by Anna Thomas
You’re usually quite unlikely to hear the phrase ‘same, same but different’ on Palace Green on a Saturday morning. However, this weekend Durham and our partner area of Tübingen in South-West Germany converge in a visual, literary and musical event that can only be described as such.
My Town through the Eyes of My Twin is a photography exhibition by DU Photography Society in collaboration with Durham County Council, displaying photographs taken by four students, two from each of the universities of Durham and Tübingen. In an exchange programme which took place over summer, each pair of students spent five days experiencing and photographing their opposite city, with some stunning results.
The exhibition curation responds to this interconnection between the two cities. The images are placed together, unnamed and unlabelled, and sometimes the locations are indistinguishable. This offers an interesting ‘compare and contrast’ between the two locations and the individual style of the photographers. Although some of the photography itself teetered into ‘Open Day Brochure’ territory, the collection of the night-time photographs and the portraiture couldn’t have been further from ‘same, same’. The after-dark photographs are unified by their blue and orange palettes, which illuminate differing locations, while the portraits capture the surprising familiarity of strangers. Moreover, this exhibition is a chance for a fresh perspective on the often-backgrounded Durham, whilst offering a glimpse of Tübingen, an unknown city to most here.
The celebratory mood of the exhibition was underpinned by the opening ceremony, which included a performance by the Semiseria choir from Tübingen, and a reading by the poet Eva Zeller. Three different languages across three different arts was a fantastic welcome to an exhibition that is silent and purely visual by nature. Huw and Grace both emphasised in their speeches the welcoming and homely nature of the Tübingen as a community. It is therefore unsurprising that the strength of the exhibition lies in the atmosphere and human side of the photographs, rather than the stand-alone architecture. This brings us back to the purpose of the partnership programme between the cities, in creating something wonderful by collaborating, in a celebration of difference.
For a full interview with Huw and Grace about their work on this exhibition click here.
The exhibition will run 4th – 5th November in the Debating Chambers, Pemberton Buildings, Palace Green. (10:00 – 18:00). Entry is free.
Featured image via DU Photosoc