The Lost Photographs of Alfred H – Redux by Ronan McCrea
*YOU CAN CLICK THE “SUBTITLES (C)” BUTTON ON THE BOTTOM RIGHT OF THE VIDEO FOR THE SUBTITLES .
The Lost Photographs of Alfred H is a sequence of projected 35mm slides projected on two screens. The images show a young girl dropping photographs from a family album on the ground, creating a trail as she walks around the city of Berlin.
The photographs were acquired at a Berlin flea market, where collections of family photographs are often sold, usually as a result of apartment clearances. The collection of over 300 black and white photographs documents a middle-class Berlin family through the twentieth century, from the 1920s to the 1960s. The central identifiable character is Alfred H, who is pictured at various stages of his life from young to old man in the 1960s. The photographs picture various members of the family, outings and foreign holidays, the collection also transverses the traumatic periods of the twentieth century from rise of National Socialism and the Second World War.
This enactment draws on a motif in the fairy tale ‘Hansel & Gretel’ as told by the Brothers Grimm, where Hansel drops a trail of bread to find his way back home following his abandonment with his sister Gretel in the archetypal dark forest of European folklore.
In 2010 a new version The Lost Photographs of Alfred H was created at Sinop. As part of Sinopale 3 the artist was invited by curators Rana Öztürk and Vaari Claffey to participate in group exhibition entitled ‘Temporarily Shelved’ at the Sinop Dr. Riza Nur Public Library located by the seafront on the eastern side of the city.
This new version involved the creation of a new Turkish language soundtrack recorded during the ten days the artist and curators spent in the city in the run up to the opening of the exhibition. Until that point the photographic sequences had existed without sound or commentary.
The new voice-over soundtrack was a reading by two local children, Feyzanur Sandalcı and Ataberk Gümüş of a Turkish language edition of Hansel & Gretel fairy-tale interspersed with a text written in response to the Alfred H images by Istanbul writer and facilitator Zerin Dirihan. The work was then installed in the children’s section of the library.
Now, as part of Rana Öztürk’s ‘Sinopale’s Relational Atlas’ Project for Sinopale 8 yet another version of the has been created: Lost Photographs of Alfred H – Redux. This is new digital ‘video-collage’ version of features scans of the original 35mm slide, the 2010 soundtrack with new English language subtitles, snapshot photographs from Sinop taken by the curators and a Google Maps “Street View” tour of the city conducted from the artist’s home in Dublin Ireland in January 2022.
This project will look at Sinopale as a site of relational encounters through each edition of the biennial and explore what kind of previously non-existing or invisible links between Sinop and other places occurred through the artworks produced and exhibited in Sinop. By being situated in a specific place, a biennial raises the question of what it means for artists, artworks, and audiences to be at that specific place at that specific time, when it is no longer possible to think of places and times as disparate entities in a global world.