Projections Project

In the words of Graham Bury,

“The Projections Project is a collaboration between myself and my friend, Joshua Neves. In early May of 2007 we met for dinner. Over the course of the evening, and a couple of beers later, an idea was concocted that would combine our diverse talents.  As a result, I moved to Beijing for six months. This collaboration between myself, a photographer, and Josh, an academic researcher, would yield over 17,000 images of the ever-changing public spaces of Beijing, preceding the Olympics. I have included a few of my favorite images from this project. These photos all involve vinyl panels with various motifs. These panels were placed around construction sites and served as beautification partitions. These images are not composites. The only photoshopping that was done was basic color correction and, in some cases, minimal cropping. While these images do appear at first glance to be composites, or collages of some sort, they are in reality deceiving simply because of the way I decided to frame the scene and the subject matter.”

When the friends returned to California, Josh became an active participant in the aesthetic undertaking, helping Graham transform digital photos into hand-made cyanotypes on a grand scale.

graham cyanotype small
Graham rinsing cyanotype

This is what they wrote about their joint effort:

“The Projections Project is concerned with public space and urban aesthetics in Beijing in the context of massive environmental and symbolic transformation.  These ‘projections’ explore site-specific surfaces, spaces and screens within the city. They represent or project environments that are other than where they are: forested civic beautification panels surrounding construction sites, sidewalk or subway television sets, and myriad images or representations projecting divergent urban potentials.  We approach these ‘projected’ spaces, however, as not merely invocations or simulations of elsewhere, projections or placeholders for the as-yet-to-be, but instead as part of the formation and experience of the city and the routines of everyday life.  In this sense, these photographs capture the duration and materiality of the transitory and speculative during a period of fascination with China’s repositioning within the global order, all intensified by the Olympic gaze.

This project is a collaboration between a photographer and a visual culture researcher. It emerges out of an interest in combining the analysis of media in urban space with aesthetic experimentation and production. Our project reconsiders the relationship between art and research.

To engage a multiplicity of media and urban formations as well as the ‘impulse to project’ inherent to many of the spaces represented, our show will mix traditional large format contact printing (the cyanotype process—a form of printing belonging to the tradition of blueprint making) with Lambda color prints.”