Accepted Paper:

From the 10th floor: The verticality of photographic praxis  
Arba Bekteshi

Paper short abstract:

This presentation applies Hito Steyerl's conceptualisation of politics of verticality to photographic praxis.

Paper long abstract:

While in a harsh lockdown, staring from the 10th floor window at essential workers and participating in the policing of people's bodies felt like an experiment in politics of verticality (Steyerl, 20135), a person's gaze substituting that of drones and cameras. As I had adjusted to the views from outside my windows and balconies, staring down on capitalist farming failure expand to enclosed parks, public spaces and other commons, I was trying to engage creatively, or better say productively, with the situation and taking pictures from my balcony mimicking a previous blog I had. This time, however, the politics of representation and aesthetics were different. The financial struggles of the Albanian population became way more visible and a sort of reawakening came through the whole society regarding the gravity of the problem. As I engaged with the happy numerous return of swallows in my apartment windows in a multispecies ethnography, my pictures of people portrayed frail relationships of people in their balconies taking breaks from the pandemic. The presentation's 'vertical' photography portrays an experience of collectivity that is imbued by fear, death and insecurity and a reaction to the pandemic via a sense of self-worth. Principally, as Steyerl claims "the perspective of free fall teaches us to consider a social and political dreamscape of radicalized class war from above, one that throws jawdropping social inequalities into sharp focus. But falling does not only mean falling apart, it can also mean a new certainty falling into place (2012, pg. 28).

Panel P13
Our pandemic lives: photographing the pandemic
  Session 1