ARE WE DREAMING UNDER THE SAME SKY?
¿Soñamos bajo el mismo cielo?
What we see is relative insofar as it is relative to our position in time, then it depends on a variety of other things and conditions. “It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world: „we explain the world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” Berger, John: Ways of Seeing, 1972, title page.
In this catalog/printed matter each image has become part of a discourse comprised in a title of a book, which does not intend to consider its initial meaning, implication or intention.
On the contrary the title are quoted/taken/utilised to prove their own verbal authority. “We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice. […] We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves. Our vision is continually active, continually moving, continually holding things in a circle around itself, constituting what is present to us as we are.” ibid. p. 1.
The concept of this little investigation on the process of image-making as a conceptual tool takes the autonomous potential of academic book titles into consideration and explores the blind spot of their verbal authority. In this specific case the main focus lies on anthropological standard literature for the following reasons.
As it is normally Anthropology and in a wider sense social science, Philosophy, Sociology, Critical Theory, etc. which take a look at how things “look like” to come up with a mainly verbal description to formulate a discourse about it, as this process is to be understood to be most specific and adequate for this purpose. The images in this catalog/printed matter trying to challenge this common assumption and emphasize the imaginary in the verbal.
Therefore I consider a main argument of Arnt Schneiders and Christopher Wright in their publication “Contemporary Art and Anthropology” which proposes: “[…]that anthropology iconophobia and self imposed restriction of visual expression to text based models needs to be overcome by a critical engagement with a range of material and sensual practices in the contemporary arts.”
This experimental approach I am taking here can be understood as such a critical engagement.
What interests me in photography is its obvious location between what we call the real and the imaginary even though the core and origin of its method was the intention to picture and capture what we consider as the factual reality. As it offers the possibility to indicate what is, or to manifest how it was. Nevertheless it can not be avoided that at the same time the image constructed by photographic means will always go beyond this. As each photographic image rather represents a section of reality and the process of splitting off this in time and space.
It is subject to a participatory attitude to what it represents, and at the same time it opposes it.
Berger, John: Ways of seeing. British Broadcasting Cooperation. Pinguin Books. London 1972.
Schneider, Arnd and Wright Christopher (Edts.) : Contemporary Art and Anthropology. BERG, 2006.
(Hiller, Susan. Thinking About Art, ed. by Barbara Einzig. Machester, Manchester University press, 1996. Sontag, Susan. ON PHOTOGRAPHY. Clifford, J. and Marcus , G. (eds.) Writing Culture: The poetics and Politics of Ethnography, Berkley: University of California Press, 1986.)