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Born: 1970, Runcorn, England
Lives and Works: Glasgow, Scotland
Acting as a director, photographer, interviewer, and producer, Phil Collins uses photography and video to explore individual and collective processes of representation and the ambivalent relationship between the camera and its subjects. He frequently sites his projects in geographical locations embroiled in social and political turmoil but avoids heavy-handed political messages in favor of intimate, vulnerable portrayals of individuals within a community. Through his work, Collins questions the ethical nature of visual media by offering his subjects the spotlight in exchange for control and ownership of their images. His most recent work, zasto ne govorim srpski (na srpskom), (2008), commissioned for this exhibition, is set amidst the political turmoil in Kosovo and its struggle for independence. Using the community's complicated relationship with the Serbo-Croat language as a reflection of its ambivalence toward its history and identity, Collins records testimonies by a number of contributors - from politicians, intellectuals and public figures to ordinary people - recounting in Serbo-Croat the reasons why they don't speak the language.