Riga Photography Biennial 2024 Central Event - exhibition ‘Vamp(yre) Reality’ by Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent

19.04.-02.06.2024. 11.00-18.00

“To experience Seers’ and Sargents’ work is to experience snapshots, rumours, doubtful information – fascinating fragments that refuse to add up to a neat, narratively satisfying whole. To experience one’s memory of their work is something else entirely. Recall a work on a Monday morning, and it’s a story of childhood and exile. Recall it on a Tuesday night, and it’s a meditation on Platonic optics and 19th-century methods of indexing and surveillance. Memory does its work, generating different readings, different histories, and different shapes for the viewer’s future self to adopt.” 

Tom Morton (Frieze)

S&S’ principle concerns are the nature of consciousness and how it shapes human life. The work of Henri Bergson pervades their practice as a method. 

According to contemporary thought, there is no singular consciousness but a flux of thoughts and emotions that are framed in every given moment. (It is likely that Virginia Woolf had read Bergson. She mentions, in her novel Orlando, that every person has at least 2,052 selves). 

The works unfold in the making as in an act of performance. One thing leads to another. It is only realised fully in the exhibition hall, a punctuation in the continuity of the works' evolution.  

The stories we tell ourselves are not truths but frameworks to justify our actions post events. Human action as such (if Benjamin Libet is correct) comes before thought. We act spontaneously and then we create a plausible narrative for that action. The narrative is a work of fiction, a justification from a hidden impulse. 

S&S have developed a language of blending objects, environments, light, sound, VR and CGI in a search for hidden 'truths'. Their work often references human, animal and plant life with an ultimate desire to create a new philosophy of 'metaphysical thought' that can chime with the current science it evokes. 

S&S seek out the random events that may seem connected and causal but are not. Taking a cue from Vilém Flusser’s Towards a Philosophy of Photography, S&S push the photographic programs to their limits, searching towards innovations both in their forms and processes.  

The state of photography seems to be most interested in 'the mass of photography' rather than its singular content (its 'likes' and redistribution). This runs against S&S' fascination for the agency of individuals and the specificity of their narratives; their uniqueness. In this work the portraits from an album found in a hidden bookshop in Riga speak from the dead.  

Research on the subject of consciousness has been sustained over many years by the artists through dialogues with eminent scientists such as Chris Frith, FRS FBA, professor emeritus at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuro-imaging at University College London; Anil Seth, professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex; Paul Fletcher, Bernard Wolfe Professor of Health Neuroscience, University of Cambridge; and science writer Philip Ball. 

Participants: Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent (UK) 

Partners: State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, Riga State City Council, Association of Cultural Institutions of Riga State City Council Exhibition Hall "Riga Art Space”, British Council representation in Latvia, printing house “Adverts”, Valmiermuiža Craft Brewery, “Rixwell Hotels”, Arterritory.com, Echo Gone Wrong, NOBA. 

Image: Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent (UK), ‘Vamp(yre) Reality’, video still, 2024