In 2012, I started a series of photographs and captions that continue my examination of our social interactions with each other and our relationship to an urban environment. This work was shown at the Nitra Gallery’s Bunker Space, which is a special project space in a cold war bunker situated in the center of Nitra, Slovakia. Sideswiped Tomorrows is about the hope that exists in pockets of time. Interestingly, the Bunker Space, itself became a key metaphor for the exhibition; what was once created for the negative impact of nuclear war has now been transitioned into an art gallery to celebrate ideas and culture. Captions accompany each photograph examining the concept of a “sideswiped tomorrow” or a transition to hope. The captions used to construct the fictional narratives have been written from my notes during people watching and observing human interaction. These artificial narratives are an attempt to blur the distinction between reality and fiction for the viewer.
Sideswiped Tomorrows – Exhibition
Did it ever happen to you that you watched people in the streets wondering where they are going, how do they feel, what troubles or delights their minds? But maybe it was you who was being observed by someone with similar thoughts crossing his or her mind. Maybe it was even Robert Waldeck, the Canadian artist who exhibits his latest project Sideswiped Tomorrows at the Bunker exhibition space in the Nitra Gallery.
Casual encounters with people, objects or accidental situations, sometimes lasting only a fraction of a second, may evoke various emotions and can leave a lasting impact on our spirit. Sometimes these encounters fill us with optimism and transform our own doubts or despairs into hope. The exhibition examines ways in which we consciously or unconsciously seek and find hope and happiness in brief pockets of time, which we usually don’t realize until later.
The exhibition presents a series of photographs of random people on the streets of different cities around the world in the style of street photography, a genre in which a photographer captures unique situations and anonymous figures in public places, mostly without the people knowing about it. Waldeck adds to these interesting snapshots captions in which he tries to construct personal stories of the photographed strangers. These poetic micro-stories, or fictional narratives drawn from daily situations, form a duality between negative and positive scenarios of a transition to hope and a positive change of the perspective on life itself.
The photographs presented at the Bunker are accompanied by a short video titled Wayfaring, showing the artist’s point of view as he was walking and searching for subjects to photograph, thus giving a glimpse into possible choices and momentary decisions made during random encounters with the strangers and revealing the artist’s inspirations.