Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan selected as Feature Exhibition at Scotiabank Toronto Contact Photography Festival


An ANA soldier attached to 1/8 searching for cell phone signal. 2011-01-29–Shir Ghazay Patrol Base, Landay Nawah County, Afghanistan. 1st Battalion 8th Marines Bravo Company 3rd Platoon.

Rita Leistner, Afghanistan , 2011, © Rita Leistner / Basetrack

Photographs made on an iPhone during a military embed in Afghanistan are the jumping-off point in this journey of process and discovery about communication, photography, technology, and war. High-tech meets low-tech in the battlefields of Afghanistan and in the printing method itself: digital captures from a smartphone are printed with the time-honoured 19th-century technique made famous by Edward Steichen. Photographer Rita Leistner joins with master printer Bob Carnie to create painterly and highly archival three-colour gum bichromate on platinum prints mounted on aluminum. Leistner used the retro Hipstamatic app—with its shutter lag and slowed down processing—to focus on calm or motionless “artifactual” elements in the scene: the Hindu Kush mountains viewed through the portal of a colonial ruin; a torn curtain hanging from a tent-like structure in a deserted campground; a warning sign handwritten by the Taliban in a hybrid Pashto script. Text panels from Leistner’s book, Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan, co-designed with Jenny Armour, are also on display. The result is a portrayal of war that differs in form and content from the usual media currency—shedding light on old and new technologies, on a failed war, and on human connection. Curated by Rita Leistner

Dates: April 15–May 13

Location: Dylan Ellis Gallery, 1840 Danforth Ave, Toronto M4C 1H8

 Times: Mon–Fri, 9–5pm, Sat–Sun, 10–4pm
Telephone: 416 778 6969
Related Events: Artist Talk – Rita Leistner – Dylan Ellis Gallery – April 30, 6:30 pm
Download a PDF page describing this exhibition from here rita-leistner-exhibitioncard-0415

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