The End

Thursday, October 14th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

I am very sorry to announce the end of the experiment that has been 12th Press and it’s accompanying blog, On Shadow.

I’ve had a good time doing this blog and the various projects that 12th Press has been involved in, but there are lots of people who are doing the same thing that I’ve been trying to do, but better and with more success than I’ve been able to.  I’ve never felt that I’ve had the time or resources to devote to 12th Press that it deserves, and in this age of self-publishing and internet ventures, I feel that my energy could be better spent adding to the conversation a new voice rather than joining into the chorus.

That being said, I’d like to point you to 3 great photographers whose work really deserves wider notice, and with whom I had been working to provide that.  Please, check out the work of Rian Dundon, Benedikt Richenbach, and Nicoló Degiorgis.

As for me, I will be taking a break from blogging for a couple of weeks before returning to reorganize this blog to serve as an archive, and probably beginning another with a slightly different focus (the creation of which I will announce here).

Thanks again to everyone who have so graciously allowed their work to be featured here, and to all of you internauts who have read, commented, clicked, and bought here on 12th Press.

Duchenne de Boulogne

Thursday, October 7th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

This is not new work, clearly, so I’m always a bit shocked (pun!) when I bring this stuff up and no one knows about it. But this happens consistently enough for me to be posting about it here:

Anyways, Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne was a French doctor and photographer of the 19th century. He comes up here, of course, due to his photographic work, though it was a direct result of his actually quite important scientific research.

Duchenne was a solitary ‘mariner-like’ figure in the Paris of his time, concerned exclusively with medical research and the treatment of people of all social classes (somewhat to the detriment of his career). He developed many pioneering techniques in neurology and medecine in general, but one of his most lasting contributions was his work on muscular contraction and facial expressions. This became widely known to the international scientific community through Darwin’s The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, and was originally published with a suite of scientific images (some of the first uses of photography for this purpose) of Duchenne or his assistants applying localized electrical charges to the face of an old man (who, luckily, had zero sensation in his face) in order to induce different expressions.

Duchenne was heavily influenced by physiognomy: He believed that these facial expressions were a window to the soul. In a weird way (one he probably wouldn’t have recognized) he was right: The images he produced have this weird grotesquely unselfconscious power to them. And though their goal was scientific illustration, some of them stray quite far from anything we would recognize as such.

Google images is a good place to start if you’d like to see more of his work… Though the National Media Museum has a pretty good set of them too.

Fischli and Weiss

Friday, October 1st, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

Speaking of Arles, the artist duo of Peter Fischli and David Weiss had an exhibition at this past edition that was, in my mind, the highlight of the event. I’ve got nothing to add on this today except to point you towards ‘The Way Things Go,’ the 1987 short film that records a series of casually assembled objects functioning as a Rube Goldberg machine.

Check it out the rest on 01 Magazine’s blog.