Rebecca Hackemann

About Rebecca from her website:

About My Studio Practice: I am interested in the process of vision and visual communication itself, and how we bring meaning to what we see and experience through the medium of photography. The art photograph aims to provide a form of critique (or should), an intervention or commentary on existing everyday photography in our culture. In my practice the act of looking is a central theme that runs throughout the work – in many cases a optical device mediates the image. In some works, like the tintype work it challenges the conventions of that medium by showing flaws and not using a camera (in the case of the tintype it is portraiture). In other cases the work challenges the cartesian separation of art object and viewer through the use of the stereoscope, which symbolizes vision and controls who can see the work and forces viewers to first look at others looking.  The work is influenced by conceptual work of the 1970s (see artist statement), Johnathan Crary, as well as George Melies and pre cinematic history of optical media devices. Many of my images are whimsical, sometimes political and are about how photography (and film) function in our culture and in history, how they intersect with our lives in different forms. – Rebecca Hackemann

How long have you been a photographic artist?

25 years

What drew you to photography as a form of expression?

I began photography during a time in my life when I was suffering from culture shock in a boarding school in England. It gave me validation at the time and made me feel productive. I was 16.

Are there any artists or art styles that help inspire your work?

for my photography: Melies the filmmaker, Kahn and Seleznik, Jan Svankmajer, Quay Brothers, Barbara Kruger, John Heartfield, Kentridge, Victor Burgin, Allen Sekula, Barthes, David Bate and Geoffrey Batchen

Has your work seen any transitions or transformations from when you first began in this medium? If so, in what way?

Yes, I have added different bodies of work over time and work on them concurrently. I also created several public art projects and make anamorphic drawings. All my work is conceptual and challenges the traditional formats of that medium in different ways – historically and formally – often an optical component is involved.

Sometimes I decide I want to work in a certain medium and then ask myself – what has not been done in this medium and how can I make the content relevant to the medium itself and themes in popular culture research fields or politics? In other words – why is this a tintype or a polaroid or a stereo photograph? How would it function differently if it were not? Would it work conceptually? That question is crucial. The next question is – what does it mean, what is the work about, what is it saying or doing? In many ways I bring the language of sculpture into the world of photography which can be somewhat stiff at times. In my public art I intervene into public space in ways that are unconventional (location wise) and then I ask questions about the site with the work, through the work.

In my stereo photographs, I am asking philosophical questions about photography history, popular culture, politics and playing with image/ text relationships the way advertising does – but in my case I do it to prompt philosophical questions or make puns. The wet collodion work is about our constant battle in photography with a changing technology and our nostalgia for its cultural tropes (for example the mixed tape).

With the quarantine in place, how are you using your photography to deal with being in isolation?

I have been going over negatives I shot in the last 2 years and creating work with them (ie finishing unfinished works – some are below). On the side, I have also been experimenting with lumen prints for fun, in an aimless way to experiment in preparation for teaching Alternative Processes and doing workshops.I am also finishing book about artists who use stereoscopes. Forthcoming by intellect books. I also helped my friend Katharina Bosse translate part of her book “Thingstaetten”, into English.

What else would you like us to know about you and your work?

I love making and thinking about work as well as writing – my practice truly saved my life. Art is my profession and I take it very seriously. I am interested in meeting established artists in KC to share work, pls stop by at the next open studios. I teach at Kansas State University in the photography program (we have a funded MFA program) and maintain a studio in Kansas City’s Livestock Exchange Building. I also offer professional development consultation in the arts and am sometimes a juror for grants etc. Forthcoming projects: In collaboration with Katharina Bosse, a book titled

Thingstaette by Kerber Verlag, Germany. Exquisite Corpse project – Group Exhibition at Gallery MC in New York (September) curated by Simonetta Moro and Aga Ousseinov. Fondation Valparaiso Residency, 2021, Spain. Please come and visit the work at the Springfield Art Museum Four by Four Biennial, curated by Sarah Buhr in the Fall and or 2021. rebeccahackemann.com.

For more information-

instagram: @rebeccahackemann | twitter: @StudioRebecca11 | facebook: @hackemannphoto | website: http://www.rebeccahackemann.com/