So take a look at me now (10 photos, 4 videos) ZOO Barcelona, 2010.
Suddenly she threw away her piece of bamboo, got up and swung from the other side of her cage right in front of me. Her baby had grabbed her more firmly during this quick action and was now pulling her big nipple. After she turned her back on me I stopped filming. And than she turned her head and sticks out her tong. What did I do to deserve this? I felt guilty, but didn’t know why. We continued our tour, but I had the feeling everybody was staring at me.
This series is featured at Urbanautica
Mammals in the city
No city is ever the same. In part because like any organism it grows and changes over time and partly because no matter how hard you look it will never be enough to see it all. The work of René Schmalschälger in this sense is an investigation that reflects the desire to discover a city and its myriad representations.
«By photographing the city I’m describing the people that build it, the city as the handwriting of human action. What and where I photograph is part random ‒ just happen to be there ‒ and part rational ‒ dropping myself into a chosen area. By avoiding people in the photos, I avoid the automatic emotional reactions that people have to other people. Using an abstract aesthetics, I seek to help the viewer to stay away from clichéd associations, irony, cynicism, sarcasm or social statements, because they often are rooted in platitudes.
A city is a place where the largest portion of the space is private. The private space is where people feel free to be themselves, as opposed to the public space where they have to be social. In the public space, instincts and reflexes are activated by interaction with others, by projecting desires and fears on others. At the same time, to be social is also a need every person feels. So in a way, the public space can be both a prison and a refuge.
There is no private or public in a zoo. The Barcelona zoo is an old-fashioned one. Animals are in small spaces and in direct contact with people. Visitors can feel there distress and start to feel sorry for the animals. To a great extent, it is the design of the zoo that evokes the emotion.»