Interrogations of a Camera

An Artist Talk by Sylvia Grace Borda

25—25 oct 2012

London, 6:30 pm

The gallery is excited to collaborate with Christiane Monarchi of Photomonitor to host an evening presentation and conversation with Sylvia Grace Borda, an artist exploring photographic art histories and the production of large-scale image-based narratives.

Much of Borda’s photographic work of the last five years consists of deconstructing and interrogating the photographic plane and the camera. In so doing, Borda frequently builds pictures that reflect on the meaning and the objectivity of the camera as a tool and recording device. The products, processes and lexicons of photography often inform Borda’s works: for example, in a recent series she has placed the camera in an x-ray machine, making it both a subject and artifact of the production process. Appearing similar to a photogram, the lightless x-ray process creates an architectural blueprint of the camera.

Her photographs owe their composition to everything from historical documentation techniques and camera patents to the labour-intensive and localised strategies that she employs. From 2009 until 2012, Borda undertook a modern day, 19th century-inspired grand tour, visiting and photographing Modernist churches in Northern Ireland. This endeavour was inspired by the fact that the common architectural paradigm of Modernist Churches illustrated a unity through aesthetic and features, rather than a divide and distinctness by religious denomination. As such the Modernist architectural composition visually defies how each building, and the Christian denominations as a whole, can be read or situated within the Northern Irish socio-political landscape. Borda’s other works, including large-scale documentation and photomontage projects draw from 19th century photographic ideas that originate with the French ‘Commission des Monuments Historiques’ and are further motivated by the Dadaist movement.

Borda’s presentation is informed by her artworks to date, with a particular focus on the process of ‘seeing’, viewer engagement and the adoption of photographic histories. For the artist, the process of seeing can never be complete.  It often represents a singular activity that is staged in one moment, but draws from many points of reference and experience. Borda will additionally discuss what she expects of herself as a photographer, camera operator, researcher and image producer in relation to her works and approach.  She will also touch on the contemporary role of an artist-photographer.


This event will begin at 6:30pm on Thursday 25th October at Daniel Blau, 51 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB.

The talk is free and open to everyone, though places are limited and you are encouraged to RSVP to


Sylvia Grace Borda received a Masters of Fine Art from the University of British Columbia in 2001. She is both a Research Associate in Photography and Media Arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver, Canada) and the University of Stirling (Scotland). She has held positions as Senior Photography Lecturer (Salford Unviersity), MA Convenor in Photography and Imaging (Queen’s University Belfast), and Associate Researcher in New Media (University of British Columbia).

Borda is the author of  “The Artist’s Photographic Book: Towards a Definition” in Photography and the Artist’s Book, MuseumsEtc Publishers, Edinburgh (2012) and “Comments on Skinning our Tools (2003)“ in Banff New Media Institute Dialogues Euphoria and Dystopia, Banff Centre Press and Riverside Architectural Press (2012). She continues to lecture widely on photography, new media, and imaging in Canada, USA, and the UK.

Borda has exhibited and lectured over the last 15 years, and for 2008-2010, she held Culture Capital Artist of Canada status. Currently, she is completing a series of video vignettes produced by aerial imaging technology, examining landscape as part of a commission to launch the Autumn 2013 Surrey Art Gallery Urban Screen Programme.

Her work has been exhibited and published internationally, with group shows in London, Taipei, Montreal, and Los Angeles and solo exhibitions in the UK, Canada, and Italy.


Recent artist’s reviews include:


Photomonitor UK (2012)


Surrey Leader  (2012)


Canadian Architect (2012)


The Anglo-Celt Ireland (2010)