At Unseen Amsterdam 2017, there will be a focus on collective ways of working and collaborative methods of thinking. To celebrate these cooperative working practices, we have introduced a new programme element. Unseen CO-OP brings together 13 of the most pioneering artist collectives from around the globe. In this weekly feature, CO-OP Insights, we are delighted to introduce them to you one by one.
This week, we talk to Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt, who have been working together since 2005 and are based in Stockholm. Grounded in the medium of photography, their work focuses on the production of knowledge, exploring media issues, historical narratives and the depiction and perception of political events through media channels. Also heading up publishing platform B-B-B-Books, the couple will show a new piece of work at Unseen CO-OP that is a continuation of their ongoing series ‘Wikiland’.
Photo: From the series Wikiland, 24-25 February, 2011 © Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt
What is the main reason you formed the collective?
We have been working together for a long time and our aesthetic has developed over several years. We had such a good time when we made our first project together, we then became a couple and since then we haven’t stopped doing what we are doing. As photographers, we are driven by aesthetics and we use this to convey a certain story. The work isn’t very clearly divided between us, we take the photographs together but the initial writing and early editing work is done separately. We are good at different things, but everything we do takes place via some kind of interplay.
From the series Wikiland © Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt
What sets you apart from other collectives?
There isn’t really a moment when we decide to start a new project. We go to different places and we pay attention to what we are told about the area, what we see or cannot see, and then we take photographs. Sometimes, the places happen to be of particular interest to the media and this usually opens up many other types of stories. Often the history of a place and the contemporary debate around it becomes the motivation to make something new. What we finally decide to do very rarely ends up being about the physical environment we once visited because the process usually brings us to something completely different, quite far from where we first went and where the photographs were taken. When we have made some decisions of where we want to go with the work, we initiate a kind of research process. Sometimes it is done by us, but often it incorporates someone with certain skills who is able to dig deeper into a topic.
© Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt
Could you give us an insight into what you have in store for Unseen CO-OP 2017?
For Unseen CO-OP we are currently working on a third part of the Wikiland project that started in 2011. The title is Wikiland, 23 June, 2017 / Sunny 16 Rule. On 19 May 2017, the Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation into rape accusations against Julian Assange and applied to revoke the European arrest warrant. On Swedish Midsummer, 23 June 2017, when the case was dropped, we visited Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in order to take a portrait of the man who had put Sweden in so much lime-light. On the longest day of 2017, we used the sunny 16 rule, which in photography is a method of estimating correct daylight without a light meter, to catch a frame of the man whose week in Stockholm seven years earlier was no longer of interest to the state.