That year, you left us by the edge. Nothing made any sense. Where had you gone? We heard the waves but saw them not; you were the waves. The light was blinding, darkness may have helped us see. We wept, we were the weeping village. Sound there was none, and things were everywhere. The animals had left us and the rain – can you imagine Earth without the sound of Living? Even the spider webs had disappeared. Some trees stood over there and bare of birds, not quite at all themselves, as if their spirits went with all the animals. You could have told us then, in all your cherub voices and your fables of the Living; that your Hungry Caterpillar book was a projection of your future selves. That you would eat through everything and leave us perching in the weeping village, on the silent edge. We would have told you, as we know: you are your books, your books are lies, we are the kids in trouble. Learn from the ancients, the wind, the sea, the animals, and us… Your generations had a habit though of never asking any Living but your own; your thrones were cold and high and made of skulls and money.
Situated in the documentary tradition, Katrin Koenning’s intimate photographs and sequences are made of the quotidian. Spaces clash, collide and come to be. Her fused geographies suggest a present that is puzzle-esque and multiplicit; always in conversation. With this, Koenning offers a way of seeing that is non-hierarchical, refusing to comply with a human-centric order of things. Instead the greater living world, the human and the animal occupy an equal space—connected rather than apart. In careful image-dialogues, she explores extended narrative possibilities and the currencies of the document.
Through multilingual approaches to image-making Katrin seeks to reflect the complex times in which we live; imbuing her poetics experience both injury and tenderness.
Developed across four years and numerous countries and continents, the kids are in trouble is Katrin’s inaugural exhibition with ReadingRoom. A long–form documentary work, responding to a time in which vested interest, economic growth-obsession and capitalist pursuit is folding the world; a time of ecological collapse, extinctions and social emergency. the kids are in trouble is a work about the present.
Katrin Koenning (b. 1978) was born and raised in Bochum, a city in the thick of Germany’s turbulent post-industry landscape. At 24, she relocated to Australia where she studied documentary photography at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane (2007).
In 2016, Katrin launched her first book Astres Noirs (Chose Commune) at Le Bal, Paris. The recipient of multiple awards including the Australian Photobook of the Year Award (2017), the Conscientious Portfolio Award (2016) and the Daylight Award (2015); her images are published widely in places such as The New Yorker, FT Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, Human Rights Defender, ASX, The New York Times, Der Spiegel Magazine, and SBS Australia. Katrin’s work has been exhibited in India, Bangladesh, Estonia, Croatia, South Korea, Norway, Malaysia, USA, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Finland, France, Greece and Myanmar (forthcoming). She teaches with a multitude of organisations across the Asia-Pacific region, and lives and works in Melbourne.