3/30/21 - News
by Daniel Devlin
Posted in: News
I AM STILL ALIVE
Everyday a photograph records… what exactly?
Nothing. The moment is gone. You are looking at
not even a memory. It is a fabrication. Forced.
Yet prompted by the artificial structures of the project Devlin embarks on a desperate journey (a flight from
the false present of the photograph) hurtling through
past lives, reminding himself of the very fickleness of time. A circularity that strikes note after note until the echoes die, the ripples dissipate.
Keran James, studio1.1, London, October 2020.
I asked Keran if he could write me a couple of juicy sentences that would help elevate my 2020 project
I AM STILL ALIVE into something that could be perceived as being Art and I think he’s done a brilliant job.
In 1988 I was in my second year of a BA in fine art at Reading University. I decided to transform my studio into Dan’s Café; I built some partitions, put in a table and a few chairs, painted a sign and had a hot-plate where I made espressos with my Bialetti and a small pan to warm milk. I offered free coffees to anybody who came in. At first people came and acted “let’s play cafés” but eventually for a while it was just a place where you could come for coffee and a conversation.
It wasn’t intended as art, it was just a thing I did. But ten years later Nicolas Bourriaud published Relational Aesthetics and all of a sudden making tea or coffee for people became respected Art, I wish I had a Bourriaud or a James at the time and elevate my silly games into Art.
I had heard on the radio that a good way to learn to write well would be to force yourself to write 200 words every day; some days you would be inspired and other days not but the act of writing regardless every day was … and I was thinking that maybe to become a good photographer I should take a photograph every day. I decided to take a self portrait every day as it would be a subject matter that would always be available to me.
I decided to call the project I AM STILL ALIVE as an homage to On Kawara’s Date Paintings and his “i am still alive” telegrams. I had also been re-reading Susan Sontag’s “On Photography” and this title linked nicely with the idea of photography and death.
What I didn’t know on January first was that 2020 would become the year of the world pandemic Covid-19 and that the words I AM STILL ALIVE and this project would take on another meaning.
click here to view all 366 days and read the texts that go with them or see a selection in the gallery below.