Wendy McMurdo - Indeterminate Objects (Classrooms)

Press Release: 5 October 2017

Indeterminate Objects (Classrooms) is a new exhibition by award winning Scottish photographer Wendy McMurdo. Presented on the Gallery’s Media Wall, it continues an interest in exploring our evolving relationships with digitally generated information and in particular looks at the effect of computers on children.

There is increasing recognition that data is one of the most important factors in shaping and understanding our modern world, but its influence on children is still unclear. Whereas the predominant influence on children used to be the institutions of school and family, in today’s culture, children – like adults - are increasingly subject to a world augmented by data and simulation that informs most of their waking day – and even their nights. Children have been observed ‘building’ during sleep; their hands scrabbling about as if stacking bricks as they might in the virtual worlds of computer games and even adults report dreaming of these strange environments.

For this project, McMurdo used her own observations and other research to highlight the pervasive nature of these games and the way that they shape the way that children now think, play and learn. Combining photography with the three-dimensional techniques more usually associated with computer games such as Minecraft she presents a series of standard classroom interiors at a primary school near her home in Edinburgh. The traditional elements - desks, bookshelf, children’s drawings, teachers desk - are linked by a series of floating 3D visuals representing the influence of new technologies. As these abstract forms hover and rotate above the desks, they cast shadows on the classroom floor, which appear as real as those cast by the classroom furniture. Through this expression of ‘indeterminate objects’ McMurdo reflects the persistent nature of these unseen forces and raises pertinent questions around the impact of such ever-increasing data immersion on young identities


Press information

For further press information and image requests please contact:

Emma Pettit or Grace O’Connor at Margaret on +44 (0) 20 7739 8203 or email emma@margaretlondon.com or grace@margaretlondon.com


Notes for Editors Wendy McMurdo

Wendy McMurdo was  born  in  Edinburgh  where  she  initially  trained  as  a  painter.  She  left  the  UK in the  mid  1980s  for  the  Pratt  Institute,  New  York.  While  studying  there,  she  turned  to photography and on returning to the UK, began to work for the first time with this medium.

After  completing  an  MA  at  Goldsmiths  College,  London,  she  was  awarded  a  two-year  fellowship by  The  Henry  Moore  Foundation.  These  two  years  were  to  prove  critical  in  her  development and in 1993 she produced her first major solo exhibition In a Shaded Place. Working for the first       time with  the  computer,  she  produced  a  series  that  explored  the  intersection  between autographic photography and the digital image.

The rapid proliferation of computers in schools provided the context for the development of  her next body of work that looked directly at the influence of computers on early years education. Working closely with local schools, she explored the role of the child within  the school, the growth of the Internet and the development of networked play. In related projects, she shadowed school parties on educational visits to various local museums, a process which evolved naturally from photographing in the classroom. From this, she produced  series  of  works that explored the ways  in  which  children  related  to  the  museum  and  its  objects  in  a world of increasing simulation.

These projects were shown throughout Europe in exhibitions such as The  Anagrammatical Body: The Body and its Photographic Condition curated by Christa Steinle and Peter Weibel for ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Uncanny, curated by Urs Stahel for the Fotomuseum Wintherthur   and Only Make Believe curated by Marina Warner for Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK.

In 2014 a mid-career retrospective exhibition of her work Digital Play was  included  as  part  of Generation  –  25  years  of  contemporary  art  in  Scotland,  a  nationwide  programme  of  exhibitions and events celebrating the last 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland. This comprehensive exhibition brought together  works  from  several  of  her  film  and  photography  projects.  In  2015  she was awarded a PhD by  publication  by  the  University  of  Westminster  for  her  work  exploring the  relationship  of  children  and  photography  to  the computer.

About TPG’s Digital Programme

The Photographers’ Gallery digital programme that explores the myriad roles that photography   plays in our everyday lives, particularly through new media and digital technologies. Manifested across  online  sites  and  physical  spaces  the  programme  offers  a   range   of   platforms   for discovery   and  engagement.

Unthinking Photography is an online resource addressing photography, automation and computation through a wide-ranging set of materials and  references.

The Media Wall is a permanent exhibition space on  the  ground  floor  of  the  gallery,  which  addresses  digital  transformations  in  photography.  Recent  commissions  and  projects  include Food  For  Being  Looked  AtMorehshin  Allahyari  –  She  Who  Sees  The  Unknown:  Ya’jooj  Ma’jooj, and  Joey  Holder  -  Selachimorpha.

TPG  Geekenders  are   bi-annual   gallery   takeovers   of   workshops,   discussions   and   evening events unpacking the relationship between photography  and  technology. The  next  Geekender explores the ways that the analogue has become intensified and fetishised in digital culture. Hyperanalogue  takes  place  on  11 &  12  November 2017

The Photographers’ Gallery

The  Photographers’ Gallery  opened  in  1971 in  Great Newport Street, London, as  the  UK’s   first

independent gallery devoted to photography. It was the first public gallery  in  the  UK  to  exhibit many  key  names  in  international  photography,  including  Juergen  Teller,   Robert   Capa,   Sebastião Salgado and Andreas Gursky. The Gallery has also been instrumental in establishing contemporary British photographers, including Martin Parr and Corinne Day. In 2009, the Gallery moved to 16 – 18 Ramillies Street in Soho, the first stage in its plan to create a 21st  century home       for  photography.  Following  an  eighteen  months  long  redevelopment  project,   the   Gallery reopened to the public in 2012. The success  of  The  Photographers’  Gallery  over  the  past  four decades  has  helped  to  establish  photography  as  a  recognised  art  form,   introducing   new audiences to photography and championing its place at the heart of visual culture. www.thephotographersgallery.org.uk

Visitor Information

Opening times: Mon – Sat, 10:00 - 18:00; Thu, 10:00 - 20:00; Sun, 11:00 -  18:00

Admission: free until noon (Mon - Sun) and then £4 / £2.5 concessions Address: 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW

Nearest London Underground  Station:  Oxford  Circus T: + 44 (0)20 7087 9300

E: info@tpg.org.uk

W: thephotographersgallery.org.uk