It all comes back to land, and our relationships to it. My art practice is rooted in a deep questioning of site/sight: shifting the view from a passive landscape to an active living one with sentience and its own stories. Using analog film cameras and multidisciplinary research, I have spent over a decade stretching and reflecting my understanding of the underlying forces that give spaces their form: from the spirits beneath to the ongoing consolidations of colonialism and globalised capital.
For this residency with Allowing Many Forms, we took the opportunity to explore images that were outside of the strong political themes that generally direct my work. By opening up my archives, I searched for imagery that didn’t fit in my other projects, images that have always fascinated me by their uncanny looseness, their essential lack of clarity. We pushed this further by heavily cropping and stretching the boundaries of legibility through experimental printing processes. In doing so, it allowed us to lean into an emotive and subconscious side of things, a much needed move to process a tumultuous time in my life.
Red Rotkopf (b. 1994) is a visual artist and investigative researcher working primarily with photography as a tool for approaching the complex worlds within and around him. Born and raised in London, of Mexican-American and French-Tunisian descent, he grew up across languages, continents and cultures, leading him to confront globalised systems of power from a transnational perspective.
From this interwoven experience, Red travelled extensively as an artist/photojournalist with the Metabolic Studio: an environmental arts organisation which focuses on regenerative projects at a communal and infrastructural scale. Based at the time between Los Angeles (Tongva territory) and Lone Pine (Nüümü territory), he worked within the Optics Division, a collaborative analog photography practice, where he produced the Crisis Archive: a roving reflection of the socio-environmental crises and popular uprisings of 2016 - 2021 across the Americas. Bridging sites linked by extractivism, settler colonialism, indigenous resistance, climate change and migration: from Standing Rock to the migrant caravans in Mexico and wildfires in California to water wars in Bolivia
Balancing this subject-heavy approach with a fascination with creating more intuitive objects, Red’s practice has been tied to the darkroom since he began making photographs: experimenting with alternative processes and unorthodox reprographic techniques in order to push image degradation and reveal a more experiential and spiritually aligned relationship to the world.
He is currently living in London, working on his first monograph with Allowing Many Forms called ‘Wind in the Cage’, to be released in fall 2023 and on an ongoing investigative landscape project confronting settler-colonial histories and resistance in California named: ‘How the West was Won’.