As part of the 2018 Biennial, FotoFocus is featuring five Neighborhood Spotlight Days: Opportunities to visit multiple Participating Venues in certain geographic locations on a day when artists, curators, and more will likely be present, along with other neighborhood activities—a great chance to dive into the energy of the Biennial…and map out a plan to get to venues in a year with such a chock-full exhibition list. Each day, you’re invited on a journey through art and the communities hosting it.
The Lens will tell you how to experience the stirring and sensational work spread across the region’s diverse and unique communities.
Featured here: Camp Washington, Clifton, Northside; Saturday, October 13
Life, past and present, needs archiving in Camp Washington, says Calcagno Cullen, executive director of the contemporary arts center Wave Pool, located in the Cincinnati neighborhood. So much has changed there, Cullen says.
That’s why the FotoFocus Biennial arrives just in time with its Open Archive theme this year, she says.
Stretching along the western edge of Interstate 75 between Northside and Downtown, Camp Washington was a bustling industrial neighborhood of 12,000 people in the 1930s. Today, it sits largely vacant, home to just 1,300 residents.
But a new wave of neighbors—artists, seeking community and space—have taken up shop in recent years. That includes Cullen and her husband, Skip, who co-founded Wave Pool in 2014.
FotoFocus’s 2018 Biennial explores how art archives life, how photography and other lens-based art-forms preserve and interpret history.
In Camp Washington, Wave Pool is actually creating an archival history of their own in a FotoFocus-supported project called Social Medium, a collaboration of local and non-local artists and members of the community.
“As our neighborhood changes, we are really interested in respecting and integrating the cultural history that is already here,” Cullen says and that’s why the project explores the world of social-practice art, where the goal is to create social change but sometimes there’s a rub.
“Are we creating community or simply documenting it?” the project description reads. “Celebrating and bringing attention to populations or exploiting them? In response to this conflict of interest and the struggle of well-intentioned social-practice photographers to find the balance between using a camera to tell a story versus creating a new one, there has been a surge of photographic experiments that blur the lines between photographer and subject, artist and community.”
Social Medium works to create a shared, community-based photography project with its own community.
But it’s just one interesting thing to see in Camp Washington on Oct. 13, during one of FotoFocus’s new Neighborhood Spotlight days.
Get the “Camp” Experience
All you need to do to get the FotoFocus train rolling on Oct. 13 is show up at Wave Pool in Camp Washington, 2940 Colerain Ave., or the American Sign Museum, 1330 Monmouth Avenue, sometime after noon.
Park and explore. There will be buses rolling around the neighborhood has part of an event called Made in Camp, a tour of artist studios and other places where things are made, like metal refineries and manufacturing plants.
Don’t forget to stop in Wave Pool and see Social Medium, the archival project and then end your trip at Eyes on Camp, a community festival running from noon–8 p.m. in a nearby empty lot off of Colerain Avenue featuring FotoFocus exhibits, food, and music.
You can’t miss Domus Oculi, House of Eyes, a contemporary interpretation of a camera obscura by Cincinnati-based artist Erin Taylor. Peer through the 10-by-10-foot structure, built with assorted camera and projector lenses for varying views of the world around you.
While there, peek into the Air Stream parked near the festival. It’s actually a rolling museum called the Archive of Creative Culture, created as a pop-up exhibition in 2014 by Lacey Haslam. Inside is a collection of books donated by artists and cultural figures. Each book inspired creativity in the person who donated it, and each contains an excerpt inside by the donor, explaining the book’s impact on their creative process. The traveling museum hosts a FotoFocus exhibit, too, called People Younger Than Me Explaining How To Do Things, by Oakland, California-based artist Jenny Odell.
Other ways to enjoy FotoFocus on Oct. 13
Visit Northside: There are FotoFocus exhibitions in the neighborhood just to the north of Camp Washington. That Saturday you could attend the opening of New American Stories, featuring photographs made by clients of the Refugee Resettlement Program operated by Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio, at Prairie, Inc. from 6–8 p.m. Another option is a trip to Hoffner Lodge Gallery between 1–5 p.m. to see Transitions: Twenty Photographers / One Photograph. The curator and participating artists will be there to answer questions.
Visit Clifton: Two FotoFocus options here. The first is Past as Present: Capturing and Archiving the Female Experience, a group show at the Reed Gallery at the University of Cincinnati. The second is a solo show at Esquire Theatre by Jens Rosenkrantz Jr. called Small Towns and Long Views. Presented by the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, the exhibition chronicles the year the artist spent traveling 20,000 miles around the country in 2014.