Every Tuesday afternoon, The Curator is showcasing an individual artist recognized for their unique voice, ideas and process. Once a month, a featured artist will be selected by Rebecca Locke, a New York City-based artist and curator, who develops collaborative and artist-led projects.
Steeped in the tradition of the flâneur—one who walks to discover the city—David Kendall’s practice is defined by process rather than content, style or medium. His photographic series, video art and site-specific art projects are determined by these discoveries. They define his focus and frame a discourse about ‘the city’. The work asks how we engage with urban space, make sense of the city, and it highlights how walking through the city, a place of density of people groups and cultures, allows a glimpse into the lives of others. Kendall encapsulates his rationale through the declarative title Always Let the Road Decide, an ongoing series exploring the developing built environment of Dubai, UAE exploring the movement of migrant workers across a city where walking is discouraged.
Kendall, traversing the urban environment (urban in this context defined as a densely populated area) draws attention to the hidden or forgotten. The series What is there will be there tomorrow, highlights the long working hours of migrant workers, with limited rights, not welcome in the public eye, who find a moment of rest from the extreme desert heat in the hidden corners and spaces of the city.
The series Gone but not Forgotten experiments with visibility, perception of the city and it’s people and places. Through Paris 19 / Mobility, Memory and Migration, a collaborative project with OpenVizor’s Abbas Nokhasteh, Moustafa Traoré and Andrés Borda-González, Kendall worked with French citizens of West and North African descent who had been excluded from the narrative history of Paris. The project encouraged participation from local people from this low-income area to generate a new inclusive narrative of Paris, defining stories and space, assembling oral histories and film narratives like ‘Paris 19: Mobility, Memory and Migration.’
Through such, the work engaged with issues of assimilation, integration, citizenship and migration in France. Kendall’s work formed the basis of Photography and the Practice of Walking, a symposium hosted by Goldsmith’s Art School and the Center of Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, and University College London’s Learning to Walk panel at the Cities Methodologies Urban Laboratory, and can be listened to here.
David Kendall lives and works in London, UK. His practice utilizes visual archives, mapping, events and human experiences to inspire and generate his photographic, film and site-specific projects. He is a graduate of LCC, University of the Arts London, and Goldsmiths, University of London, where he studied urban photography, design and sociology. His photographs, spatial research and collaborative projects have featured in exhibitions, festivals and symposia at museums and academic institutions, including the British Library, London, UK; ETNOFilm, Ethnographic Museum of Istria, Rovinj, Croatia; Centro Cultural Manuel Gómez Morín, Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico; and Tate Britain, London, UK. Kendall is a visiting research fellow with the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.
David Kendall explores how spatial, economic and design initiatives, as well as participatory practices, can combine to encourage social and spatial interconnections or reveal dissonance in cities. His photographic, film and site-specific works are generated through the practice of walking, experiential learning and reflection. Therefore, ‘temporality’ is an important structural component in practice development. In investigating the dichotomy of the seen and the unseen he aims to question notions of ocular transparency in geographical environments. Furthermore, Kendall is attracted to thresholds between private and public spaces, inside and outside cities.
His individual and collaborative projects combine photography with sensory techniques such as sound, touch and smell to ‘map’ urban and architectural environments. These works consider how collective memories form and influence contemporary visual and spatial realities and pictorial archives, and utilize audio-visual participatory processes and architectural spaces to trigger collective or public memory, thus activating new discourse about migration, spatial division, planning processes, social conflict and cohesion in world cities.
More of David Kendall’s work can be seen here: www.david-kendall.co.uk