Goldsmiths Sociology students can be seen sitting in New Cross House after a lecture, huddled around classmate Yinae Deowyoo Hwang’s Hasselblad SWC/m. Each of them pass around the camera, fiddling with its mechanics, deeply engrossed in its explanation. Minutes later, topics switch. Someone is talking about their childhood obsession with maps, hyper gentrification in Williamsburg Brooklyn, and the meaning of ‘Blackness’ in England. This Master’s group, studying Photography and Urban Cultures represents diverse upbringings with experiences in cities ranging from Seoul, Barcelona, Accra, and London.
As a student on this course, I leave the year with strong walking legs and nerdy knowledge of cameras. I listen to the projects of my classmates Silvia Andrademarin and June Cadogan, equally wanting to spend copious amounts of time in Crisps Street Market to the Masonic lodges of Harrow; watching, walking, listening, and snapping away. I dream of new theoretical friends, Ingold, Massey, and Appurdurai whom I’ve met along the way in my classes.
This year of study has armed me to ‘re-think’ and ‘re-look’ at city networks and the movement of its people.
I and my fellow ‘adventure nerds’ will be showing our projects in the exhibition Habitus, which is part of the Urban Photofest, London. Exhibitor Mattias Malk who has a trifecta of exhibition duties ranging from curating, exhibiting, tells me his understanding of the illustrious word Habitus. He states,
‘What makes habitat elusive is that by its very nature we do not consciously register it. Only when distanced from the habitus does one begin to notice its inner workings. Therefore habitus defines all the work in the exhibition. As urban sociologists, our research works at unraveling notions and histories that are overlooked, pass unnoticed, neglected or suppressed and begin to understand their inner mechanisms.’
The projects in the exhibition run the gamut of research topics such as community, urban redevelopment, family history, tourism, and globalization. They have taken us locally and internationally, allowing us to gain understanding of urban spaces. Our research, though undertaken independently is a culmination of our collective work and creative engagement with each other this year.
When thinking of acts of collectivity behind the work in Habitus, I think about the time spent with each other inside and outside the classroom. On different occasions, we went on walks to Brighton, Deptford, and Istanbul. Walking allowed us to build trust and get to know each other, but also engage in the urban environment and ask questions. While walking, we shared our knowledge in an array of subjects, such as architecture, photography, journalism, and education.
This approach of walking, photographing, and coming together allowed the group to synthesize our experience, classroom learnings, and group expertise.
Our current show, Habitus which takes place between October 20th-25th at the Menier Gallery in London is a result of the group’s collective effort.
Our mission statement for the show : ‘ Through the connection of theory, practice and discussion the participants have engaged in core themes of urban cultures and this exhibition is visual manifestation of the collective dialogue. ’
For more information about the artists and the show visit our facebook page Habitus and our website www.habitusphoto.co.uk and check out www.urbanphotofest.org for all the events happening in the festival.
‘Habitus’ is part of London’s Urban Photofest.
The private view is on Saturday, October 25th from 6pm-10pm
at the Menier Gallery, 51 Southwark St, London SE1 1RU.
Monday 20th- 2pm-6pm
Wednesday 24th 11-6pm
Thurday 23rd: 11am-6pm
Saturday 25th: 11am- 10pm