A reading room by the JOJO Library
for Indian Photo Festival 2020
We invite you to put on your headphones, adjust your volume and immerse yourself in reading with this soundscape.
David Campany / A Handful of Dust
"....And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. "
- T.S Eliot , The Wasteland
A Handful of Dust is David Campany’s speculative history of the last century, and a visual journey through some of its unlikeliest imagery. Let’s suppose the modern era begins in October of 1922. A little French avant-garde journal publishes a photograph of a sheet of glass covered in dust. The photographer is Man Ray, the glass is by Marcel Duchamp.
At first they called it a view from an aeroplane. Then they called it Dust Breeding.
It’s abstract, it’s realist. It’s an artwork, it’s a document. It’s revolting and compelling. Cameras must be kept away from dust but they find it highly photogenic. At the same time, a little English journal publishes TS Eliot’s poem The Waste Land. “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
And what if dust is really the key to the intervening years? Why do we dislike it? Is it cosmic? We are stardust, after all. Is it domestic? Inevitable and unruly, dust is the enemy of the modern order, its repressed other, its nemesis. But it has a story to tell from the other side.
Campany’s connections range far and wide, from aerial reconnaisance and the American dustbowl to Mussolini’s final car journey and the wars in Iraq. A Handful of Dust accompanied Campany’s exhibition of the same name, curated for Le Bal, Paris (16 October 2015 – 17 January 2016), with works by Man Ray, John Divola, Sophie Ristelhueber, Mona Kuhn, Gerhard Richter, Xavier Ribas, Nick Waplington, Jeff Wall and many others, alongside anonymous press photos, postcards, magazine spreads and movies.
About the Author
David Campany is a curator, writer, and Managing Director of Programs at the International Center of Photography, New York.
Renowned for his engaging and rigorous writing, exhibitions and public speaking, David has worked worldwide with institutions including MoMA New York, Tate, Whitechapel Gallery London, Centre Pompidou, Le Bal Paris, Stedelijk Museum, The Photographer’s Gallery London, ParisPhoto, PhotoLondon, The National Portrait Gallery London, Aperture, Steidl, MIT Press, Thames & Hudson, MACK and Frieze.
In 2020 he curated the three-city Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie 2020 – The Lives and Loves of Images (Mannheim/Ludwigshafen/Heidelberg, Germany)
David’s many books include On Photographs (2020), So Present, So Invisible – conversations on photography(2018), A Handful of Dust (2015), The Open Road: photography and the American road trip (2014), Walker Evans: the magazine work (2014), Gasoline (2013), Jeff Wall: Picture for Women (2010), Photography and Cinema (2008) and Art and Photography (2003). He has written over two hundred essays for monographs and museums. He contributes to Frieze, Aperture, Source and Tate magazines.
David has a Phd. For his writing, he has received the ICP Infinity Award, the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award, the Alice Award, a Deutscher Fotobuchpreis, and the Royal Photographic Society award.
About the Publisher
MACK is an independent publisher of award-winning books on visual arts, working with the world’s leading artists, writers, curators and cultural institutions.
Established in London in 2010, founder Michael Mack wanted to create a publishing house that connects new and established authors to a wider audience in beautifully designed editions. Rooted primarily in photography books, the publishing has expanded into art, literature and critical studies, working with some of the world’s most pioneering creative minds and institutions.
For more information or to purchase a copy online, please visit https://mackbooks.co.uk
Book video produced by Michas Vanni
Post Production by Aditya Tawate
All reproductions are used with the permissions of the author and/or publisher.