Building Giants is a play on words with building acting as both the ecological, physical structure, and as constructing, expanding, and developing. We use this to represent both the urban and emergent within urban photographic practices. TUPF is committed to giving a voice to critically informed photographers who may not have had their voices heard before.
We like to foster and encourage others in their photographic practice and feel that providing a space for emerging photographers’ voices to be heard will not only help them on their journeys but also allow them to become the new giants on whose shoulders future generations will stand on: TUPF aims to Build Local and Global Giants.
This year, TUPF had over 50 submissions for our call for works. Entries came in from all over the globe including: United Kingdom, South Korea, Mexico, United States, Belgium, Sweden, France, Hong Kong, Italy, and the Netherlands. Of course we also had entries from Canada, including Montréal, Quebec; Vancouver, B.C.; and right here in Toronto.
Our building giants are chosen through a vigorous selection process, with 13 people internal to and external to the festival on the jury. Works are judged on their artistic merit (both technical and conceptual), the writeup and both the images’ and writeups’ cohesion and connection to the years’ theme. Selecting winners was a difficult task, with many excellent works just missing the threshold to be included in this exhibition.
However, we feel that the chosen submissions beautifully exemplify the Urban Playground theme. These photographers and visual urbanists are well on their way to becoming giants of visual urbanism. We look forward to seeing more from them in the future.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Overheard is a film about voices, thoughts, and human lives. It is a combination of things taken from everyday life intermixed with things imagined. The voices running throughout the film are the voices of a collective conscience living in a large, yet congested, urban space. Everything said here is from conversations that I have overheard and collected throughout Toronto.
I am interested in the habitual and mundane aspects of everyday life and I am also fascinated by the dynamics of personal relationships within the city. My intention is to focus on a variety of voices and a variety of topics. They are speaking of similar themes, yet they do not seem to be speaking to each other. This is a reflection on how we must all have similar thoughts, dreams, and fears, yet very often they are difficult to communicate, especially between strangers.
Another aspect of this project is the fictitious narrative that arises out of real conversations. The original recordings of the conversations went through multiple levels of interpretation as the project progressed. As the audio was re-recorded, cut up, remixed, and played over images, a new story was created far different from the original source. The end product is ultimately a place where my imagination manifests—my projection of what life in this city is about. My own questions are reflected in a collective search for purpose and connection.
London, United Kingdom / Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Buildering—climbing on man-made structures—is the wilful misuse of the built environment and the appropriation of urban space for autotelic, potentially subversive purposes. It deploys embodied praxis that inadvertently establishes alternative understandings of architecture.
As we climb, vertical paths briefly enter into existence. Individuals invest meaning in urban features that would otherwise go unnoticed and untouched. Brick edges become crimps and drainpipes become laybacks. The new, temporary value of these features creates opportunities for movement and exploration that do not conform to structures’ intended purposes. The climber tunes in to his/her environment, creating a connection with the geometries, surfaces and textures, while learning how to react differently according to seemingly random factors such as weather conditions, atrophy, regeneration, and his/her own physical and mental readiness. By choosing routes that require a high level of skill and demand a dialogue with fear, climbers perform edgework, exploring not only the city but also the limits of one’s mental and physical ability.
The photograph is almost a self-portrait, a process of close collaboration with me as photographer whereby the climber enacts a preconceived vision of their physical capacity and mastery over their environment. The image then becomes a means of reliving and reinvesting in that moment of achievement, allowing the climber to see him/herself as he/she is seen by others—a process of exteriorisation that contributes to a Foucauldian technology of the self.
As cities grow, it can seem that the availability of sites for nonregulated activities is continually reduced. Countering this marginalisation and subverting dominant spatial narratives, buildering briefly appropriates urban space, playfully bringing into question concepts of normative behaviour. It offers the opportunity to liberate the body and gives freedom to an individual through movement, self-expression and play.