Tiago Casanova (Madeira, 1988) estudou Arquitectura na FAUP (Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto) desde o ano de 2006, quando o seu interesse em fotografia começou. Colaborou com o CCRE desde 2007, dirigiu o Primeiro e Segundo Ciclos “A Fotografia na Arquitectura” em 2008 e 2009, e o Prémio FAUP de Fotografia de Arquitectura em 2009. Em 2010 fez parte da organização do Seminário Internacional “Na Superfície – Imagens de Arquitectura e Espaço Público em debate”. Foi fundador e director assistente da revista Scopio e colabora com a XYZ Bookshop em Lisboa. Em 2012 ganhou o Prémio Bes Revelação e uma Menção Honrosa nos Novos Talentos Fnac de Fotografia, em 2014 o seu trabalho foi seleccionado como um dos melhores no Plat(t)form – Fotomuseum Winterthur. É representado pela Galeria das Salgadeiras (Lisboa) e pela Laissez Faire (Porto). Vive e trabalha entre Berlim e Porto.
Teste à capacidade mnemónica da Fotografia, 2012
The spread of digital systems and the megalomania on the creation of standardized design for the masses caused, in the contemporary society, a sudden nostalgic interest for the analog past and for the objects and memories that represent it. This fashion, which was generalized by the Retro movement (abbreviation for Retrospective) includes the interest for the aesthetics (secondhand and vintage clothes and objects) and for the methods (analog systems, handmade and limited editions). It is the feeling of loss of an historical identity which inevitably leads to the nostalgia and interest for the period that precedes us.
But the ones who seek the most for an historical connection are the youngest, searching for a relationship between their identity and the collective memory of the past. Proof of this are the current market buyers, on fairs and antique shops, second hand and handmade, which became a fashion in Oporto and in many other cities in the world.
In order to understand this phenomenon, that unconsciously struck the young people related to the arts community, that adopted analog methods of production, I have tried in recent years to experiment a contact with the past, by establishing connections of personal and family memories, but also utopic connections with private memories of unknown people. I was looking for an answer to this fascination that I would eventually become affected, collecting and using family cameras and projectors for my artistic production.
But this experience, this demand, only became interesting when it turn out to be a tragedy. All my family equipment seems to have mechanical problems caused by the lack of use, and they have been destroying my own documents and images of the present. Memories from travels have been lost forever, the faces of people I met have been concealed by lack of film exposure, videos have been burned while projecting. Ironically my intention to search and found turned into loss.
This happenings made me question the meaning of Memory thought the documentary function of Photography, and the way everyone uses image capture to archive their personal moments. Émile Zola, the main ideologist of the literary realism, added a controversial thought on this issue, when he said in 1901, that in his opinion: “We cannot declare that something has been true until it has been photographed”.
But it is necessary to understand the role and value of the body of images that in its physical state remain negative and in a state of hibernation of the visible. It is important to realize if the forgotten images on our archives, including damaged documents, are worthless in this documentary function of Photography and Video, and consequently, if they are of interest for the construction of our identity.
In order to bring into pratice an utopic answer to this question, I produced as a personal and performative experimentation, a project based on the use of three diferent analog mediums: Video (8 mm Projection); Film Photography (Medium format); and Instantaneous Photography (Polaroid), exploring the three diferent ways we can relate to an “Archive” which correspond “To Destruct” / “To Find” / “To Build”.
The important aspect is to question the methods, through damaged equipment, and the reflective and conscious act of memory loss. Is is not the image content that completely matters to analyze, but rather the lack of content. Even if the photographic image doesn't contain the total exposure and content, looking damaged, the important thing is not the photographic object or the immaculate memory represented through the image technically well produced, following most of the photographic conventions, but rather the mnemonic ability that photography has to makes us recall a certain moment of our lives.
Therefore, the portrayed subject, the memory itself, can theoretically be anything. What matters is the search, the construction and the destruction of a certain memory as a case study for this personal experience.