Ozymandias

Since 2006, we have photographed and produced acoustic recordings of crowds and individual tourists while portraying themselves through photography in historical locations (nowadays known as “tourist attractions”) around Europe. From Stonehenge to Auschwitz and Sarajevo to Seville, we have built a collection of images of what we see as “the process of visual digitalization of military history alongside family holidays”. The versatility of digital photography plus the affordability of budget flights have resulted in a booming industry of last minute short breaks and holidays. This phenomenon often features a “visit and photograph as much as possible in the shortest period of time” approach. In most cases, such an approach sections and diminishes the real historic and cultural value of these sites. Such behavior endows these scenes new significance and makes us contemplate and question the real legacy of the processes and players throughout history.
The project is inspired by the poem sonnet “Ozymandias” by the romantic writer P.Shelley, who relates directly to the representations of icons from bygone empires.
This photo series illustrates the weak communication of history to the general public and the decay of the legacy of its historical sites in modern-day Europe. We address and portray this issue both visually and acoustically with “landscape-like” aesthetics and live crowd recordings. We use photography software to recreate the process of documentation which is simultaneously being carried out by the tourist. Streams and halos of light have been introduced to the B&W photographs in order to illustrate the actions of the sightseer in historical places. Additional slideshows of color photographs, documenting objects forgotten by the visitors “in situ”, are accompanied with sound effects and multiple channel work implemented on the recordings.

In collaboration with sound artist JARNO EEROLA