Random Moments groups photographs and juxtaposes abstracts from published literature to visualise plots with images and narratives independent of one another. The exhibition is the curator’s Yean Fee Quai‘s fictitious arrangement, based on actual photographs and literature. The visuals are amassed from a computer database, and printed publications are the sources for the texts.
In a period of 40 years, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography has collected over six-and-a-half million film-based photographic materials. Among the collection are images shot by professionals and amateurs. They have captured scenes and spectacles, events and happenings, celebrities and commoners, routines, everyday things and anything that a camera can snap into pictures. The museum acquires its collection from individuals and companies, receiving the assorted photographs and films in boxes and file cabinets that have long since overflowed the modest archival storage.
For the first two decades, before digital technology, the custodians performed the daunting tasks of categorising, recording, researching and preserving the captured moments, that were slow at revealing visible results. In the latter two decades, when digital photography rapidly replaced film cameras, similar technology readily made the museum’s resources accessible with ease by transformation into an image database.
Random Moments is an exhibition that uses the image search that the museum has established. The retrieving of images with keywords conjures surprising combinations of photographed moments. Each moment is a singularity that becomes related through a particular word.
Contrary to the algorithmic visual search, old-school is the approach to finding the texts to accompany the exhibition—snippets of texts on printed pages of publications call out to or draw into the visual narrations. Whether the pictures resonate with the text, or the words allude to the images, the deliberate attempt evokes the discrepancy or lack of it.
The exhibition is a part of the Icelandic Photo Festival 2022
*Young man photographs himself in a mirror. Eggert Claessen. Probably with his fiancé's and later his wife's camera, Soffía. Ca. 1900.