The works in On the Line address a range of topics, spanning performance and the body, climate change, power, colonialism and identity, heritage, and territory. They originate from a common geography of the Americas, the multi-continental, multi-national landmass (and its archipelagos) spanning northern Canada to Southern Brazil. Collectively, they portray the complex and contested relationships humans have with notions of resources, environment, wilderness, nature, and place.
The “line” metaphor is an organizing principle as well as a reference to the precarity of the social and physical environment in this global moment: to be at serious risk, caught, captured—even following the path of a line can be treacherous. On the Line emphasizes that photography, in all its forms, delivers a special mandate to document as it also grapples with the deceptions and limitations of the photographic image.
The photo-based documentation of various artistic interventions featured in On the Line—the stills, the videos of ephemeral acts—suggest an expanded conception of photographic time, representation, and the document. The project thus positions these works as proposals for a new form of social documentary—or “concerned”—photography. Jointly, they offer an evocative expansion of the historical narrative of photography beyond familiar documentary methods, modalities, and attendant assumptions of objectivity toward a more honest, embodied, vulnerable, and up-to-date form of consciousness-raising expression. On the Line: Documents of Risk and Faith is co-curated by Makeda Best and Kevin Moore as part of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial: World Record.
On the Line features works by Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Mohamed Bourouissa, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Bárbara Foulkes, Mitch Epstein, Patricia Esquivias, Dara Friedman, Jim Goldberg, David Hammons and Dawoud Bey, Rashid Johnson, An-My Lê, Mary Mattingly, Paulo Nazareth, Wendy Red Star, Mauro Restiffe, Lordy Rodriguez, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Kevin Schmidt, Xaviera Simmons and Tania Willard.
Publisher: Gnomic Books