locations, and with exposures simultaneously triggered by a radio-controlled release, Barbara Probst dissects the photographic moment. The mise en scène of Exposure #55: Munich, Waisenhausstrasse 65, 01.17.08, 1:55 p.m. (2008) is a sparsely furnished apartment. Twelve cameras, disposed at various angles and distances, peer through keyholes and doorways and around furniture, framing figures in ambiguous arrangements. Cameras take photographs of cameras taking photographs of cameras. The viewer enters a labyrinth of vision with no easy route out.