In my final response to the image lecture series for 2012, I was formally introduced to the background of our new Associate Professor in Photography. First response: discipline history and documentary photographer. He introduced himself from his student days and family history, which brought him to how he shoots today. I felt relieved in a way when listening to him talk about how he found why it was he was photographing what it was he was photographing. As a student myself I am still trying to find not only the reason I am taking photographs, but, what it is I am taking photographs of, as well as to understand myself as a photographer. Thus to hear that he continued shooting into his masters degree still trying to work out what he was photographing years after he started photography, I felt that I didn’t have to know by now. I could still continue my degree, shooting with the question still remaining and still working in the industry. It will be interesting to see how the course changes in the means of images with Chris as I felt he was more of a documentary photographer shooting the lives of the military and security industry, as per his families history within the military and police. I felt listening to him that it was a little monotone for my liking but still interested in his career and how he got to where he was now. For me this was a nice ending to the lecture series on more of a directional heading than an educational experience.
Since the passing Monday I don’t think people have stopped thinking about the lecture or even stopped talking about it. My feeling of the general consensus – mind blowing – Even at the end of the discussion when Adam Jasper questioned Soda_jerk on their work you didn’t want to leave. There should have been another lecture – Soda_Jerk in conversation with Adam Jasper film VS photography. It wouldn’t matter where they took the topic I think everyone would be engaged by the discussion.
In film the image stills are death and film itself is the resurrection of that death, a cycle of the zoetrope as you watch the image come to life and move was the bases for the discussion, this cycle of life and death. We had studied a fair bit of the relationship between photography and film but the lecture was presented in such an interesting way that the audience didn’t want to blink. Two screen projects with the two Soda_Jerk collaboration presenting facts and myths in and out of the cinematic experience. They started with extracts from “Logan’s Run” where the over populated city kills off their population in a spectacle of death, which is conducted inside a carousel. When the carousel spins the humans are killed as they rise to the “sky”. They go on discussing the relationships between actors that have been killed or have passed away and how the film resurrects them now. An interesting point they made about photograph though was that they felt photography was the mummification for the, for a better word, soul, of the actor. It was also interesting how they showed what they thought of an invention of Thomas Edison (early motion picture device), which was thought to be by them an apparatus to speak to the spirit world, the “Ghost Box” Edison had mentioned. The Soda_Jerk lecture was one not to miss out on between the interesting facts and myths and the way they engaged with the audience. Can’t wait for the next one!
Google Street View Rio
On Monday Daniel Palmer who is the senior lecture in Art Theory at Monash University, discussed a topic that was not unfamiliar to me and a topic that had been discussed through the academic and social media mediums. Corporations and their grab for information in particular Google with references to Facebook. Privacy is an obsolete word. The public sphere places constant restrictions on the means private photographers can express their medium and the use/ output of ones images. However this need of the public to restrict photographers from “documenting” the particular situation, out of their need of privacy within the public grounds is under minded by their willingness to hand themselves to bigger corporations. Every individuals steps, are documented by corporations or businesses within the means of CCTV surveillance, yet when Google released “Google Street View” it was met with resistance… These mediums of recording the individual (whether they are willing or not), do not enable the individual with much choice on the amount of information relayed through the medium. Facebook on the other hand, is a choice based medium, in which the individual has the choice to upload as much visual information or documentation about them selves which is placed into an accessible medium by all. Why then are there such restrictions on photographers when documenting the world if it is already currently being committed by corporations such as Google or simply by CCTV’s, and individual’s information is so easily accessible anyway. Corporations are probably one of the best examples of Foucault power. Apple was also touched on in the lecture as Daniel proceeded to inform us he could not access his iPhoto photographs because he did not have an internet-connection. This internet-connection is also required in various apps, in which IP addresses are used as locative devices to show your location on such things as maps. Between Apple and Google alone with their various forms of information collectors, the individual has no way of hiding the simplest of things, let alone having to worry about their face in a photograph. Personally I think some of the restrictions on photographers these days are ridiculous because there is no such thing as privacy to have to worry about.
Lecture 7 in the series yesterday was held again at the Commercial Travelers association. Andrew Benjamin held a round table discussion with Jill Bennett, Samantha Spur, Robert Sinnerbrink and David Burns, the discussion topic reality and photography. The night started with a series of events, there was an interesting projected installation representing the carpet in the hallway, in one room our work was displayed and I felt there was some interesting discussions going on over the work as I wondered around listening to the discussions of my peers and the public. Another room had sushi and paper model making going on and the last room on that level featured the round table discussion. The room was a very formal set up with the chairs surrounding the discussion and I found the topic interesting to talk about but was hard to take in on the night.
“The photograph is not of something the photograph creates something” (Andrew Benjamin)
The discussion kept returning to the question of reality itself, is the photograph reality, is it the image of that object or is it the object itself. Andrew found the best way to explain this through the use of the history of painting because when ever we talk about photography we cannot help but talk about the history of photography in relation to painting. He gave an example of two elements: the first, you have a painting of a place and you want to go there, you celebrate this painting in relation to that place. The second example was that it is not a painting of a lemon, it is the lemon in paint. In response to the discussion photography has two parts, one the camera, which is the tool as the brush of the painter, and second, the photograph as the canvas of the painter. However, the painter paints with paint made from a substance and the photographer produces photographs by the means of capturing light emitting from the actual subject, in short the photographer is using the subject to draw. Without getting into too many of the differences between digital and film, they both use the recording of light. Film at the beginning had to require longer exposures, the result being that the subject was emitting more light into the photographer’s tool so that he could work. Meaning that more of the actual subject was imprinted onto the “canvas”. When the discussion was happening I cant help but feel this was left out. The question of reality in terms of photography then I feel becomes more is the photograph an imprint of the subject/reality or a copy of the subject/reality. In other words is the photograph a portion of reality constrained in this dead image or is it a copy of reality becoming a new reality that represents our reality
Enter the mushroom, view the war history and watch out for the bee shit! Adam Jasper’s lectures/ talks are never boring, despite our current exploration into the boring and banal. Having been one of my lectures last year, Adam’s lecture was one I was disappointed to miss, however, obtaining the recording of the event, it seemed Adam was still finding entertaining and interesting ways of communicating to the audience in a very non-monotone way unlike others. Adam started the discussion with an introduction into the history of the mushroom/water tower, also known as the Commercial Travelers Association. We were provided with a greater understanding of the buildings history, as Adam explained how the building was like a bunker that housed a war memorial and past furniture of the CTA. Keen to convince us that a type of fungous was a protagonist, Adam proceeded to discuss how a fungus killed and wiped out various organisms. Even more interesting and kind of sad was his story about the bio warfare that occurred within Laos and Cambodia that never actually happened. Here the US investigated a bio attack on the locals by the Russian government. It wasn’t until a third party by chance when investigating the event discovered that this bio warfare was simply bee shit falling in the rain… just happened to be yellow spots of shit on everything. After continuing to discuss the fungi situations around the world Adam finally relayed the relevance of all the fungi discussions. He said well it was simple the buildings shape of a mushroom which is a type of fungi and that we were inhaling fungi, in which previously discussing the fungi related deaths that had killed so many… Nice thought. Having missed this very different discussion, I can only imagine the images that were displayed and the reactions on everyone’s face which I’m sure Adam was after.