‘Catalogue’ by Julian Faulhaber.
Book available at Drittel Books.
Wouter Van de Voorde (lives in Canberra, Australia)
We ask artists what inspires them.
Compiled by Zachary Norman.
Corey Bartle-Sanderson, London, UK.
“Sky Studies” by Kyle Seis (b. 1992, based in Milwaukee, USA).
Markus von Platen (b. 1984, Copenhagen, Denmark)
BLOG REBLOG is a project/show, curated by Max Marshall and Paul Paper, which aims to appropriate and reflect the online culture of post-curatorship and how masses of images are spread.
On the occasion of the show’s second run in Austin, I like this blog continues interviews with the photographers paired together for this project.
1. Do you think the role of the author is transformed by the blogosphere?
Athena Torri: I think that today’s authors who get involved in blogging purposefully or unwillingly have to become comfortable with giving up major power over their work. Yes, they made the work, but once it hits the blogosphere it might spread and grow and shift away from their original intentions. I recently saw a small retrospective of a photographer who I really love. I had never seen her work in person and at the show she displayed her images alongside a narrative-like text. I realized that I had been interpreting her images incorrectly, and I enjoyed both interpretations of the work. I think if the work is strong it will have space to let the viewer project their own stuff onto it, while still holding the author’s intent. I think that today authors participate in many more collaborations than they consent too.
Enrico Smerilli: Thinking about the role of the author, I consider Roland Barthes’ essay the ‘Death of the Author’. As a curator within blogosphere, one is empowered to articulate a visual narrative. It can be represented in a linear or non-linear mode of storytelling. Personally, I am intrigued by how people either consciously or unconsciously move through these over-lapping realities. The psychology of a blog is the window to the ’self’. We cannot fully understand that ’self’ without considering the dynamic relationship with the audience. This touches upon the relationship between subject and object, it forces one to look at this exchange. In some ways, we, as authors, become anonymous in a vast landscape of other individuals creating meaning. We can never escape our roles as authors, creating meaning and co-creating visual narrative with others. The nature of the Internet, and perhaps the blogosphere too, is that it is continually changing our definition of identity and community. The blogosphere celebrates that there is never a single interpretation or perspective. It is, rather, a multidimensional space, which on many occasions can feel like a shared authorship.
2. How do you think blogging is changing the way we view images?
Athena: I think that today we see a ton of images every day. Family photos, friend photos, blogs with photos. Today’s viewer is constantly reading images and has a broader understanding of what an image communicates. Today’s media which is largely driven by blogs is relying less on text and more on images. This makes images more abundant and sometimes mediocre. At the same time it’s also creating an interesting dialog and a looseness for the medium that I find refreshing.
Enrico: There is no denial that blogging is changing the way we view images. On any given day, it is a landscape that is saturated with images. Sometimes it can be too much, but I always seem to find inspiration. It is a fascinating study on human behavior. We want to document our lives and the things that hold meaning to us. However, our tendency as human beings to speak through visual language is not something new. There are, of course, arguments from within the professional photography community that the real art and craft of photography is diminished because of the mass consumption of images. On the other hand, it appears to have opened up new interpretations and whereby traditional boundaries between mediums often overlaps. Blogging illuminates the significance of visual images in our lives, it is a deep pool of knowledge. From a metaphysical level, I contemplate how maintaining a blog and our interactions via a pervasive Internet culture creates a dialogue between the physical (known) and the spiritual (unknown). By being able to experience and learn from visual imaginary through a blogging arena, there is often a greater understanding across cultural boundaries. The vast absorption of visual imagery might also open our psyches in unexpected ways.
Athena: 3. Some of your work including the piece I picked for the project uses appropriated visuals. What lead you to use these images and video?
Enrico: The process of reinterpreting images fascinates me. This attraction is demonstrated in the image you’ve selected for BLOG-REBLOG. This image, as part of my Atlanti series, intends to emphasize the connection between the image, the basic concept of photographic language, and its relative observation. The random composition that is created on the page reveals two images set against the light. This allows for new hypotheses to be represented and explored. The use of appropriated images in my work always challenges me, it is often a new dialogue when reinterpreting images and/or when combining photography and video as one exploration.
Enrico: 3. I read in your biography that you were born in Italy and have Ecuadorian origins. I, also, read that you live in the United States and have been there for sometime now. How has your origins and time in Italy influenced your work? Specifically, is there anything within your series “Where Ever We Will Find Paradise” that explores these geographic locations or experiences in those countries and as a work in progress?
Athena: I constantly think about how my origin affects my work, in one major way in which it always has affected my work is that as a default I am concentrating on subjects that are not familiar to me. In my series “The Outsider” I am looking a style of woodworking that is American. In America woodworking can be a family thing – something fathers pass on to sons. Being neither a son or an American I found a disconnect there… When making my new work in Italy, I was looking at the Alps in which I grew up. These mountains are full of lineage and memories for me. For my Italian family “Passeggiate” or hikes are essentially religious in their nature. My grandmother and grandfather married in those Alps. The title of the new work “Dove Mai Troveremo Il Paradiso” (Where Ever We Will Find Paradise) comes from a quote written on a picture of my grandmother on the day of her wedding. I take that quote very literally when making this new work. I am finally looking at something I know well – hiking is very instinctual for me. It is something that my family has passed on to me, so as a result the images I am making feel familiar. But I think a common symptom of being a part of three different cultures is that even here in this aspect of my life to which I feel very close I can find disconnect. Never truly having had the time to dig my feet into any of these three cultures, I find that I am always observing my cultures from the eyes of a visitor.