1. Tell us something about Pest Control and how was born.
I was living in London at the time I started creating the series. The first thing I noticed when I moved there was the abundance of anti-pigeon spikes all over the city and specifically in metro and train stations, telephone cabins, etc. I was mesmerized by the idea of what the spikes represented and how they permeate these public spaces in such a violent but at the same time invisible way. Highly influenced by the context that surrounds me, I got interested in the public relationship between us and others, the lines that separate us sometimes not in a physical way but in a psychological.
In the 1990s French sociologist, Marc Augé coined the concept of the “non-place” to define spaces lacking in identity where communication occurred more artificially. They were spaces such as hotels, airports or restaurants that, due to their transitory or ephemeral state, could not be regarded as “places”. With this idea as the point of departure and using collective fear and hysteria in a satirical fashion, the series creates a fictional representation of a city plagued by pigeon-repellent spikes. With this metaphor, the work takes us to the fractured relations of contemporaneity and the repulsion inspired by the media towards anything that seems different in terms of ideology, ethnic origin, religion or any other factor that might threaten our “peaceful” way of life. Pest Control sets out to reflect the loneliness and contradictions that make up the common backdrop to our times as part of the society of spectacle and represents, through it´s visual approach, the surrealist relation (or lack of it) that governs individuals, public spaces, and these “non-places”.
2. In what way you feel your project fits the Born The Same theme?
I think regardless of the place, culture and situation that we are born we all deep down have the same basic needs in terms of the human experience. My work deals with topics of solitude, disconnection and general hysteria for the other, which I think are concepts that coexist worldwide in today’s culture. I think the idea that we are all seeking the feeling of belonging regardless of our differences makes this topic a primary issue in today’s societies and makes us realize we are all in the same boat. That is my main purpose, to connect with this feeling of solitude and disconnection– which we are all familiar with– to create a spark of self-reflexion about how we are living today, what led us here and what can we change.
The project responds to my own need to address this topic in my personal life and to invite others to rethink their habits to create more consciousness into this invisible universal problematic of loneliness and into all the sequels the culture of achievement has brought upon our everyday life.
I think there is no bigger impact than creating self-awareness on topics like this. Is a way of being more conscious of this “system” that we are all part of and a way of rethinking it from the small perspective of our own daily lives and ideals.
4. What’s your opinion on video/multimedia versus still images in terms of visual impact and strength?
I think still images give a lot of more space to the viewer to complete the stories and to generate context into the image, which sometimes can be a very positive element. I personally like that aspect of the still images, so then you never give all the idea to the person. I guess it depends which topics you are addressing and how important is the urgency of delivering a message. Video has a more direct and clear impact as the information both visually and in sound is more complex and complete. I wouldn’t say there is one or other that has more strength as it depends on what a project actually needs and what would be best to spark a conversation with the viewer.
5. Did you produce the video yourself or did you collaborate with others?
I had the chance to experiment on the production of the video alone and then collaborate for the postproduction with a really close friend who has more of an idea of how to make things happen to finish a project, which was a truly interesting experience for me, which hopefully I can come back for other projects anytime soon.
I am currently finishing my first book publication for my latest project and just starting to navigate this whole world of editorial and printing to give it a platform.
Tania Franco Klein is a photographer. Her work is highly influenced by her fascination with social behavior and contemporary practices such as leisure, consumption, media overstimulation, emotional disconnection, the obsession with eternal youth, the American dream in the Western world and the psychological sequels they generate in our everyday life.