CO-OP Insights: Der Greif

by Unseen July 14 2017

As Unseen Amsterdam 2017 draws closer, we are more than delighted to introduce our brand new programme element CO-OP. Gathering thirteen artist collectives, this dynamic space encourages collaboration by presenting pioneering artworks from various projects around the world. The space also hosts an environment to experiment with new commercial formats. In this weekly feature, Unseen is pleased to host CO-OP Insights, a series of interviews where you can meet and find out more about the collectives we will present.

This week we are delighted to introduce you to the work of Der Greif, a magazine, online-publication, curatorial team and joint project that combines and presents the works of photographers and authors from different origins in a holistic piece of art. Since its inception in 2008, the project is involved with contemporary issues such as the changing perception of authorship, the contextualisation and appropriation of images, artistic approaches to photographic archives and the rise of the remix culture.

What is the main reason you formed the collective?
We are all connected by a deep interest in photography and together we’ve searched for new ways to explore collaborative working approaches within this sphere. We are particularly interested in the possibilities and limitations that the internet provides. We want to understand more about how images are produced, distributed and perceived today – in print, on screens and in exhibitions. 

from the Remix Performance at C:O Berlin Bookdays, 2016 © DER GREIF .jpgFrom the Remix Performance at C/O Berlin Bookdays, 2016 © DER GREIF 

What sets you apart from other collectives?
The internet enables us to collaborate internationally with huge numbers of photographers and authors who coordinate, curate and conceive our various projects remotely. The content on our website is based on a concept one could call curated crowd-sourcing. We receive submissions and work through open calls from practitioners with a broad range of experience, technical ability, intention and approach. Our aim is to find and nurture some form of common ground or tension between these different practices without our position being defined by acts of comparison. Often this means decontextualising the images we receive in order to discover new ways of looking at the work. The participating artists give us their trust for the print-publication and step back from controlling the way their work is presented. The different activities happening on and offline are always intertwined in order to understand the different dynamics of the physical and the virtual space. It also enables us to open-up our projects to a much broader audience. We see every participating photographer as a part of our collective.

Justine Tjallinks - 3 - DerGreif 3 2500 JustineTjallinks.jpgJeweled, 2016  © Justine Tjallinks

Could you give us some insight into what you have in store for Unseen CO-OP 2017? 
For our space at Unseen CO-OP 2017, we plan to bring this thread of images into a physical space, making it accessible for the audience to interact with images that are removed from the grid for the duration of Unseen Amsterdam. The project, Thread Count, combines a curatorial and performative practice with a photographic one. Taking our upcoming jubilee issue #10 (out July 2017) as the starting point for the idea, we will make a selection of 25 photographers shown in the magazine and ask them to invite a photographer of their choice to submit an image that reacts to theirs. This will begin a chain where each photographer responds to the previous photograph shown. This encourages photographers to interact with one another and allows the audience to visualise a dynamic network of image threads. A juxtaposition will be created between the virtual space where the image threads are produced and the physical space where the collection of images are displayed.