Daniel Longo is back in Geelong with his unique, thought-provoking photography

Daniel Longo is back in Geelong with his unique, thought-provoking photography

Words by Mackenzie Pennycook

Daniel Longo's ‘CHAMELEON DEATH’ is set to show at Platform Arts, and you really don’t want to miss this.

The award-winning photographic artist Daniel Longo is back at Platform Arts in Geelong for the third time with his newest exhibition ‘CHAMELEON DEATH’.

The exhibition will be showing from 26th March until the 30th of April and sees Longo explore his abstract and dark treatment of photography, curating an immersive experience with the enhancing elements of sound and video. Longo is Platform Arts alumni following his 2013 show ‘ALTER’ and his 2015 show ‘ENTER AS STRAYS’ both held at Platform Arts. His newest addition ‘CHAMELEON DEATH’ is his newest multi-medium body of work.

The opening show, on the 26th of March will include a live sound performance by Daniel Longo at 7pm, with accompaniment from Scott Mclatchie.

We sat down with Daniel Longo to get a deep dive into the inspirations and processes of producing his unique style of art.

What was the inspiration behind the works in ‘CHAMELEON DEATH’?

Imagine a “biblical” type of hell – you’re upon the gates, there’s no turning back and to reach paradise you need to experience hell first – start to the end. I’m trying to get to paradise, but also, I’m relishing and savouring the ride along the way. These works are a navigation through each room of “hell”, not sure if I’m dead or alive, but I need to get out – or at least make sense of it if I can’t reach the end.

I’ve taken that concept which is a kind of “lived” experience of some minds, maybe mine, then I’ve turned them into pieces. The pieces being photographic prints, a major sound piece with spoken, sung and screamed words, and two video pieces. All of the works link up to each other via aesthetic similarities, titles of works, and a swob of dark madness.

I suppose my work is always a continuation of exploring the self – but this time in a light that wasn’t so peril. There’s the idea that, in the end, there is something. The rise and fall of ideas are what I love playing with. I love contradictions and I love two opposing ideas then marrying them together. This is what I explore in my work a lot.

It’s funny how sitting still with ideas and not putting them into the real world can damage parts of yourself. I wasn’t physically creating anything for a long time due to over complicating ideas in my head – I was “creating”, a lot actually, but just in my head. I didn’t even want to pick up the camera for ages. I felt saturated and was trying to see where and when I can fit my work into this new world. When I was about to start on a new piece, something would stop me. This happened over and over again. Until one day something shifted, and I started recording my poetry with my voice, screaming in a microphone and then I turned the heaviness into something tangible. I re-worked old photographs with such randomness of mood, changing its original idea to something completely different. In the show there are a few pieces that were images I’ve shown in the past, but I’ve changed them so much they are unrecognisable to others.

How would you describe your art to anyone who may be unfamiliar with it?

If you were to look at my work objectively, you could describe it as mostly black and white photography. I would say I’m an experimental artist who loves using whatever tools necessary to explore complex ideas. Whether its photography, sound, or video – it’s not crucial to identify yourself in one medium and not the other. For me, it’s really about bringing them all together (at the moment). I love working on problematic concepts that eat away at me, making sense of them, then marrying them into my images or pieces.

I’m searching for something, making sense of my identity and projecting that onto other people I meet, places I go, thoughts I live with then back into the camera, onto a screen, onto a print; I’m making sense of the world.

How does ‘CHAMELEON DEATH’ differ from the works you’ve shown in the past?

It’s quite reflective, explorative in a made-up world that’s mirroring my thoughts. My thoughts have become metaphors and experiences implemented into a narrative of images. Photography marries sound, then marries video, then marries the voice. An orgy of mediums with the one underlying theme of “death”.

I explore themes of death and navigate my way through it as a chameleon. A chameleon, ever-changing, adapting to your surroundings; your hell – to get paradise.

Also this is the first time I’ve collaborated with another artist to make a piece for a solo exhibition. Scott Maclatchie and I created a long sound piece together and it will be performed live at 7:00PM opening night! I’m so excited. Working with Scott was incredibly rewarding. We just got each other, and things just happened and came to fruition too easily. Beautiful.

What are you most looking forward to about showing your art for a third time at Platform

Re-connecting with the beautiful people in the Geelong art scene. Platform has always been so kind and supportive of my practice. I really have to thank them with all my heart. I’m very honoured and very privileged to be there again. Shout out to the team – honestly, it’s a great feeling working with them. Especially when they really understand what you do, it makes it so much easier.

It’s a special place and has a very special habitation in the Geelong art scene. They are essential for young creatives finding a strong voice in a chaotic and competitive world.

What do you hope the key takeaways will be for the audience when viewing your artworks?

Create your own world up.
Whatever you think, is right.
That’s quite dangerous, but let it happen.

What themes do you explore throughout ‘CHAMELEON DEATH’?

Death, adaptation and the contradictions of thoughts. Bringing together opposing ideas and letting them play with each other.

The themes reflect my everyday thoughts of mortality and how nothing, yet everything is forever.

‘CHAMELEON DEATH’ is one not be missed, to RSVP for the event and to learn more head over to Platform Arts website here.