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Kerstin Hamilton

Doctoral Student

The Film, Photography and Literary Composition
Unit
Visiting address
Storgatan 43
41138 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 131
40530 Göteborg

About Kerstin Hamilton

Kerstin Hamilton is a PhD candidate in artistic practice with a focus on photography, currently working on the research project The Objectivity Laboratory: Photography and Reality in Times of Post-Truth, developed as part of the PhD program at HDK-Valand.

The research project The Objectivity Laboratory: Photography and Reality in Times of Post-Truth looks at how materialities and processes are visualized using a camera, exploring the photographer’s reach both physically and ethically. With the aim of proposing how to move beyond some of the more incapacitating aspects of ‘representational critique’, the dissertation turns to ‘objectivity’ as an enabling possibility. The dissertation considers how the concept of ‘situated objectivity’ – a new form of ethical, empathic and engaged objectivity – has a productive potential when introduced into the context of documentary photography.

The Objectivity Laboratory: Photography and Reality in Times of Post-Truth was instigated at Valand Academy 2015 and grew out of the research project Nanosocieties which was led by Hamilton and nano scientist Jonas Hannestad.

The research project makes connections between the natural sciences and the field of photography: using the laboratory both physically and as a symbol, the image’s relation to reality is considered. In order for us to experience nanoscale societies, we have to image and imagine the nanoscale particles – representations are our only link to these miniature landscapes. In the research project, nanotechnological laboratories are to an extent regarded as metaphors to discuss questions of representation and photography.

Main outcomes of the work carried out in nanotechnology laboratories are the film Zero Point Energy (2016) which was part of The New Human exhibition at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and Malmö and the two image/text/installation based artworks The Science Question in Feminism (2018) and A World Made by Science (2018) made for the 2018 Riga Biennal Of Contemporary Art.

The research project explores – both visually and theoretically – feminist science scholars Karen Barad and Donna Haraway’s theoretical approaches and tests the applicability of concepts such as 'diffraction' and 'situated knowledges' within photographic contexts. Further, the dissertation maps experimental approaches within contemporary documentary photography and discusses the relation between documentary, photography, post-truth politics and ethics.

A significant production within the research project is the curated exhibition Dear Truth: Documentary Strategies in Contemporary Photography at Hasselblad Center (May 30-September 20, 2020). The exhibition investigates how artists approach complex social and political realities in times of post-truth. Photography is in the exhibition applied as an experimental, inclusive and expanded medium. The exhibition presents artist’s works that insist upon the importance of seeing, knowing and reacting to the complexities and disorders characteristic of our time.

Other parts of the research has been presented at Art Initiative, Stockholm School of Economics and Chalmers University of Technology, at Vetenskapsfestivalen, as a Mobile Exhibition (aimed at youth in Västra Götalandsregionen) and Tekniska Museet among other venues.

Zero Point Energy is available here: https://vimeo.com/230726279

Information about the Riga Biennal Of Contemporary Art:

https://www.rigabiennial.com/archive/riboca-1/artists/kerstin-hamilton https://www.rigabiennial.com/archive/riboca-1/concept

Link to Dear Truth: Documentary Strategies in Contemporary Photography: https://www.hasselbladfoundation.org/wp/portfolio_page/dear-truth-2/