A few edition prints are still available at special Unseen prices. For enquiries, please email email@example.com.
Commissioned to develop a new body of work for Unseen Amsterdam 2017, photographer Melanie Bonajo (b. 1978, Netherlands) set out to address the tense relationship between modernised society and nature in the series Last Child in the Woods. In collaboration with AKINCI gallery, Unseen presented at the fair the edition prints of Daisy #1, available in two sizes 135 cm x 90 cm (edition of 8) and 45 cm x 30 cm (edition of 25), printed on Fujifilm Original Photopaper.
Sneak Preview Unseen Magazine: Interview with Melanie Bonajo
Q: Your film and photography work regularly address the relationship between human beings and their surroundings. How do you bring this overarching theme to life?
A: In my work, I examine the paradoxes found in our ideas about comfort and intimacy, and I also focus on themes of community, equality, sexism, racism and body politics. Using humour to address interconnectivity, I create work that at first appears to present opposing viewpoints on certain subject matter. Through play, humour and intimacy, I analyse how my subjects overlap and work together to produce a space and systems for healthy connections, communication and care. I primarily explore these themes through feminine perspectives, empowering female voices that narrate ‘herstories’ on the world. Most of the time, the individuals in my films are activists exploring alternative ways of living that challenge our patriarchal, imperialist and mechanical societal system, diverting from capitalist culture based on greed and exploitation.
Q: Tell us about the concept behind the images you created for this year’s campaign. Why did you choose children to be the main protagonists in the work?
A: The children I photographed are the subjects of a film I am working on titled Progress vs Sunsets: Reformulating the Nature Documentary. The project investigates the popularity of humorous animal videos online, and how their circulation influences children’s views on nature in contrast to the pre-Internet documentary methods familiar to older generations. How do children read these images, what do they imply, and how does this affect their agency? These questions address complicated issues about animal rights in relation to biopolitics, global capitalism, ecology, anthropomorphism and the Western rationalist tradition that frames nature as a utilitarian object separate from our own selves. They also address how children are so ‘plugged in’ when growing up in urban hubs, developing without meaningful contact with the natural world, and what the costs of this are as a result.
Top image: Daisy #1 from the series Last Child in the Woods, 2017 © Melanie Bonajo/AKINCI/Selection made by Unseen