Aikaterini Gegisian describes her practice as expanded collage, often working with found photographic material collected from periodicals, travel guides and magazines. Her most recent photobook Handbook of the Spontaneous Other, is a rich display of found imagery edited into nine chapters. The collages primarily focus on material made during the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. Gegisian begun the project while she was on residency in New York City and was struck by how ‘the majority of printed photographic images circulating in popular culture, in old magazines and travel guides, were taken by men and therefore we are presented with and consume a world visualised through the western male perspective.’ The Handbook of the Spontaneous Other attempts to disrupt and subvert this narrative by reediting the images to create new meaning. The ‘Other’ in the title refers to everyone whose narrative does not fit neatly into the dominant mainstream one. Her photobook also highlights the cyclical nature of printed photographic material. Gegisian deconstructs old journals and magazines, which would have otherwise been destroyed, and reconstructs the material to make new images, recycling the old language to make a new one.
This is Gegisian’s second photobook. Her first; A Small Guide to the Invisible Sea, was exhibited in the Venice Biennial in 2015 in the Armenian Pavilion, winner of the Golden Lion.