For several years Alice Myers has been developing a highly nuanced and socially engaged practice. She’ll be showing at the Dalston Boy’s Club as part of the festival on friday.
To begin, please tell us a little about your work.
‘Waits for no Man’ is the first stage of a long-term project based in Calais, the French port closest to the coast of the United Kingdom. I’ve been visiting Calais for over a year, getting to know people who are hiding in lorries most nights as they try to cross the border. Also people who make a living helping them to cross, people who are homeless while seeking asylum in France, and people who have no status and no plans to leave Calais. Refugees and migrants are often expected to give a full disclosure, of both their identity and their ‘story’. A complete and satisfying narrative is required to justify their presence in Europe. I’m interested in the negotiation that takes place when I photograph and interview people, in what they choose to disclose or hold back, and my subsequent choice of what to show the viewer. By including input from the people I photograph, I hope to create a more complex picture of an urgent political situation.
What pictures do you have pinned up above your desk or in your studio that inspire you?
Most recently a Rembrandt self portrait.
Talk us through a little bit of your daily routines. What are you upto at the moment and how is this shaping the work that you make?
At the moment I’m intensely editing for the next stage of the project, which is due in November for my MA exhibition. Because I work quite spontaneously and allow many unexpected things to happen the editing process takes a long time. I’m enjoying staying inside listening to the rain and staring at photographs.
Whilst your work is rooted in photography, what is your relationship to other mediums, be they painting, video or literature?
Literature has shaped my view of the world. I enjoy looking at paintings more than almost anything else. I get a lot of inspiration from painters. Most recently I found Peter Doig’s exhibition in Edinburgh really inspiring.
How do you feel about projecting your work? Are you making any adaptations to fit this format? How would you normally present it?
This is the first piece I’ve made that involves both time and sound. I really enjoyed looking at my images in this way, viewing them in a set sequence and layering them on top of each other.
What is your relationship to ideas of storytelling? Are they important to you?
I love to hear people tell stories. I’m very interested in what stories we share with others and what we choose to tell. But I wouldn’t say that telling stories is the main focus of my work.
What would you hope that festivals such as Night Contact ultimately achieve?
I would hope that it will contribute to a wider variety of forums for experiencing art and photography, and for doing that with other people.
What else interests you besides photography?
I’m interested in community, and figuring out what that means. I also like to swim in the sea and I listen to too much American radio.
What is next for you?
Finish my Masters. Start work on a book.