Imprisonment in Past, Failure of New.

The birth of the photograph meant we could record history, lives, people, places, societies, culture more accurately, more realistically, in fact more scientifically. As facts and not myth, unlike paintings, we could do more with photos, the camera froze time, we could see more. We can see beyond what the human eye will naturally miss, unlike paintings, the hand was replaced with the eye, perspective. Perspective as the authority of the photographer destroys the myth that the photograph records history, lives, people, places, societies, culture more accurately.

If the essence of Photography is to show the world more clearly, objectively or truthfully as many people still think it is, at least in part I believe photography is only meaningful in how it fails that purpose. The cracks in the mirror reveal not only the artist’s manipulative hand or the magician’s mastery of the machine, but also our own fears and fantasies, projected onto the surface of an ostensibly clear window on the world.

Subjective interpretation and objective vision, the relationship between the gaze and the image, this that is both read and constructed, a relationship that calls for the failure of photography in medium which is apparently efficient is merely a myth, the state of cognitive dissonance we reach suggested by naive realism when we read photography suggests that modernity is an impracticable myth. This is the foundation of post-photography, the foundation of postmodernity.

The great modernisms were, as we have said, predicated on the invention of personal, private style, as unmistakable as your fingerprint, as incomparable as your own body. But this means that the modernist aesthetic is in some way organically linked to the conception of a unique self and private identity, a unique personality and individuality, which can be expected to generate its own unique vision of the world and to forge its own unique, unmistakable style” Fredric Jameson

Jameson suggest that postmodernism is not necessarily a negation of modernity but can also be understood as a continuation, a development of modernity. With that being said, Fredric suggests that the failure of photography, this failure that is paramount to the construct of photography as art, ridicules the ideology of the individual as a practical ideology, rather, it has become a myth. The death of the individual is explained in two positions by Fredric Jameson; the move from competitive capitalism to corporate capitalism; this position suggest that the move from a capitalism that birthed the hegemonic class allowed for such a thing as the individual  but the move to the ‘organization man’ as Fredric terms it, the data collecting man, the understanding of society based on statistics and data, ‘the older bourgeois individual subject no longer exists‘. The second position is one o a cruel optimism that has been sold to us, society, it is the idea that the individual never existed but was rather a negotiation of power that ‘sought to persuade people that they had individual subjects’, after all, there is no power without resistance right.

The implication this has upon the author of an image, the subject as concentric force, is that if the individual is dead, if there is no such thing as a unique vision of the world but rather a ‘cultural production that has been driven back inside the mind, within the monadic subject’, cultural production is based on the ideology of pastiche, an ideology that suggest that we are incapable of representing our present lived experiences (failure of the new), but instead we constantly reproduce the past. The way i see it, I think the past is so important to us because of the novelty of seeing where we came from to where we are. The problem with this which postmodernity points our is that there is no more originality, the author is dead and the only thing that lives, is the objective vision of the image.


So, Frederic really does believe the individual is dead. You know, the way i see it, the fact that we each have our own subjective experiences means that we each have our own subjective interpretations of experiences, ideology an even imagery. Yes, the individual is a reflection the collective, a product of culture, yes i agree, totally. But this should not negate the fact that we all have our own stories, stories that have made or broken us into the person we now are. Given this thought, my idea of replicating the work of Duane Michals emphasizes my blog title i.e. Imprisonment in Past, failure of New, in that by replicating this work I am adhering to the pastiche nature of postmodernism. Pastiche being blank parody; parody without the humour, just the imitation, is ‘in a wild in which stylistic innovation is no longer possible, all that is left is to imitate dead styles

But as established, we all have individual stories that set us apart from the next person. I am very interested in Duane Michals work because I highly relate to his wok but we do no have the same stories, maybe similar but certainly not the same. Let me give an example, Duane Michals circled around authenticity because of the background in which he was named. His mother named him after the child in the house which she worked. For this reason Duane Michals work focuses on the originality of his being. In my Nigerian (Yoruba) tradition, the first child is named by the Father of the Fathers child, basically my grandad and so he named me out of a situation ‘Adetiloyenile’ meaning the crown has a title at home; I was named this because on the day of my naming my grandfather was being honoured with a title which he did not collect. So, though they might be simila themes surrounding our names, we have different stories.

I will be using the aesthetics of Duane Michals to tell my story but will not be replcating his work, only his style. His stories are his stories, mine are mine, we are two different people, two different artist, so with that being said..

I aim to follow the dominating characteristics of Duane Michals; the use of directorial mode, the juxtaposition of old and new art (painting and photography), the use of friends to shoot rather than models. But I will be staying away from natural lightning, I have business with the real, with the norm, I am more inclined to the mystical, just like Duane Michals but I want to represent reality in a hyper real format, this I will attmept to do with the photographs I aim to represent as paintings and also with the lightning of my scenes.




Postmodernism and the consumer society; Federic Jameson



postmodernism and authenticity- death of the subject

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