Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Deja Hou: Purple Time Space Swamp

Dean Liscum

On January 11th, galleryHomeland held "Homeland Soup", which served as the awards ceremony for the Charge Practicum Grants. Attendees paid $5-$10 for soup, entertainment by Daniel and the Thunder Heads, the presentation of the Charge Grants, and a chance to vote on the first recipient of the Homeland Soup grant.

The proceeds from the dinner funded the Homeland Soup grant. Contenders for the soup grant were
The winner was Mr. Boncy with Purple Time Space Swamp, which is an ongoing collection of digital photographs of the vast sprawl that we call Houston, that is Houston proper and it's many parasitic suburbs. 

Boncy and his posse, which may or may not consist of more than himself (learn more about Boncy in Hungry Ghost Collective's interview of him), publish an average of 50 photographs a month on PTSS's tumblr site. The photos are NOT copyrighted and are free to the public. 

I've lived in Houston for a while and browsing PTSS's photos feels like an exercise in my own personal cultural anthropology, If you've lived in Houston for any length of time and navigated any of Houston's wards and its many suburbs, you'll almost certainly experience an extended bout of deja vu. Although his method for shot selection is unclear (other than photographing Houston), the artistry of them is not. PTSS is not a selfie-diot's collection pushed to tumblr. These photos are well executed.  Each photo is the result of an awareness of light and composition while being willing to accept the bland utilitarianism that comprises so much of Houston's architecture: from strip mall to suburban street to midtown make over.

In other words (Robert Boyd's to be exact), PTSS is an ironic homage to "a soul-crushing blandness that typifies Houston...a drab matter-of-fact-ness that might make some viewers crave the bullet." But it's also a thoughtful, sober introspection of the city. One experiences it as a self-analysis that's not good or bad, but rather honest and unblinking.

Here are a few examples...

Boncy will use the Homeland Soup grant to fund the next phase of the project, print-on-demand (POD) collections of the PTSS photos. In my opinion, it will be money well spent.

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