Tamara & Yoshi Kametani

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Plastic Spoon, 2010

Photography & Video, Dimensions Variable, Duration Variable

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The Plastic Spoon project has evolved from 4 years of interacting and building relationships with a few the residents in Muirhouse, one of the most deprived council schemes in the UK. The scheme, which is located on the outskirts of a city that – conversely – has the most millionaires per capita in the country, is known for its high unemployment rates and issues with drugs and violence. The title Plastic Spoon has multiple layers of meaning. The name came about one night when I was eating dinner with one of my friends from Muirhouse. I noticed his son eating his fried rice across from me with a plastic spoon. The majority of the time I ate with my friends from Muirhouse, we would be eating take out which came with plastic cutlery. Another layer that the plastic spoon signifies is the heroin culture that is deep rooted in this community. The most commonly used cutlery to prepare heroin is a spoon. And lastly to me the plastic spoon represents the working class. There is a saying "you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth" which means, you are born into a rich family. The way I see it, the plastic spoon is the opposite of the silver spoon.This project intertwines through an array of individuals, landscapes, objects, and domestic settings that communicate the feeling of isolation, alienation, and the eccentricity that is specific to Muirhouse. Spending a substantial amount of time with my subjects has inevitably affected the photographs, which led me to try and place the representation of my relationship with the subjects at the focus of the composition. The approach I utilized in the Plastic Spoon project is based around visual anthropological theories, aesthetics, and techniques in gathering and presenting visual information. The material I collect and organize to communicate my ideas comes in the form of photography, video, audio and found artifacts. I use this information as part of my visual vocabulary to tell stories that present themselves to me. The decision for applying the methods used in visual anthropology in my work was based on the duality of focus in its study. Visual anthropology concerns the use of visual material in anthropological research as well as the study of visual systems and visual culture. I believe it is imperative to consider these concepts when trying to communicate with visual information. Some may categorize my work as documentary, which I do not have any problems with but I do not wish the work to have any authoritative connotations that may attach itself to this genre. I want the viewers of my work to have the space to question the notion of the photograph as document along with how reality is represented within photographs. My work, which lay between fact and fiction, is purely a subjective representation of my experiences.

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