mishappenings, 2018-19
 
This book is about how we perceive failure. Everyday small failings reflect ‘mishappenings’: of communication and dialogue, of what happens between humans, and of what happens between humans and their natures, including machines. I can identify and empathise with these mishappenings, and when I set out to document a few of my performative interactions with the so-called ‘flawed’ as a way to address our shared experiences and tensions around intimate connections, it became an exercise to try and understand the ununderstandable.
 
This project is also about materiality in print and photography, in connection to film/analogue photographic capture and the elastic nature of the medium through innovation. At some point many of us will experience or engage in divisive rumblings around digital and analogue photography, posturing, and/or defending this material or that mechanical preference in the making of images. Interestingly, this kind of contention seems coupled with the chemistry, grain, pixel or point cloud render of the medium, and is unlikely to change.  I prefer to not sit on a particular side of the fence in this regard, my interest is in the potential hybridity of the medium(s). Similarly, in book form, my goal is not only about narrative, but to question language and translation and our expectations of a book. What is the poetic capability of a book?
 
If, as wavists, we believe that change is not determinate, and if we can record the present in enough detail, within a series of closed temporal frames, then kinds of change will perceptibly emerge from the detail of sensing.
                                                 The Perfume Recordist, “Notes on Perfume” [1]
 
To provide a conceptual visual model as I approach the potentiality of hybridisation, I am referencing Plastiglomerate, a geological hybrid, formed of volcanic rock and molten plastic. [2] Therefore, my aim both photographically and in book form, is to experiment with the fusion of possibility, and at the same time, to investigate the plasticity of a document. 

And lastly, in all of my work, there is a comment on the fissure in the field relating to the subject, idea, and/or concept, and gender.
 
In the 1930s Henri Cartier-Bresson remarked indignantly, “The world is going to pieces and people like [Ansel] Adams and [Edward] Weston are photographing rocks!” [3]
 
I am a female artist and will not make photographs like someone else to give them “importance”, even if they appear to only be about rocks or fruit (as in the case of mishappenings). The response to any project is subjective, and the surface of a work is only the surface. Going against the feedback from a man, I will end this writing with a quote. 
 
She embodies an unknowable politics by deepening the shadows in places, tarrying with the anarchy of impersonal memory. Her autonomy undoes itself and disperses into a devotedly plural materiality. Her identifications are small revolutions and also the potent failures of revolutions. She is free to not appear. 
                                                              Lisa Robertson, “Time in the Codex” [4]
 
Notes:
1. Smailbegović, A. (2015) ‘Cloud Writing: Describing Soft Architectures of Change in the Anthropocene’ in Davis, H. and Turpin, E. (eds), Art in the Anthropocene, Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies. London: Open Humanities Press. P. 93.
 
2. Corcoran, P.L., Moore, C.L., Jazvac, K. (2014) An Anthropogenic Marker Horizon in the Future Rock Record. GSA Today, vol. 24, no. 6. Retrieved from https://www.geosociety.org//gsatoday/archive/24/6/article/i1052-5173-24-6-4.htm
 
3. Adams, R. (1994) Why People Photograph. New York: Aperture Foundation.
 
4. You, M. (2017) The Revolt of the Perfume Recordist. The Critical Flame: A Journal of Literature & Culture, Issue 46, January-February 2017. Retrieved from http://criticalflame.org/author/mia-you/
 

Awarded the  2019 Agassi Book Arts Prize.

Special thanks to Piotr Jarosz (I Make Books) who bound the book and designed and made the presentation box.

The sound recording for this project can be  listened to it here.

Book: mishappenings