Psychogeographical Camera Obscura Workshop
8th –19th February  2016


Workshop Methodology

Laura Liverani of ISIA Faenza (Italy) delivered a project called The Psychogeographical Camera Obscura. This workshop questioned conventional and established photographic processes in order to explore alternative means of optically mediated vision and image capture. The overall purpose was to re-discover the ‘degree zero’ of photography, i.e. ‘writing with light’, within a contemporary perspective, and deployed on Thomas Street. Vision through a camera obscura would ideally produce new perceptions and provoke reflections on narratives of place.

Specifically, the camera obscura gaze was applied to the psychogeographical exploration of places and their narratives: the optical device was used to observe the landscape, while eliciting related accounts, stories and memories by engaging with the public on Thomas Street. Ad hoc methodologies and approaches for working directly on the street were devised collectively by the students. Participants brought self-built devices to a previously selected site, which was then surveyed and mapped. Documentation of the fieldwork, including imagery and text, was produced.


The Psychogeographical Camera Obscura

Working with visiting lecturer Laura Liverani and a number of media students used adhoc and self built camera obscuras to capture the environs of the street. The camera obscura gaze was ”applied to the psychogeographical exploration of places and their narratives: the optical device .. used to observe the landscape, while eliciting related accounts, stories and memories by engaging with the public”. Students used self built portable camera obscuras as a way of engaging directly with the street and its actors. Students subsequently built a large scale camera obscura in an old shop on Thomas St.

Outside Inside Upside Down

Building further on this work, a number of students opened the camera obscura to the public, and investigated the process of image creation and public participation. The 3 day installation Outside Inside Upside Down invited fellow students, college staff and locals to experience and interact with a large scale camera obscura.

Subsequent to this, two students Michelle Mc Bride and Mason Mc Govern created a large scale modular flat pack camera.

“Our goal was to create a mobile, easy to construct and deconstruct, transportable camera that we could bring to public places and offer the live process of image making and how we see the world around us”.  

This was a major sculptural and design project which took place over a 6 week period and acted as a prototype for further outings in public space.

This structure works as a piece of public art that will hopefully bring people together and start a conversation about the process of the camera obscura. By placing the work in the public domain we envisage a situation where people will be interested in the history and development of understanding optics and art making. The process involved in this project will provide interaction with the public, cross disciplinary work and experience of collaborative public art.”

“Imaging the Street” – Selected Elective Projects

Spirits of Thomas Street

My photography project focused on the pubs and churches that are located in the Thomas Street area of the Liberties, Dublin. During the IPIP project, my group focused on these two institutions that were in the area. I was interested in the sense of community that these two types of buildings facilitated. In an ever-changing street where businesses appear and often disappear, the churches and certain pubs have lasted the tests of time. We found in our research that the distilleries, the pubs and the churches in the area had connections and that many crossovers occurred between each of them.

My photographs attempted to connect the seemingly opposite spaces of the pub and church. By placing the photographs next to each other in a split-screen, I was able to play with certain themes, some obvious and some more abstract. I choose a photograph from each location and attempted to find a counterpart from the other. The result is a a photoseries that I hope captures the atmosphere of Thomas Street and the people that interact within its public spaces.

Ara Devine

Interview in the Garden

Killian focussed on “how people interact and connect to specific spaces in the city”. His initial focus was on the local community garden but his work expanded to engage more broadly about ideas of change and development.

Thomas Street

Artists and art students