book review A certain logic of expectations Photographs by Arturo Soto Reviewed by Efrem Zelony-Mindell “Streets paved with angles and concrete. Asphalt encrustations and unseen shoe prints left by the passing masses. A city is a city, is a place, is an idea taken for granted given nature of his daily life…”
A certain logic of expectations
Photographs by Arturo Soto
The Eriskay Connection, Netherlands, 2022. 144 pp., 6¼x8¾”.
Streets paved with corners and concrete. Asphalt encrustations and invisible shoe prints left by the masses in transit. A city is a city, it is a place, it is an idea taken for granted given the nature of its everydayness. A poem is a pause, a breath, a slowness, an image of what is granted by forgetting everyday life. Arturo Soto A certain logic of expectations plays with the elements that make the city of Oxford what it is, what it is not and what it is becoming. Designed pages, papers and images, embodied in words, demand something from a reader. We, the reader, are invited to immerse ourselves in these photographic works and written words. That way, as outsiders, we build alongside Soto and end up taking those walks with him. They reflect on us so that we reflect on ourselves.
How do we say things? How does language speak to photographic imagery? Photography and writing have a long relationship of desire and intimacy with each other. A certain logic of expectations capitalized on the forms of literary showing that exist within photographic storytelling. All the answers one might need are contained in the composition of the images. This book is a kind of one-sentence story. Through slowness and commitment to idiosyncrasy, Soto’s book grows on the reader. It doesn’t happen right away. How people experience a place should be informed by various fragments of cityscape, design, and what things represent. The connection we feel about where we live and where we study is developed by an unfamiliar street corner becoming the most familiar. Secret Experiments expose the uncharted streets of a place like Oxford, taking it from very specifically documented history to something nearby and personal.
What is this place? Questions feel good in uncharted parts of a city. How does the price work for these residents? How does the accommodation work? What are all the ways in which power disguises the infrastructure of institutions? How does this affect the people who live here? What forms of vulnerability will allow the exposure of authenticity? The sweetness of Soto’s work draws us gently and slowly towards these thoughts. A certain logic of expectations is freed from forms of symmetry. Its plot sinks like a rising hot bath. Wandering streets capture the magic of wonder as intimacy becomes marked by places. The streets sing in silence for each of us and how we grow, how we put down roots, how we create opportunities and share all we know with ourselves and with others.
An ending is just another surprise. The limits of a city are not loaded, in the eyes of Soto they are only the beginning. FLIP! FLIP! The authenticity of A certain logic of expectations was born out of intense curiosity. The time one takes with this book will expand the way photography is consumed. Image consumption should not be prioritized solely by the advancement of tools and technology. Great lakes of knowledge are still forming in the crooks and cracks of the movement, but also of research into what has come before. De Soto’s book is an opportunity for nonlinear thinking, as beautiful as linear thinking can be. The great challenge of normality is to ask how the relationships between these covers are established. They are not meant to form one by reading, this book is an uneven galaxy of dilemma and consumption.
Buy a book
Read more book reviews
© Logan Bellew
Efrem Zelony-Mindell is a non-binary white artist. Some of their curatorial activities include group exhibitions: new flesh, are you repulsive, It’s not hereand Witness. They have written about art for Foam, Unseen, DEAR DAVE, SPOT and essays for artist monographs. their first book new flesh (2019), published by Gnomic Book and shortlisted for the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Award 2020, seeks to investigate queerness beyond the body. The second book of Efrem Primal view (2021), also published by Gnomic Book and shortlisted for the Lucie Foundation Photo Book Award 2021, is an investigation into contemporary black and white photography. And their third self-published book Witness (2021) acts as a small step in the direction of a world conscious of the values of critical race and gender theory. These books can be found in more than 50 libraries and archives around the world. Efrem exists in northwest Arkansas, unless they are elsewhere.