The Cataclysmic Accounts frm the Binary Institute, copyright The Jackson Twins
Identical twins Karl and Ian Jackson began collaborating nine years ago, and given the nature of their relationship, it’s little wonder their work focuses on identity. In their most recent project, The Cataclysmic Accounts from the Binary Institute, they’ve pushed this question to the limit, creating a series of digitally constructed self-portraits that use costumes and role-play.
“But we give it a cheeky twist in that each new character we create, we give the same identity crisis we have by giving them an exact double. Identity crisis is at the foreground.” The concept comes from psychoanalytical theory.
“It’s Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank’s idea of the double and uncanny,” says Karl, but fairy tales, folklore and the idea of the doppelganger also provide inspiration.
The pair got into photography while at art school. “Our individual practices were so similar it was almost harder trying to make them look different,” says Karl. “In the end we thought, ‘why are we fighting this, let’s combine forces’. Now it’s almost impossible to say who did what. We work together right from the concept stages. So we’ll make sketches of the characters and work out the narrative. Its 50-50 all the way, right through to post-production.”
Now 29 and living in Rugby, both work to support their photography career (Karl is a freelance graphic designer and Ian works in art education), which last year moved up a gear when they were picked out from a graduate portfolio review run by Rhubarb Rhubarb.
That led to an invite to attend Rhubarb’s international folio event, and contact with the Australian Centre for Photography. And with the help of a couple of £5000 grants from the Arts Council, they put together Cataclysmic Accounts and recently returned from showing it in Sydney. And it was on show at Rhubarb’s new gallery in Birmingham earlier this year.
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