The police were more interested in my professional-looking camera and tripod than anything I might actually be photographing, and ascribed to this equipment some magic power that the tourists with their compact point and shoots did not have.
Throughout its history, photography has been viewed as something imbued with magical qualities, able to detect the supernatural, or capturing a part of the identity of those it depicts. Even in more enlightened times, these beliefs linger, and security personnel and police officers often ascribe to photography an ability to capture and record dangerous levels of detail. In response to a series of encounters with such personnel, I began to travel to locations around the city of London equipped with a camera obscura, which I would then use to draw highly sensitive locations in meticulous detail, inviting a response. The aim was to draw these same security personnel and police officers into a discussion about their fears about photography, and to illustrate that the abilities we often associate with photography are not at all unique to it.
The magician-as-artist stands apart from the magician-as-trickster inasmuch as the former’s intention to deceive is plainly acknowledged beforehand, and conclusively reaffirmed in hindsight
Discovered during a media-archeological investigation into optical illusions, trick photography, and discarded memorabilia, the photo-multigraph technique opened the door to an enchanted world of cloned appearances orbiting in a self-reflective solar system. Shapeshifting into our preferred artistic medium, this turn-of-the-century photographic technique becomes the video-multigraph. It is bizarrely noteworthy that self-isolation would become not only the subject of the piece, but also – due to the unforeseen spread of a recently mutated virus – the prevailing circumstances under which the work was to be completed. In Verfünfungseffekt, we use the medium of video to create a kaleidoscopic portrait-in-motion where the perspective-shifting shards of ego are recorded in a synchronized performance of solipsist intersubjectivity. The video-multigraph allows for the compositing of tiny offsets in time-shifting delays applied to one, or several, of the mirrored selves – shattering the cloned perfection, as well as the conformity, of the multiple presences. This optical illusion necessitates reflection on how media alters our perceptions of time and space; it thereby arouses wonder about our place in existence.
Keywords: Photo-multigraph, fivefold-portrait, mirror photography, video-multigraph, crisis of presence
Whenever a wall is erected, there will always be “people arisen” to “jump the wall,” that is, to cross over borders. If only by imagining. As though inventing images contributed – a little here, powerfully there – to reinventing our political hopes.
Zigzagging through personal memory and historical episodes of great consequence – the fall of the Berlin wall, the Romanian revolution and the April 2018 protests in Nicaragua – the essay seeks points of connection between the personal and the political, exploring how the two are intimately and inextricably intertwined. The textual approach can be situated in-between historical analysis and auto-biographical fiction; the aim is to enable multi-layered narratives, and contrasting, conflicting temporalities to co-exist. Illustrative of this intent, Romanian artist Călin Man intervenes upon the more well-known documentary photographs referenced in the text, by conflating them with everyday snapshots from the city of Arad taken at different points along the temporal arc described.
Reality is becoming increasingly mediated by autonomous entities, whose systems locate themselves within a blackbox.
A critical gaze and an investigative guise are necessary in a time where the uneven boundaries between “the real” and the phantasmagoric are blurred into our conceptions of reality. We are surrounded by interfaces, screens, virtual spaces and infinite networks. Technologic advancements departing from the photographic medium have the potential to change our relations to our surroundings and our conceptions of ourselves through images. We are no longer merely receivers of images, we are active producers of them; In the 1980’s, philosopher Vilém Flusser and filmmaker Harun Farocki were already engaged in questions aimed at understanding our relationship to images and our responsibility towards the production images. Both urged their readers and spectators to engage in dialogue, to understand the phenomenon of photography and its direct correlations to mass communication structures.
I love the capacity of photography to exist in the in-between spaces of thoughtful imagining, and rational dreaming.
In the conversation, two of the most prominent New Zealand authors in the field of photography talk about the body of work of Anne Noble’s Antarctica photography projects. Had we lived is a re-photographic project reflecting on the tragedies of heroic age exploration (commemorating the centenary of the deaths of Robert Falcon Scott and his men on their return from the South Pole – Terra Nova Expedition or British Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole, 1912) and on the memory of Erebus tragedy of 1975, when a tourist plane flying over Antarctica crashed into Mt Erebus, killing all 257 people on board. Anne Noble re-photographed image taken by Herbert Bowers at the South Pole – the photograph of Scott and his men taken after they arrived at the South Pole to find Amundsen had already been and gone. Phantasms and Nieves Penitentes projects hint at the triumph of Antarctica over human endeavour and as a non-explorer type herself photographer Anne Noble states: “I rather liked this perverse reversal”. Both tragic events have a notable relationship to photography – Erebus in particular, as those who died were likely looking out of the aeroplane windows taking photographs at the time of impact. This relationship is addressed throughout the conversation between the two, providing an insightful commentary on the questions of authenticity, documentary value and the capacity of photography to exist in the in-between spaces of thoughtful imagining, and rational dreaming.
Angles of vision can be explored beyond the normal reach of the human eye or the camera lens.
Digital imaging may have tied us to the computer keyboard, but it allows us to recuperate for photography the freedom and control that painters and draughtsmen have always had when reconstructing space on a flat surface. Angles of vision can be explored beyond the normal reach of the human eye or the camera lens. For the last few years I have concentrated in particular on the application of orthographic projection to photographic images, both moving and still. I have found that removing the conventional perspective has the effect of defamiliarising and enriching what we see: objects seem to pass directly into memory not as images but as realities.