Curate and Sequence Your Own Custom Book at OCULI’s “HOME” Interactive Exhibit (May 22nd, 6pm, Sydney at the Cleland Bond in The Rock)

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Photo by Andrew Quilty
Oculi is presenting a unique book making opportunity during the Reportage Festival in Sydney.  
 
As a part of the 2013 Reportage Documentary Photography Festival and in partnership with BLURB books, Australia’s photographic collective OCULI presents HOME, an interactive exhibition where viewers are able to curate and sequence their own custom book from the Oculi Collective’s imagery.

The exhibition opening is May 22nd at 6pm and will run until June 10th at the Cleland Bond in The Rocks (Ground Level, 33 Playfair St.) in Sydney, Australia.

>> Link to the Oculi exhibition and book event

For more info about the exhibition, images, and questions to the members of Oculi, read on.

1. What is the concept of the exhibition and the book project? How did it come to birth?

Roo on Sofa. Dean Sewell/Oculi
Roo on Sofa. Dean Sewell/Oculi

Tamara Voninski: The upcoming book event “Home” is a creative venture between the Oculi collective of photographers in Australia and Blurb to create a framework using an exhibition where viewers choose the images to create their own selection and sequencing in a book. It is essentially up to the individual viewer to create a unique book in a remix of the photographs and interpretations of the theme “Home” in a museum catalogue.

The exhibition opening and book launch event is May 22nd at 6pm and will run until June 10th at the Cleland Bond in The Rocks (Ground Level, 33 Playfair St.) at the Reportage Festival hub. The seed of the idea idea came from a conversation between blurb and one of the Oculi photographers which grew into a group project.

2. How do you see different Oculi members interpret the theme of ‘home’?

Korea. Lee Grant/Oculi
Korea. Lee Grant/Oculi

Andrew Quilty: Editing this book was an interesting process. It was also an expedited one as the collaboration with Blurb came about less than two months from the proposed launch.

At first, many of us took the theme very literally. Some literally only contribute early edits that contained “actual” homes as we define them in the western world. With a bit of teasing out of the definition as well as with the help of seeing and comparing the work of others in the group however, the edits started to reflect a stretch in that definition and the images we were seeing became more loose and interpretative.

3. Can you describe the merits of photographers to work with Blurb?

Five year old Akantia Jones (far right corner with her hands on her chin) watches intently as Larissa Jones (Left) and Kade Cattermore prepare to blow out candles to celebrate their shared sixth birthday. Only five days prior Akantia's father was murdered in the front yard of a neighbor. David Maurice Smith/Oculi.
Five year old Akantia Jones (far right corner with her hands on her chin) watches intently as Larissa Jones (Left) and Kade Cattermore prepare to blow out candles to celebrate their shared sixth birthday. Only five days prior Akantia’s father was murdered in the front yard of a neighbor. David Maurice Smith/Oculi.

David Maurice Smith: Having opportunities to expedite a creative process is always a good thing. To take images from the ether of a digital workflow to the bricks and mortar of print in a matter of weeks… that to me is the best part. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing your work printed in a book.

Beyond that, it is nice to have flexibility in the process: you can create one-off books for portfolios and/or personal projects, or you can print large numbers. And, of course, of upmost importance, the print quality is excellent, the images look strong.

4. How was the book ‘home’ edited and sequenced? How did the photographers collaborate on the project?

Housing Commission: Melbourne
Housing Commission: Melbourne. Tamara Voninski/Oculi

Tamara Voninski: The entire project editing and discussion took place online, as members were either based or travelling in various parts of Australia or overseas. Each member interpreted the theme “Home” through their eyes and presented a selection to the group for discussion. Each person gave feedback for the final selection of 7-8 photos each.

The group commissioned a designer to sequence the work into a flowing visual book. Designing a beautiful book from eleven different interpretations and photographic styles is an incredible triumph.

5. How do you see the concept of ‘home’ changing in today’s day and age?

From the series "The Downtown East Side." Claire Martin/Oculi
From the series “The Downtown East Side.” Claire Martin/Oculi

Andrew Quilty: I feel as though the idea of home is becoming more expansive and this would have to be credited almost entirely by the proliferation of the Internet. The world seems so much smaller now than it did even ten or fifteen years ago so whereas one’s concept of home then might have been confined to the walls that made up their house, now, I think we might consider it more broadly in terms of a town or even a country.

But mine is a very privileged point of view and says nothing for those in so many other places around the world whose concept of home is so far estranged from mine. How their ideas of home change, I could not begin to imagine but that ignorance signals that there is without doubt, need to explore such issues.

6. What is one of the favorite photos from the project and why?

Donna Bailey/Oculi
Donna Bailey/Oculi

David Maurice Smith: I am a huge fan of Donna Bailey’s image of a mother and newborn taken seconds after the birth. It is an incredible moment… the first embrace. She nailed it.

7. Anything else you would like to mention that I haven’t asked?

Nick Moir/Oculi
Nick Moir/Oculi

David Maurice Smith: I think it is important to be move with the times and develop new, flexible approaches to book making and printing. While the desire to make iconic monographs at the high end of the market still exists and will always remain a goal, it has always presented difficulties. The ability to share your work in a meaningful, quality way has become a far more accessible and affordable option thanks to Blurb.

More photos from the Book

David Maurice Smith (right)

Oculi photo book 1 Oculi: A museum catalog made by you

Oculi photo book 2 Oculi: A museum catalog made by you

Event details:

Place: Reportage Festival Hub, Cleland Bond Building, The Rocks, Sydney (Google Map)
Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

For all the info of the event, check out the event page: Oculi: A museum catalog made by you

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