Dial Emma

Jonathan's Art Dilemma No. 17: What are exhibitions for?

Monday, 18 October 2010

Al Pitchers Picture Show

Brighton is festival/biennial addicted. The city centre is awash with dueling festivals. One week it’s sacred music, the next an urban film festival. More often than not there is an overlap. This weekend was the turn of the Brighton Comedy Festival. Not my thing comedy routines. I’d heard about Al Pitcher from a photographer friend but not experienced a show.
Al arrives in a town in the morning, wanders around, snaps photographs of what he thinks is visually awkward, will raise a smile or create a conversation. In the evening he presents his slide show to a local audience asking them to explain, using their particular knowledge, what is going on in a photo. Sharing the absurdity of a street name, or a kitsch juxtaposition. Pitcher highlights titbits of the everyday, pointing out the obvious, he eggs the audience into taking responsibility for cringe making accidents, then rips the shit out of them. 
No hecklers, everyone was arguing, laughing and becoming involved; trying to explain the pictures or a local custom to an innocent outsider. A fine conceit. It was anthropology in action.

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