EuropeStoryUniverse of Sports; Body and Device by Mafalda Rakos

I am curious. How do people around me treat themselves, and how do they relate to their bodies?

I am curious. How do people around me treat themselves, and how do they relate to their bodies? What rooms are invented to create the possibility of movement and play, and how are they used? How do we flee our everyday sitting, walking and standing?

What I found inside schools, fitness clubs and gymnastic halls almost feels like a parallel existence governed by bodysuits, swimming trunks, goggles, rubber mats and protein shakes. Pink, green, blue, red, silver and gold; leather, silk, metal, wood, sweat and the smell of chlorine. I like to call it the Universe of Sports -­ quite a bizarre place. In my series “Body and Device”, I loosely examine the sphere of activity generated in and around the field of sports. Who are the actors, and what are their motivations? Attempting to grasp characteristic features grouped around the phenomenon, I recorded encounters with the protagonists, objects and rooms.

Quite strongly influenced by my first year of studies in Anthropology, I experiment with different photographic approaches and techniques. Sometimes it feels like I’m subconsciously trying to translate new, academic methodologies into the intuition-­‐based language of photography I am so well accustomed to. How big can I stretch the intersection of these two approaches, techniques? Which tool is adequate for the content I’m interested in, and how can these two be combined to reveal a maximum of expression and clarity? While working and experimenting on this project, I certainly haven’t found and  answer; I much rather just started to ask the question.

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About Mafalda Rako

Mafalda was born in 1994 and grew up in Vienna, Austria, where she attended the photography department at  a local high school specialized on media and technology. She has realized various long-­time projects in Vienna and other regions of the world such as the Middle East and West Africa. Her work has been published in magazines and newspapers (‘die Presse’,  ‘das biber’) and was shown in various festivals such as Encontros da Imagem Festival, Portugal, Voies Off, Arles, KOLGA Tiblisi, Georgia, as well as in Vienna. She is recipient of the Prix Revelation SAIF 2013, which was awarded during the Voies Off  Festival at Arles. In 2014, she received the Documentary Project Grant (DPF) in the “Emerging    Visions“ category. For the collective  bookproject   “3rd    Generation“,  she and two colleagues were  awarded  the  “Jugendinnovativ-­Prize“  in 2013; In 2014 the book won the Second Prize at Self Publish Riga and the Kassel Photobook Award, and was shortlisted at the European Publishers Award for Photography. She enrolled her studies in anthropology, literature and photography  at Vienna University and the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, while pursuing her own photographic projects and doing commissioned work. [Official Website]
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