Cardiff International Festival of Photography – Diffusion

3rd June 2013

On the final day for some parts of the festival, 31st May, a study visit led by Jesse Alexander went along to several of the venues spread and around Cardiff and the local area to view and discuss the exhibits on offer.

Starting in Penarth at Ffotogallery looking at the exhibition from Edgar Martins ‘The Time Machine’.  Martins spent a great deal of time in 2010/11 visiting 20 power stations across Portugal, for which he had exclusive access, all  built between the 1950’s to 1970’s.  The resulting images portray the more than just functional designs of the power plants, they also show the gigantic scales of some parts along with the more intimate, smaller details not normally associated with such enterprises.

I got a sense of emptiness and abandonment from what were originally man controlled places but are now apparently fully automatic.  The signs of human activity still pervade the areas whilst these cavernous rooms are totally devoid of any humans.  It turns out that the particular site displayed only has a couple of security guards there now, whereas before there must have been several dozen technicians operating the plant.   Some of the images of the smaller items cannot be judged as to actual size as they’ve been photographed against a totally black background with no idea of scale for comparison, so it’s impossible to say whether or not they’re micro or macro sized, which adds to the enjoyment of looking as you try to decide for yourself what they are, what they represent and what scale you think they are.

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine - Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins – The Time Machine – Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine - Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins – The Time Machine – Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine - Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins – The Time Machine – Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine - Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins – The Time Machine – Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine - Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins – The Time Machine – Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine - Courtesy Ffotogallery

Edgar Martins – The Time Machine – Courtesy Ffotogallery

4 Responses to Cardiff International Festival of Photography – Diffusion

  1. Catherine says:

    Certainly a visit with variety Eddy. Your mention of Borth was a blast from the past for me as well – I remember the tiny caravan we stayed in and the sand dunes, plus the people who mainly spoke Welsh and didn’t want to be too friendly.
    I must stay I’m getting to understand the purpose of ‘installations’ but it depends on their impact of course. Re barn-raising, I think the best example for me is that scene from “Witness” with Harrison Ford. That evoked much more about community help than the installation you saw.

    • Eddy Lerp says:

      The installation we saw didn’t have any relevance to Barn Raising as far as I could see and the Arts Council had paid for the co-ordinator to spend a period of time in Canada with the Menonites, so money well spent…… I don’t think.

  2. I’m so glad you didn’t understand what he was saying about the relevance of barn raising in relation to the exhibition either!! And I thought I must have missed something on the bunkers side but obviously not!

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