Q&A: Max Pinckers — Margins of Excess


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? I’ve been decluttering. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? The Internet, hyper-individualsim and cultural capitalism. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Yes. What is it that interests you about photography? Its consistent incapacity yet incredible mystery and beauty. What is the worst thing about city life? Having to jaywalk. What part of the planet would you like to explore? The Hollow Earth. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Telepathy. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? A gymnosophist. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Quantum physics. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? Never wished I had a camera. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Computer game design and development. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. That one with the person in it doing something important. How often do you take other people’s advice? When they give it to me. Describe a personal hell. Doing seemingly pointless interviews. Which living person do you most admire? My wife. On what occasion do you lie? In conversations about the weather. What was the last crime you witnessed? Someone jaywalking. What is the best way to educate yourself? By doing things and learning along the way. What is the next book you want to read? Documentary Across Disciplines, edited by Hila Peleg and Erika Balsom. Ultimate camera? Depends on the purpose, but right now I’d say the smartphone. Most used camera? The smartphone. What object do you want? A new smartphone. What object do you need? A new smartphone. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? Tell them to Google it. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Absolutely, I’m even somewhat uncomfortable with my current physical strength. Describe a cheap thrill. Jaywalking. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. New York, September 11 2001. Are impulses more important than consequences? It’s important to attempt new and unexplored creative strategies and collaborations that may lead to failure. Which talent would you most like to have? To understand every possible language. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Attempt to make a blockbuster-like trailer video for my new photobook ‘Margins of Excess’.

Margins of Excess — (2018)

In Margins of Excess the notion of how personal imagination conflicts with generally accepted beliefs is expressed through the narratives of six individuals. Every one of them momentarily received nationwide attention in the US press because of their attempts to realize a dream or passion, but were presented as frauds or deceivers by the mass media’s apparent incapacity to deal with idiosyncratic versions of reality.

Herman Rosenblat became well-known because of a self-invented love-story set in a concentration camp during WWII, the private detective Jay J. Armes appears to be a real-life superhero, Darius McCollum drew media attention by compulsively highjacking trains, Richard Heene would have staged an elaborate television hoax, Rachel Doležal would have pretended to be ‘black’, and Ali Alqaisi would have tried to make people believe that he was the ‘hooded man’ in the iconic photo from Abu Ghraib prison. This book weaves together their stories through personal interviews, press articles, archival footage and staged photographs.

The current era of ‘post-truth’, in which truths, half-truths, lies, fiction or entertainment are easily interchanged, has produced a culture of ‘hyper-individual truths’, demanding a new approach to identify the underlying narratives that structure our perception of reality in a world where there is no longer a generally accepted frame of realism. Embedding the stories of the six main protagonists into a clustering tale of cloned military dogs, religious apparitions, suspect vehicles, fake terrorist plots, accidental bombings and fictional presidents, this book follows an associative logic akin to the indiscriminate way a paranoid mind connects unrelated events, or the hysteria of the 24-second news cycle.

In Margins of Excess reality and fiction are intertwined. Not to fool us, but to reveal a more intricate view of our world, which takes into account the subjective and fictitious nature of the categories we use to perceive and define it. And then again: not to celebrate superficiality and contingency, but to pierce through the noise, buzz, pulp, lies, dreams, paranoia, cynicism and laziness and to embrace ‘reality’ in all its complexity.

Margins of Excess is available for purchase at — maxpinckers.be/books

Max Pinckers (b.1988, BE) is an artist based in Brussels, Belgium. His oeuvre explores visual storytelling strategies in documentary photography and the relationship between aesthetics, images and their subjects. His works manifest in the form of self-published artist books and exhibition installations such as The Fourth Wall (2012), Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty (2014), Trophy Camera v0.9 (2017) and Margins of Excess (2018). Pinckers is currently a doctoral researcher and lecturer in the arts at the School of Arts / KASK, Ghent. He has been internationally awarded and has exhibited at MOCAK in Poland, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the United States and the Centre for Fine Arts – Bozar in Belgium, among others. In 2015 he founded the independent publishing house Lyre Press and was recently among the Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Arts. To see more of Max Pinckers work visit — Website / Instagram.