Friday, October 15, 2010


''East London...Last night...

S.D.G.EastLondon recommends
 to visit the  exhibition of

Dead on Holiday

The City Arts and Music Project
70-74 CITY RD

Through a darkly comedic lens, this photography collaboration explores the seduction and anxiety of tourism. Breaking the mould of the traditional holiday snap shot, the series aims to poke fun at the relationship between photography and tourism, as well as the suggested danger of visiting any foreign place.
While on holiday in Turkey recently, Andrea and I found ourselves wanting some physical record of our vacation, but reluctant to repeat the stock images taken by so many smiling tourists before us. 
Remaining faithful to the constructed artificiality of holiday photos, we have departed from them in all other respects. Our settings are unidentifiable and relatively mundane, the subjects are anonymous and the images are records not of life, but death. And yet there are elements of both glamour and unease to the images - a nod to the allure and anxiety implicit to the experience of foreign travel.
For us, there is a greater relevance to these images, since the moment we stepped foot on the sleepy island in the Sea of Marmara, it appeared to us like an abandoned film set, complete with 70s faded-glamour resorts, crumbling, derelict houses and, curiously, a parking lot full of old-fashioned carriages tied up to horses, with not a soul in sight to attend them or require their service.
As so often nowadays, the cinematic experience had given context to a real-life scenario; scenes spun by Hitchcock, Antonioni and Godard came into definition – surely, heinous crimes had been committed among these ruins and romantic intrigue had wound its shimmering path around the craggy clifftops. In short, our photos speak to our imagined experience of the space.
They also aim to convey an irony that some holiday-makers may well recognize: though on the surface travel provides a means of escape, the traveller can never escape him or herself. On the contrary, as a fish out of water and distanced from familiar contexts, the uprooted traveller dies a small death of identity.
Inversely, this project allowed us to escape playing the role of ‘tourist’. Acting out a series of deaths and photographing them uncovered an interesting side-effect: the few Turkish stragglers who passed us along the way steered well clear of us. Suddenly we were free of unwanted attentions. Our unexpected and performative use of the space seemed to invest it with a new identity, reclaiming it for ourselves and making it as foreign to the locals as we were.


ANDREA: ''Yeah, the idea came about quite organically. It was more a conversation about the strangeness of taking these now standard holiday photos. Like when you go to the Eiffel Tower, you need to take a picture with you in front of it. And there's a crowd of other people doing the exact same thing. It's such a water down experience. It's sort of saying when people travel the emphasis is strongly on the act of taking these holiday photos of themselves having this great experience or cultural experience, rather then really seeking out a great experience or cultural experience. So we juxtaposed the idea with a dead body. We came up with this idea about half way through the holiday. Everything was shot in Istanbul. We thought it was really funny at the time. And I think there's humor in the images as well as the darker side of them (but maybe it's just my sick sense of humor!!)''.

Photographs by:  

Andrea DiCenzo / Tess Thackara / Konrad Buczek

For more information about the artists or the exhibition, please contact Lawrence Ajayi at City Arts and Music Project:
Contact number:
+44 (0) 7595950447rivate View: Oct. 7th 6:30pm-9:00pm