In 2013, Franco-Portuguese photographer and musician Sue-Elie Andrade-Dé had the idea to create The Smell of Dust. After living in São Paulo for several months, she finds that Brazilians are much more inclined to go out and meet around musical events than to go to an exhibition or go to a museum. She begins to imagine a way to show the photography that would be closer to this way of life. “It was a question of circumventing and diverting photography from its support, to bring it where it is not expected and to those who do not seek it”.
Several months of reflection and work later, beginning of 2014, the first edition of The Smell of Dust takes place. In the first version of the project, 25 artists from fifteen different nationalities see their images involved in a sound and visual experience, projected as a backdrop to a concert of which they form the score. By inviting the public to come see a concert, but incorporating the presence of photography, the creator of the project wants to surprise, and “recreate what could happen in the past around photo albums; when we met spontaneously with friends or family and that photography interfered with this social moment.
It is the atmosphere of each of the photographic series selected by the creator of the project that inspires the composition of the music played live during the screening. Then, it is this soundtrack that, in turn, will shape the rhythm, the editing, the collages and the transition effects between the projected images. Sue-Elie Andrade-Dé wishes, through the ongoing dialogue between the different media, “to propose a form of self-powered creation, in which the origin and the starting point are scrambled, just like the references or still the notion of author “. These ideas of mixing, collage and loss of origin, the musician connects them to concrete music. While contemporary photography usually confers a major status on the author and the artist, the continuous comings and goings that model The Smell of Dust – while we no longer know if the sound inspired the images or if it’s the opposite – offers a hybrid, new and impertinent artistic experience.
The Smell of Dust is now in its 5th year, and continues to travel around countries, events and festivals around the world. By reinterpreting the work of photographers through collage and editing to form other stories, but also by choosing to work with different musicians – from DJ to guitarist, and taking care to collaborate with local artists according to the places of presentation of the project -, Sue-Elie Andrade-Dé has imagined a new way of showing photography, constantly moving, adapting to the contours of the places it crosses, and thus taking the opposite of the frozen aspect often conferred to the photographic medium.