DEATH OF THE AUTHOR?

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My post so far so good on post-photograph have mostly centred around the subject of the image. The author of the image, the machinery mechanism in which photography attempts to create art is where photography has failed. What distincts the photograph from the painting  is that we are able to see the hand, the history, the authority, the authenticity of the image as depicted through the authority of his strokes. As established prior to the production of this images, perspective is the authority of the photographer.

What i have tried to do within this collection of photos is construct pictures in a way that they read as paitings by altering the hue in photoshop to create the sense of the mystical by suggesting the absence of realism, restoring the illusion of the image to the picture.

And so i end by saying to Frederic Jameson, the individual is not dead.

BELIEF IS MY PRACTICE, NOT RELIGION.

motifbeliefismypractice

Making this picture took a lot of thinking and careful consideration of how I was represent the 6 word narrative. I thought of the story before i conceived of the image. The meta-narrative of religion as the basis of belief in a Higher being has failed. Religion as an ideology of the faith man has in the supreme being has failed because firstly, God transcends everything that religion is and secondly, what bugs me the most about religion is that they are all saying the same thing. Who gives the fuck about the messenger, did you get the message?! and this message that is the fundamental tenant of life is; love thy neighbour as thyself.

Mistakes are often Misunderstood as Misfortunes.

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THE TITLE TO THIS PICTURE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PICTURES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT. WHAT I AIM TO DEPICT IS THE VULNERABILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL WITHIN THIS PIECE. DOUBT IS A CRUCIAL PART OF LIVING, THIS WE FORGET. TO DOUBT IS TO ENLIGHTEN, DOUBTS MAKE THE FOUNDATION OF KNOWLEDGE. LIKE DOUBTS, MISTAKES ARE THE PILLARS OF KNOWLEDGE. MISTAKES ARE OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD AS MISFORTUNES, THEY ARE NOT MISFORTUNES, ONLY EDUCATION.

A GRAND STORY TELLER; DUANE MICHALS.

‘I had a lot of things on my mind, personal things and psychological things, that I wanted to talk about’ DUANE MICHALS

My admiration for this artist, I think it started from the work ‘fallen angel’, where he tells the story of an angel who had relations with a human woman. The angel loses his wings and awaits her awakening from, but she never wakes up and he leaves. It is not the storytelling that is just interesting to me but more importantly the topics, themes and objects he aims to represent. Duane Michals has said on many occasions that he is not interested in the appearance of thing but rather their philosophy, with this approach he aims to create pictures having the aesthetics of paintings within them.

Duane Michals works usually surround conflicting identities (his heavy use of reflections), sexuality, spirituality and death. He was very interest in the male-female form, but he had no concern with the resolution between them, only the conflict. His creative use of the exposure to create the illusion of the spiritual, or the philosophical, a reading he calls for beyond the appearance of the image.

I am using Duane Michals for a long time I also do have questions and ideas i want to visualise represent and this is why in the first instance the one still image was not enough for me, photography was not enough for me but instead, moving images, video production. For my project I am aiming to replicate the work of Duane Michals. Michals used photography in an exciting way in his time to tell stories and create sequences. For my initial project what i wanted to do was create an affective journey for the spectator by means of a gradual developing shot; in a way that as the shot developed the spectator slowly begins to understand the narrative, i planned (and still plan) to carry my spectator on a rollercoaster of emotions through this developing shot in a that as it zooms out we begin to understand the narrative. BUT I am not a photographer and this idea was informed by my videography experience. After talking to Paul i believe i have found a way to create this sequence, using Duane Michals as a reference point.

MORE ON DUANE MICHALS……

To kick off my project I have likened on of my former video pieces to that of Duane Michals, on of my favourites; This photograph is my proofthis photograph is my proof

I like this work because in a simple image, outside the leading meaning created through the title and writing, we are able to see happiness and comfort through the embrace and her posture, i.e. her head resting on his head, frozen in time. The writing just takes this to another level of satisfaction and deeper level of reading.

Before I continue, I think its noteworthy to mention why Michals writes on his pictures- ‘SEEING WORDS ON A PAGE  PLEASES ME. IT IS LIKE A TRAIL I’VE LEFT BEHIND ME, UNCERTAIN, STRANGE MARKINGS, A PROOF THAT I’VE BEEN THERE’ Michals explained that his photos could be replicated and printed but his hand writing, being his hand writing will always be signifier to his identity, one that cannot be reproduced.

So, continuing, My previous piece called ‘Precious One’ which I made for my then partner whom I loved dearly was to represent her in a way that shows her bringing life to her surroundings by placing her emotions within a beautiful background. Precious One was a tribute to her mother (whose name was Precious) for bringing a ‘gem’ into the world, a tribute to her mother as a tribute to her.

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(click to see video. password- tobeseen.)

What I have done here is to use the words to describe this afternoon, but tweaking it to fit my emotions and what is happening within the frame.

This being one of my submissions as a replication of the work of Duane Michals, a replication I did not aim for in the prior making of this video, but a replication that happened in the understanding of what I had done from the perspective of love from another artist, an inspiration and influence on my work.

 

I will be continuing t0 play around with the aesthetics of Duane Michals, what i am trying to avoid however is falling completely into the trap of pastiche, the failure of the new. I will be suing his aesthetics but telling my own stories, I aim to imprint my authority on my images through the representation of my perspective.

 

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.

THINKING ABOUT MY JOURNEY….

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.

 

 

References

Postmodernism and the consumer society; Federic Jameson

 

 

postmodernism and authenticity- death of the subject

Telling a story in 6 words.

Today we had Sarah Jones as a guest lecturer, boy. I mean I thought I was a digital media nerd but Sarah, boy lol.

I think we all know how to tell stories. Some people are just so naturally good at it, lie my creative friend and partner in crime, Saed Abib, telling stories is second nature to him, after all he is a writer. I think that whats distinct a good story from from a bad one is the coming together of the different parts of the narrative, a shit plot is a bad story.

Sarah Jones taught us about the 6 word story inspired by Ernest Hemingway;

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

—Ernest Hemingway

The original short short story and the inspiration for this website. In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. They paid up. Hemingway is said to have considered it his best work.

(“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”) 

He really did pull it off, I mean the bet. Like wow. This was definitely a *drops mic* moment. All I want to see is his friends face, he must have been like ‘Ernest man! why so deep!’ lol On a serious note, this story is strong because in 6 words you can feel the pain and sorrow of the parent.

Just like the 6 word story, Photography only shows a part of something, a moment in time seized and froze within this frame, a moment the subject has created, leaving the viewer  to fill in the gaps. Just like the 6 word story, photography paints a prior narrative and a subsequent effect following the actions or inactions on the screen. So for argument sake, lets say that the idea of a 6 word story is a picture and the idea of a novel is a film.

 

THINKING ABOUT MY JOURNEY…

what I aim to do is title my projects using the technique of the 6 word story. As explained, I aim to replicate the aesthetics of Duane Michals photography, how he titled his works to tame the understanding of the narratives he created. Walter Benjamin writes that ‘they (photography) demand a specific kind of approach; free- floating contemplation is not appropriate to them. they stir the viewer, he feels challenged by them in a new way….for the first time captions have become obliugatory and it is clear that they have an altogether different character than the title of a painting.’ (Benjamin, 1968. p220)  I aim to create 6 word stories that sends the message of the photograph without even viewing these pictures. I will be telling really personal stories of myself with the 6 word story, the pictures will simply a visual of these stories. I am focusing on these stories before i start to think of the visuals. I am developing the stories at this point and picking what stories I want to tell artistically.

 

REFERENCES

“Benjamin, Walter, Hannah Arendt, and Harry Zohn. Illuminations. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968. Print.

For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”. Six Word Stories. N.p., 2008. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

 

 

To See and To be Seen; the subject as concentric force.

..the gaze may trap the subject, the subject may trap the gaze. This is the function of the screen: to negotiate a laying down of the gaze as in the laying down of a weapon (The Return of the Real. Foster, 1996. 140)’

 

For Buadrillard, the subject is a concentric force. Honestly when i came across this idea in his writings I was a little confused as to the distinction he suggest exist between the subject and the object.

for me the subject is predominantly a concentric force, whereas the object is an extrinsic force- thats more or less how i conceive of the pataphysical‘ (Baudrillard, p42 1997)

the object as an extrinsic force is what pulls the subject, the concentric force, to create the image. How i see it, this pull, this ‘extrinsic force’ is triggered by a desire  that is mediated by the interest of the subject in question. Photography as art has always been questioned and it is because of the absence of the artist that is apparent within photography compared to, say painting. With a painting you are able to see the authority of the artist through his brush strokes. Photography as a mechanical sort of art form requires no strokes but rather, a click of the button. with that being said, the authority of the photographer as the artist of an image is brought into question.

the subject of the photograph is often voiceless, unable to contest his or her depiction. often the photographer barely knows the person, yet the image could be used to define a person or to represent a certain theme‘ (Ritchin, 2009. p150)

The voiceless photographer consequentially produces the art without a hand, a kind of art that distances the subject from his work because we do not see his authority, the photographers position as an artist is thus contested. But this is not true and it is the resolution of this apparent contest that I particular find photography interesting.

The thing is like every other art, it is all about perspective, and this is also true in photography. We might not see the strokes used to form perspective by the photographer, but we see the perspective of a photographer. lets say for example, a friend- Olu and I go to a beach to feel the hot sun on our bare faces and gaze upon the sun set as it begins to sink down into the waters. we both pull out our phones to capture this beautiful (or sublime) moment; based on perspective, our two pictures cannot be the same. It might look the same (which I doubt) but these two pictures are never the same. Olu and I have both experienced this moment, but how we read this moment and then go on to capture this moment on our phones, is based on perspective. The perspective of the photographer is his/her authority upon the image.

THINKING ABOUT MY JOURNEY….

what journey have i made? what story do i have to tell? I have to tell a story in (15) pictures. We have been told to make it personal, create a journey that is personal to us. Lets see how this goes.

References

Baudrillard, Jean and Nicholas Zurbrugg. Jean Baudrillard. London: SAGE Publications, 1997. Print.

Foster, Hal. The Return Of The Real. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996. Print.

Ritchin, Fred. After Photography. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. Print.