Meet The Lecturer: Lisa Barnard, Associate Professor in Photography

Lisa Barnard (reszied 2)

MA Photography with Critical Theory
BA Photography
Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society FRPS

Lisa Barnard’s photographic and film practice is placed in the genre of contemporary documentary. Her work discusses real events, embracing complex visual strategies that utilise both traditional documentary techniques with more contemporary forms of representation. Barnard connects her interest in aesthetics, current photographic debates around materiality and the existing political climate. Of particular interest to her is the relationship between the military industrial complex, new technology, and the psychological implication of conflict. Barnard receives regular funding, exhibits frequently both nationally and internationally, and has portfolios of her work featured in contemporary photographic publications. She is Senior Lecturer on BA Documentary Photography at The University of South Wales. Chateau Despair was published by GOST in 2013. Her latest book Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden was published by GOST in 2015.

In 2015 Barnard was awarded a new Grant of $15,000 from Getty Images to complete a new body of Work published by MACK Title: The Canary and the Hammer

I have been teaching in Higher and Further Education for over 10 years and during that time have been continuing with my own practice. I regularly exhibit and publish and work with students both nationally and internationally. I regularly attend symposiums and lectures and am up to date in all aspects of social media and new photographic and aesthetic concerns.

Senior Lecturer and Third year responsibility including Professional Practice programming.

Chateau Despair:

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: GOST Books; 1st edition (31 Oct 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0957427204
ISBN-13: 978-0957427204
Product Dimensions: 22.9 × 16.5 × 1.5 cm

Limited edition of 500 copies 220×160 mm 96 pages printed four colour Hardback – silkscreened and foil stamped cloth Essays by Jeremy Till and Sarah James 32 Smith Square was Conservative Central Office from 1958 to 2004.The building is synonymous with Margaret Thatcher smiling and waving out of the window on the 2nd floor after winning the elections of 1979, 1983 and 1987. However, by 2004 the building became known as ‘Chateau Despair’ to its inhabitants, prior to the Conservatives’ move to Victoria Street. They left behind a mausoleum containing nearly 50 years of their political history, etched on its surfaces and discarded in its corners. This new books features previously unseen photographs of the interior documenting the dulled shades of corporate blue, stained carpets, peeling paintwork and discarded iconography of past alliances. Carefully choreographed portraits of a smiling Thatcher, unearthed in an old cupboard, punctuate the book, jarring with the shabby interior. The book also includes photographs of the objects, or remnants, Barnard found in the building including a blue rosette, an internal envelope, an ornate silver spoon, a balloon and a strip of film negative. Barnard’s project offers an archaeology of the period of Thatcher’s reign from 1979 to 1990, and an autopsy of the theatre and props which helped direct and shape Tory campaigns as they led Britain into an age of banking, individualism and the freemarket that has defined politics and reconfigured culture since the 1960s. … Welcome to Chateau Despair… Do you believe in Britain?

Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden.

Limited edition of 750 copies
216mm x 280mm
192 pages
ISBN 978-0-9574272-9-7

Essays by Julian Stallabrass and Eugénie Shinkle

Due to the scale of the book, shipping costs for this item are increased from our usual rate.

Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden, is a study into the ‘unholy alliance’ between the military, the entertainment industry and technology, and their coalescence around modern-day warfare. As Fredric Jameson famously observed in 1991 “the underside of culture is blood, torture, death and horror.”

Barnard’s publication explores the complex relationship between these apparently divergent arenas and how the screen is pivotal to the emergence and ongoing development in the relationship between war, media and industry as they relate to the virtual and the real.

Shifting from screen to landscape and incorporating imagery from disparate yet indelibly connected areas: from Las Vegas to Pakistan, Waziristan to Hollywood (via Washington), this new work questions photojournalism’s ‘truth claims’ and the indecipherable, all-consuming nature of the industrial-military complex.

The ‘machines in the garden’ denote the dialectical tension between the American pastoral ideal and machine technology. The ‘hyenas of the battlefield’ are the technological-driven corporations that keep the US soldiers ‘in the loop’, but off the ground.

This is the goal of the US administration: a model of warfare where no more American soldiers die on the battlefield.

Everything that is included in the publication has been researched, filmed and photographed by Lisa Barnard. The interviews with the military Clinical Psychologists and the US Air Force pilots were recorded in person and all the images are taken in either the USA or Pakistan.

This publication was made possible by the Albert Renger-Patzsch Award 2012 through the Dietrich-Oppenberg-Foundation, Essen.

The Canary and The Hammer published by MACK.
Silkscreened hardcover with Japanese paper
200 pages, 20 × 29 cm
ISBN 978-1-912339-33-4
September 2019

Photographed across four years and four continents, The Canary and The Hammer details our reverence for gold and its role in humanity’s ruthless pursuit of progress. Through a mix of image, text and archival material, the third book by British artist Lisa Barnard provides a fascinating insight into the troubled history of gold and the complex ways it intersects with the global economy.

Gold is ubiquitous in modern life; the mineral is concealed at the heart of much of the technology we use and is, most fundamentally, a potent symbol of value, beauty, purity, greed and political power. The Canary and The Hammer strives to connect these disparate stories—from the mania of the gold rush and the brutal world of modern mining, to the sexual politics of the industry and gold’s often dark but indispensable role at the heart of high-tech industry.

Prompted by the financial crisis of 2008 and its stark reminder of the global west’s determination to accumulate wealth, Barnard sets out to question gold’s continued status as economic barometer amidst new intangible forms of technological high—finance. By addressing this through photography, Barnard in turn raises the question of how her chosen medium can respond to such abstract events and concepts. The result is an ambitious project, one sketching a personal journey in which she ultimately tackles the complexity of material representation in these fragmented and troubling times.

Member of the APHE.
Fellow of the Royal Photographic society

I have started two new a bodies of work that are running concurrently. The first is a project that is a direct response to the financial crisis of 2008 and is a desire to connect particular interests, that of global capitalism, technology and conflict and increasingly the role that women have within this arena. In its entirety it will investigate how Gold, with its versatile and unique properties, has become an indispensible component within engineering and electronic industries and how its application as a key nanomaterial is beginning to offer new solutions to a range of global health and environmental challenges. Each topic of investigation or series will focus on a particular aspect of the extraction, use and dissemination of Gold with a focus on the UK and North and South America and the desire of these countries to ‘claim’ territory through exploration and the inevitable conflict that ensued. A series considered thus far is the creation of photographic ‘Orotones’ (glass positives with gold leaf on the reverse) of women miners in Peru and the growing number of female workers who help extract Gold, not only from the ground but from the myriad of devices such as mobile phones and remotes that are discarded by members of society everyday. Many people over the course of history have been drawn to Gold, from the early Spanish pioneers in South America, the colonisation of North America instigated by James 1st at a time of financial crisis that led to the well known marriage of John Rolf and Pocahontas in 1617 and of course the ‘Gold Rush’ both in its historical and contemporary forms. For there is in us all a desire to own gold, because of its beauty, its glittering return, its ability to shine in the darkest of days. But our relationship with it in the current global market place is now an act of faith. This act of faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Photography and hidden data can substantiate the relationship between hegemony and the unique metal. We are surrounded by Gold everyday, concealed in the technology we use – Gold wires the internet, it protects the unseen and is pivotal to the success of many technologies we take for granted, such as the iphone. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) developed by NASA is due to be launched in 2018 and will search for the first galaxies that formed in the early universe. The telescope’s 18 hexagonal mirror segments have been covered with a microscopically-thin gold coating, making use of the metal’s properties as an efficient reflector of infrared light. The telescope is the most recent visual and technological development and will supersede the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph (UVC), photographed by myself at NASA earlier this year (also coated in Gold), one of the experiments deployed on the lunar surface by the Apollo 16 astronauts in 1972. This project will provide an innovative and complex view of a familiar topic and further our knowledge on the relationship we have with conflict and technology. This project is funded by an award that I received from Getty Images of $15,000. The Prestige Grant is a new award to support a photographer in the completion of a new body of work. The second project and area of research for me is a collection housed at Yale University of the Osama Bin Laden Tapes. This project will be a joint project with Flagg Miller, the professor of religious studies at UC Davis. We will be developing a photography and text project book/exhibition/digital platform focusing on a unique collection of over 1,500 audio recordings, accompanying cassette jackets, and video artifacts that were deposited in Osama bin Laden’s former residence in Kandahar Afghanistan and acquired by CNN in 2002. The collection is currently housed at Yale University. To date, Flagg has been the only researcher conducting work on the archive; he has a book about the tapes published by Oxford UP called The Audacious Ascetic. Absent from his book is any investigation of the visual dimensions of the tape collection, most important among them roughly sixty cassette jackets, as well as approximately 60 video tapes that were acquired by CNN from Kandahar at the same time and that are currently housed at Williams College. None of this material has been studied by anyone to date. Flagg and I have only begun discussing what a collaborative monograph would involve. Given his and my combined expertise, we are envisioning both a digital and analogue project that would involve images, audio, and video as well as an exhibition that would travel and be hosted by museums and other institutions. Central to the project would be a consideration of the ways images work in relation to audio material in this collection – both for its original producers and audiences, with attention to Islam and the dynamics of media culture in the larger Arabic-speaking world, as well as for global audiences in the wake of 9/11 and through today. The work will detail how Islamic cultural, legal, theological and linguistic vocabularies have shaped militants’ understandings of Al-Qaeda, and, more controversially, challenges the notion that the group’s original adversary was America and the ‘far enemy.’

@docphotNewport and @lisacbarnard