A Failed Attempt to Assemble a Mountain

Mount Sapo is a mountain near Rome, in Italy. It appears in a fanciful rewriting of the history of soap, and it is often claimed to explain the origins of the name. The story about Mount Sapo explains that upon its slopes, ancient Romans used to sacrifice animals as burnt offerings. Wood ash from the fires of their altars mingled with the grease from the animal sacrifices, forming a primitive kind of soap. This intervention uses archival documentation and ephemeral sculptures about this particular geographical place to reflect about the construction of historical narratives.

 

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Alejandro Acin is an artist, designer and educator based in Bristol (United Kingdom). After working for more than five years in an archival institution, he uses his personal practice to investigate contemporary uses of visual archives. Through the construction, contestation and obliteration of archival material; his work responds to theoretical debates that surround the construction of collective memory and its relation to capitalist socio-political dynamics. To expand the understanding of self-publishing he uses photography, film, collaborative strategies, site-specific installations, publications and digital platforms to convey its ideas. His work has been exhibited in the UK, Italy, Spain and Colombia. Acín is also founder director of IC Visual Lab, an artist-led organization based in Bristol (UK) that produces and supports contemporary photography across audiences. In 2016, he founded ICVL Studio where he collaborates with other artists and organizations as a designer and art director in printed and digital publishing projects. His publications have been internationally recognised by outlets like TIME Magazine, PDN Online, Photoworks, FOAM, British Journal of Photography or Aesthetica Magazine. He is currently associated lecturer in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales and Engagement & Education Director at Bristol Photo Festival.

Garry Loughlin was born and raised in Ireland, but currently living and working in Bristol, UK. He is a lens based artist whose work is research driven, incorporating photography, writing and archival material. His interests lie in the use of power, and the control of narratives and territories by those with that power. He is driven by unearthing micro-histories and the discovery of elements that can link series of events that might initially seem isolated. Working primarily with photography allows Loughlin to employ the language of documentary to challenge the perceived authority of the indexical image and its role in the distribution of history. Using original photographs alongside archival elements engenders a visually fragmentary approach reflecting the complex and often emotionally complicated narratives he wishes to convey.

Loughlin’s work can meet its audience in various formats and he is increasingly interested in formats which relate to or challenge notions of objective truth, such as publications and performance lectures.

He holds a MA in Documentary Photography from University of South Wales. He is one of the photographers selected as Irish FUTURES Talents 2020. Recently, he delivered a performative lecture of his latest body of work The Clearing House as part of Bus Project’s online program, Bus TV. In 2019 Loughlin exhibited The Clearing House in Test Space at Spike Island, Bristol. He is the author of two self-published monographs; Between Spaces (2014) and A farewell to Arms (2016). His work has been exhibited in a number of exhibitions throughout Ireland, Europe and the UK.

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