Hans-Christian Schink on the project “Kochi Nights”:
The residency in Kochi from 2.- 30.08.2016 caused an unexpected turn in my photographic approach and in my work itself as well. My plan before getting there was to follow one of the main threads of my work: the urban landscape and the built environment in general. For most of my previous series’ I worked with a large format camera, preferably with the non-dramatic light of an overcast sky. So I was hoping to continue in that way. But it didn’t work out because of the weather conditions in Kochi. I had to find something that would relate to my other projects, but could also show some typical aspects of this place. At least from my point of view. And it had to be something that could be done within the short period of time of the residency.
Not for the first time, chance was crucial for the decision on a site- specific project. After a few days of exploring the
Kochi area I was vaguely thinking of taking pictures after dark. This turned into a real idea when the streets around my hotel were lit with artificial light for a movie shot. This intervention turned an already familiar place into something surreal. Confronted with this situation it occured to me that I would be able to create a similar atmosphere by using the available light sources in the streets of Kochi.
In my series LA.Night (2002/2003) I had already used this effect of shifting reality caused by different perception of light, by the human eye and the camera. At that time my conceptual approach as well as the technical conditions were very different. For LA.Night, the characteristic of the film material was crucial, whereas in Kochi I turned to digital photography for the first time. The technical perfection of these images caused a completely different sense of artificiality compared to the photographs from Los Angeles.
There’s a common aspect in both series though: LA.Night is based partly on the impact of Hollywood movies on my idea of Los Angeles. Very often these movies tried to turn the banality of this place into something mythical. To name only a few, the most important film in this sense for me was Mulholland Drive by David Lynch, in a way followed by Collateral by Michael Mann in 2004. Finally, recalling the layers of images from these movies and from my LA.Night series, in combination with finding myself in the surreal scenery of the movie shot around Parade Ground, led to the idea of the Kochi Nights series.