jonathan tan
is a photographer

Warp & weft is an ongoing series of artist collaborations that starts with the desire to challenge the rituals of documentary photography by raising questions about authorship and the photographer's gaze. Using the method of photovoice as a starting point, as developed by public health researchers Caroline C. Wang and Mary Ann Burris, the work contemplates the artist's role as both a subject and collaborator, placing subject intervention at the core of its inquiry.

The artist(s) are invited to intervene in any stage of the process, from conceptualising, photography, editing to installation blurring the boundaries of authorship in the work. The gaze of the photographer is returned by the gaze of the subject, and conversely so, which results in a chimeric and Janus-faced expressions.  

In Jean-Pierre Rehm's essay the ’The Plays of Witnesses’ he discusses how documentaries often disguise themselves as reality, unaware that they "merely possess opacity and depth, serving as objects of study, documents among documents, forming part of an interpretive process that enables the viewer's political freedom." By subjecting gaze upon gaze, the notion of authorship becomes fluid, thereby challenging the viewer's perspective.

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