Selected by Fujifilm
"Forever questioning the world around them, The Cool Couple consider the place of photographic paper today in their latest project for the Fujifilm Faculty."
Unseen Platform: How did the research process begin on this new project for Fujifilm?
The Cool Couple: Fujifilm posed a few guiding questions concerning photo paper, which each intersect with our practice in different ways. The idea of photographs as objects has always represented an important element of our practice. Questions such as “when does it make sense to print a photograph?“ or “how does a printed object interact with our digital and multi-screen environments?” always come into play when we’re developing new work. Other ideas we found particularly interesting in relation to our current research included the life cycle of a paper-based image, the durability of paper, and more generally, the idea that photographs will outlive us.
Your research has led to a new body of work – exhibited at Unseen Amsterdam 2018 – called the Fujifilm Faculty. What does the exhibition ultimately explore?
On the one hand, the installation reflects on the place of photographic paper today, whilst on the other, it questions our relationship with memory at a time when devices and algorithms remember on our behalf. Socrates – a great defender of the spoken word – was afraid that people would lose their memory through writing because it relieved them of the need to remember. Just as we continue to learn texts by heart, we continue to uphold the materiality of photography. With this in mind, a number of the photographs in the installation depict ancient images etched into caves that long outlived their creators. This all ties in with the inspiration we drew from our visits to Fujifilm premises, where we really saw memories being born in the form of photographic prints.
What is it that you enjoy about the experience of working on assignment?
The most exciting thing when you get a commission is the challenge it represents. We like working with some form of limitation – it’s like a gym for the mind. We also appreciate the implied dialogue within this type of assignment; there are always questions, concerns and expectations on both sides, and you’re keen to share ideas because the best results derive from a sense of collective effort.
Working as a duo, how do you go about dividing your roles?
Usually, we work without any sense of hierarchy or specialisation; we are both involved with everything and we share the tasks equally. If we do divide tasks, it’s usually to save time!