The Photographs

Photo: Joanna Miller
The photographs featured here formed part of an exhibition entitled Insomnia, on show at the MEINBLAU gallery in Berlin-Pankow from March 19 to April 2, 2006. The exhibition was curated by Marek Sniecinski.

Translated from the German by Chantal Wright

Insomnia is an artistic project initiated by the students of the KWADRAT International Photographic Forum in Wroclaw. The photographs featured here were shot during the daytime in the empty rooms of a Wroclaw nightclub called Bezsennosc (Insomnia). The club is designed in the style of the 1920s and 30s, and contains some genuine pieces of furniture from that period, which creates a particular atmosphere. The walls of the club feature large format black and white prints in a photo montage of classic photographs from around the world.

The types of mise en scène adopted by the young photographers can be divided into three categories, with the photographs nonetheless functioning as a whole in a kind of photo theatre. One group of students engaged with the character of the space and its furnishings, creating an "iconography of insomnia". Another group focussed on staging portraits evoking the spirit of the 20s and 30s - "retro portraits". The final group put together small photo stories in which the club space merely functioned as a backdrop. These stories, which operate somewhere between dreams and a state of awake-ness, appear to be narrating situations when we dream "with our eyes wide open".

All of these photographs function like fragments of a theatrical performance in which the photographers are present both as actors and directors. The audience of this photographic spectacle brings to it their own perceptions and memories of sleeplessness, with which the fragments are bound into a whole.


Transcript would like to thank the curator and the students of the International Photographic Forum in Wroclaw for generously allowing us to publish their work on our site.

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