The More That Is Taken Away - Artist Talk by Ben Altman

30 November 2017, 17:30 - 20:30

SG1 & SG2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

This event is free and open to all, but please RSVP here.

The current Artificial Things exhibition in the Alison Richard Building examines the question of reality within the photographic image, bringing together photographic artists who are exploring and merging the boundaries of the fake, the real, and the in-between.

To celebrate this exhibition we are holding a reception and artist's talk by Ben Altman on 30 November 2017.

Ben trained as an artist by studying physics, towing icebergs, and racing sailboats. A naturalised U.S. citizen of British origin, his work explores history, home, and the contemporary world. His work has been shown across the United States and in the UK, Poland, Israel, and China. 'The More That Is Taken Away' takes the mass grave as its central image. It is a performance in three Acts: an extended meditation, a memorial, and a personal reflection, involving protracted manual labour in a constantly crumbling excavation in Ben’s own backyard.

“I work alone, behind my house in rural New York. In Act 1, I dig linear volumes within an 18m by 3m rectangle. After several years of changing the shapes and repairing weather damage the result is an empty pit, a mound, and a roughly-built watchtower. I wear and patch the same clothes throughout, and lose weight. For Act 2, I shave off my long hair. I video myself undressing and photograph myself lying in the pit, at twenty stations along the site. In Act 3, the resulting photographs are printed life-size on cotton, exhibited in a gallery, then buried in the earthwork. I will landscape the site next spring. The process, now in its seventh year, is recorded on video and photographed with a traditional 10x8 view camera.”

Join us at the Artificial Things exhibition reception to hear Ben Altman speak about this fascinating project.

Ben Altman - The More That Is Taken Away, Thursday 30th November 5.30-8.30pm (talk starts at 6pm)


Artificial Things is a photography exhibition curated jointly by Art at the ARB and Shutter Hub.

The exhibition runs from 3 November 2017 – 19 January 2018.