Page 1

#49

PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR — Lucie Award

The 19th Century in the 21st Century

Back to the Future


2  4

FEATURES

81 

CATCHING LIGHT

185 

SENSING TIME

WHAT’S NEW?

83

ANNA ATKINS

187

JANNEMAREIN RENOUT

Simone Bergantini, Willem Popelier, Aaron Schuman, Kenneth Bamberg

8

SELF PORTRAIT Aneta Bartos

12

INTERVIEW Anne-Marie Beckmann & Max Houghton

 18

BACK TO THE FUTURE by Kim Knoppers & Ann-Christin Bertrand

 27  29

TRANSFORMING MATTER SAM FALLS Text by Aram Moshayedi

37

KHADIJA SAYE Text by Karin Bareman

47

Text by Hans Rooseboom

91

AUGUST STRINDBERG & SYLVIA BALLHAUSE

101 113



PHOTO AFFECT Text by Caroline von Courten

LIZ NIELSEN Text by Liz Sales

127 

LIGHT EPISTEMOLOGIES Text by Claus Gunti

133 

LEAVING TRACES

135

THOMAS MAILAENDER Text by Luce Lebart

143 153

195

MATTHEW BRANDT

205

GOLD & SILVER

221



AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

TIM BARBER THEO SIMPSON Text by Mirjam Kooiman

231  237  239

SENSING TIME Text by Liz Sales

MAPPING THE WORLD DOUGLAS MANDRY Text by Mirjam Kooiman

247

SPIROS HADJIDJANOS & KARL BLOSSFELDT Text by Kim Knoppers

257

Text by Luce Lebart

179

Editorial

Text by Jörg Colberg

Text by Jörg Colberg

165

RAPHAËL DALLAPORTA Text by Kim Knoppers

WITHO WORMS Text by Hinde Haest

3

Text by Taco Hidde Bakker

CHRIS MCCAW Text by Allie Haeusslein

Text by Kim Knoppers

75

JESSICA EATON Text by Rose Bouthillier

BOWNIK Text by Andrew Berardini

65

Marloes Krijnen Editor-in-Chief

Contents

DREW NIKONOWICZ Text by Hinde Haest

267

Text by Lewis Bush

TREVOR PAGLEN Text by Trevor Paglen

275

KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU Text by Ben Burbridge

In recent years there have been signs of a fascinating new development in photog­raphy: in making use of the latest digital technologies, part of the medium is moving further and further away from the traditional notion of what photography is, entering into a world of computer-generated images, augmented realities and virtual spheres. At the same time, at the other end of the spectrum, we see a powerful resurgence of interest in the early pioneering years of photography. Instead of acceleration there is a reduction in speed, with new value being placed on a slow process of creation that allows room for workmanship and craft. In short, for the process of physical manufacture. A striking number of relatively young photographers are making use of time-honoured nineteenth-century photographic techniques and methods, and deploying them in entirely contemporary, often extremely relevant artistic practice. Under the title Back to the Future, this ­issue of Foam Magazine focuses on analogies between nineteenth-century photography and that of our own time. The correspondence stretches far further than simply the use of certain archaic techniques. Technology is ultimately ­instrumental, never a nostalgic end in itself. More important is the resemblance in mentality. In the early years of photography, in the mid-nineteenth century, it was not yet a crystalized,

standardized medium. It was a time of experimentation, of trying and testing, of openness, potential and opportunities, a time when much, if not everything, was possible, simply because little was fixed and the medium was developing rapidly. Uncertainty about the nature, the essence and the future of photography also typified the first few years of the new millennium. Digitization, which changed everything, led to a fundamental, ontological interrogation of the medium. What was photography now? What could it become? Some talked of a crisis or even the end of photog­raphy. Others saw the change as a liberation, a catharsis, that stripped the medium of limiting notions. If nothing was certain, then everything was open and everything was possible again. This realization prompted a desire for experimentation, for cross-fertilization, with countless hybrid forms and new ways of relating to the world through images. And to a rediscovery of the ­earliest years of photography in which, alongside recognition, aspects were ­discovered that proved to be of value for our own time. In five chapters, loosely organized around the themes of materiality, light, traces, time and mapping, Back to the Future brings together a group of contemporary artists whose work, techniques or methods have much in common with their nineteenth-century

equivalents. The inclusion of work by artists of some 150 years ago functions as a poetic referent. It is important to realize that this is anything but a matter of hard science. It has more to do with loose but pertinent associations, such that work by specific artists might equally well have been ordered differently. It is an openness that, in our view, fits perfectly with the theme and concept of Back to the Future. Some of these artists also feature in the exhibition of the same name initiated by our curator Kim Knoppers, which will open at Foam in early 2018. We are very pleased that our colleagues at C/O Berlin recognized the contemporary relevance of such an exhibition at an early stage, thereby creating the opportunity to come together to develop further both the exhibition and this issue of Foam Magazine. C/O Berlin will present a version of this exhibition in autumn 2018. Finally, we are justifiably proud to announce that in late October, in the ­Carnegie Hall in New York, Foam Magazine received a Lucie Award for the Best Photography Magazine of the Year. A fantastic honour and one that I am eager to share with everyone who cares about Foam Magazine, who supports it, buys it and reads it. Without you, this would not have been possible. Thank you, and here’s to many more wonderful issues.


2  4

FEATURES

81 

CATCHING LIGHT

185 

SENSING TIME

WHAT’S NEW?

83

ANNA ATKINS

187

JANNEMAREIN RENOUT

Simone Bergantini, Willem Popelier, Aaron Schuman, Kenneth Bamberg

8

SELF PORTRAIT Aneta Bartos

12

INTERVIEW Anne-Marie Beckmann & Max Houghton

 18

BACK TO THE FUTURE by Kim Knoppers & Ann-Christin Bertrand

 27  29

TRANSFORMING MATTER SAM FALLS Text by Aram Moshayedi

37

KHADIJA SAYE Text by Karin Bareman

47

Text by Hans Rooseboom

91

AUGUST STRINDBERG & SYLVIA BALLHAUSE

101 113



PHOTO AFFECT Text by Caroline von Courten

LIZ NIELSEN Text by Liz Sales

127 

LIGHT EPISTEMOLOGIES Text by Claus Gunti

133 

LEAVING TRACES

135

THOMAS MAILAENDER Text by Luce Lebart

143 153

195

MATTHEW BRANDT

205

GOLD & SILVER

221



AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

TIM BARBER THEO SIMPSON Text by Mirjam Kooiman

231  237  239

SENSING TIME Text by Liz Sales

MAPPING THE WORLD DOUGLAS MANDRY Text by Mirjam Kooiman

247

SPIROS HADJIDJANOS & KARL BLOSSFELDT Text by Kim Knoppers

257

Text by Luce Lebart

179

Editorial

Text by Jörg Colberg

Text by Jörg Colberg

165

RAPHAËL DALLAPORTA Text by Kim Knoppers

WITHO WORMS Text by Hinde Haest

3

Text by Taco Hidde Bakker

CHRIS MCCAW Text by Allie Haeusslein

Text by Kim Knoppers

75

JESSICA EATON Text by Rose Bouthillier

BOWNIK Text by Andrew Berardini

65

Marloes Krijnen Editor-in-Chief

Contents

DREW NIKONOWICZ Text by Hinde Haest

267

Text by Lewis Bush

TREVOR PAGLEN Text by Trevor Paglen

275

KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU Text by Ben Burbridge

In recent years there have been signs of a fascinating new development in photog­raphy: in making use of the latest digital technologies, part of the medium is moving further and further away from the traditional notion of what photography is, entering into a world of computer-generated images, augmented realities and virtual spheres. At the same time, at the other end of the spectrum, we see a powerful resurgence of interest in the early pioneering years of photography. Instead of acceleration there is a reduction in speed, with new value being placed on a slow process of creation that allows room for workmanship and craft. In short, for the process of physical manufacture. A striking number of relatively young photographers are making use of time-honoured nineteenth-century photographic techniques and methods, and deploying them in entirely contemporary, often extremely relevant artistic practice. Under the title Back to the Future, this ­issue of Foam Magazine focuses on analogies between nineteenth-century photography and that of our own time. The correspondence stretches far further than simply the use of certain archaic techniques. Technology is ultimately ­instrumental, never a nostalgic end in itself. More important is the resemblance in mentality. In the early years of photography, in the mid-nineteenth century, it was not yet a crystalized,

standardized medium. It was a time of experimentation, of trying and testing, of openness, potential and opportunities, a time when much, if not everything, was possible, simply because little was fixed and the medium was developing rapidly. Uncertainty about the nature, the essence and the future of photography also typified the first few years of the new millennium. Digitization, which changed everything, led to a fundamental, ontological interrogation of the medium. What was photography now? What could it become? Some talked of a crisis or even the end of photog­raphy. Others saw the change as a liberation, a catharsis, that stripped the medium of limiting notions. If nothing was certain, then everything was open and everything was possible again. This realization prompted a desire for experimentation, for cross-fertilization, with countless hybrid forms and new ways of relating to the world through images. And to a rediscovery of the ­earliest years of photography in which, alongside recognition, aspects were ­discovered that proved to be of value for our own time. In five chapters, loosely organized around the themes of materiality, light, traces, time and mapping, Back to the Future brings together a group of contemporary artists whose work, techniques or methods have much in common with their nineteenth-century

equivalents. The inclusion of work by artists of some 150 years ago functions as a poetic referent. It is important to realize that this is anything but a matter of hard science. It has more to do with loose but pertinent associations, such that work by specific artists might equally well have been ordered differently. It is an openness that, in our view, fits perfectly with the theme and concept of Back to the Future. Some of these artists also feature in the exhibition of the same name initiated by our curator Kim Knoppers, which will open at Foam in early 2018. We are very pleased that our colleagues at C/O Berlin recognized the contemporary relevance of such an exhibition at an early stage, thereby creating the opportunity to come together to develop further both the exhibition and this issue of Foam Magazine. C/O Berlin will present a version of this exhibition in autumn 2018. Finally, we are justifiably proud to announce that in late October, in the ­Carnegie Hall in New York, Foam Magazine received a Lucie Award for the Best Photography Magazine of the Year. A fantastic honour and one that I am eager to share with everyone who cares about Foam Magazine, who supports it, buys it and reads it. Without you, this would not have been possible. Thank you, and here’s to many more wonderful issues.


What’s New?

What’s New?

5

Simone Bergantini

Willem Popelier

A Private View of a New Work

4

My new work Trophies brings together two strongly linked ­projects: the same-titled photo-series and an installation of a gold-coated fitness trail. The work is a reflection about victory, analyzed through the visual suggestions of two key aspects: goals and trails. I think we live in an era in which we represent ourselves through social networks only as winners, so I imagined creating this great showcase of black and white, strange trophies, using only fragments of other people victories. The second part of the work is a real fitness path I realized with an architecture ­studio; an impassable golden gym, a suitable space for mind training. Next year, these two projects will take shape in a book published by Skinnerboox.

SIMONE BERGANTINI (b.1977, IT) is a photographic artist who is also currently teaching photography at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. He has exhibited his photographs in museums and private galleries in Europe, the United States, and Asia. His work has been published in magazines including Der Greif, Blow andVice. Bergantini is currently represented by the ­Galleria Pack in Milan. He was ­featured as a Foam Talent in 2009.

On 13 November 2015 my wife and I had dinner in La Belle Equipe in Paris. It was noisy and crowded that night, so we c­ancelled dessert and went to our hotel room across the street. When we entered our room we heard a loud noise. I looked out the window and witnessed one of the shootings in Paris that night. 21 people were killed on the terrace of La Belle Equipe and 109 people more in other places in Paris (such as the Bataclan). This experience is the starting point of new work, focusing on theories of safety, social vulnerability and the framing of (­violent) events within mass media. In the media symbols are produced to make a visual representation of events that cannot be fully represented in images.

WILLEM POPELIER (b.1982, NL) researches the generally accepted ways in which images are used, and how identity is represented and perceived. Thus his focus is mostly on popular culture, the ubiquitous image and its effects on society. His recent projects include Your Weekly President, showing 427 speeches of Obama in an installation, and The Do-It-Yourself-Guide, a guide reflecting the use and morals of the selfie. His work is exhibited worldwide, and awarded and nominated with several prizes including a C/O Berlin Talent, a Bronze Medal for Best Books of the World, and nominated for the ICP Infinity Award, among others. Popelier was featured in Foam Magazine #25 Traces in 2010.


What’s New?

What’s New?

5

Simone Bergantini

Willem Popelier

A Private View of a New Work

4

My new work Trophies brings together two strongly linked ­projects: the same-titled photo-series and an installation of a gold-coated fitness trail. The work is a reflection about victory, analyzed through the visual suggestions of two key aspects: goals and trails. I think we live in an era in which we represent ourselves through social networks only as winners, so I imagined creating this great showcase of black and white, strange trophies, using only fragments of other people victories. The second part of the work is a real fitness path I realized with an architecture ­studio; an impassable golden gym, a suitable space for mind training. Next year, these two projects will take shape in a book published by Skinnerboox.

SIMONE BERGANTINI (b.1977, IT) is a photographic artist who is also currently teaching photography at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. He has exhibited his photographs in museums and private galleries in Europe, the United States, and Asia. His work has been published in magazines including Der Greif, Blow andVice. Bergantini is currently represented by the ­Galleria Pack in Milan. He was ­featured as a Foam Talent in 2009.

On 13 November 2015 my wife and I had dinner in La Belle Equipe in Paris. It was noisy and crowded that night, so we c­ancelled dessert and went to our hotel room across the street. When we entered our room we heard a loud noise. I looked out the window and witnessed one of the shootings in Paris that night. 21 people were killed on the terrace of La Belle Equipe and 109 people more in other places in Paris (such as the Bataclan). This experience is the starting point of new work, focusing on theories of safety, social vulnerability and the framing of (­violent) events within mass media. In the media symbols are produced to make a visual representation of events that cannot be fully represented in images.

WILLEM POPELIER (b.1982, NL) researches the generally accepted ways in which images are used, and how identity is represented and perceived. Thus his focus is mostly on popular culture, the ubiquitous image and its effects on society. His recent projects include Your Weekly President, showing 427 speeches of Obama in an installation, and The Do-It-Yourself-Guide, a guide reflecting the use and morals of the selfie. His work is exhibited worldwide, and awarded and nominated with several prizes including a C/O Berlin Talent, a Bronze Medal for Best Books of the World, and nominated for the ICP Infinity Award, among others. Popelier was featured in Foam Magazine #25 Traces in 2010.


8

Self Portrait

A Self-Portrait Feature

ANETA

BARTOS

Self Portrait In a self-portrait feature Aneta Bartos and her body building father explore the complexities of the father-daughter relationship. Once a year Bartos travels back to her small hometown in Poland, where she was raised by her father as a single parent from the age of eight until she turned sixteen, and together in a series of re-envisioned memories they create Family P­ortrait. Set within a domestic environment with her father as her subject, they take on ­performative and suggestive poses in which their relationship seems to draw upon many possible, unsettling and yet gripping scenarios.

9

In Family Portrait, conceived by an expansion of Bartos’s previous body of work Dad, she ­inclusively enters the photographs. Her very fit 74-year-old father and his fully bloomed daughter frequently pose semi-nude in a space where the depiction of the unclothed body should not quickly be diminished to a simple reading of purely sexuality and gaze. Bartos’s work is often charged with exploring, manipulating and challenging such a gaze. As the ­natural process of ageing occurs, something a bodybuilder doesn’t like to think of, it becomes a poignant element of the series.


8

Self Portrait

A Self-Portrait Feature

ANETA

BARTOS

Self Portrait In a self-portrait feature Aneta Bartos and her body building father explore the complexities of the father-daughter relationship. Once a year Bartos travels back to her small hometown in Poland, where she was raised by her father as a single parent from the age of eight until she turned sixteen, and together in a series of re-envisioned memories they create Family P­ortrait. Set within a domestic environment with her father as her subject, they take on ­performative and suggestive poses in which their relationship seems to draw upon many possible, unsettling and yet gripping scenarios.

9

In Family Portrait, conceived by an expansion of Bartos’s previous body of work Dad, she ­inclusively enters the photographs. Her very fit 74-year-old father and his fully bloomed daughter frequently pose semi-nude in a space where the depiction of the unclothed body should not quickly be diminished to a simple reading of purely sexuality and gaze. Bartos’s work is often charged with exploring, manipulating and challenging such a gaze. As the ­natural process of ageing occurs, something a bodybuilder doesn’t like to think of, it becomes a poignant element of the series.


12

Interview

Interview

13

Inside the Deutsche Bรถrse Photography Foundation A conversation with Anne-Marie Beckmann

by Max Houghton


12

Interview

Interview

13

Inside the Deutsche Bรถrse Photography Foundation A conversation with Anne-Marie Beckmann

by Max Houghton


Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Back to the Future™, 1985 Š courtesy of Universal Pictures

18

19

Back to the Future by Kim Knoppers, curator Foam

Ann-Christin Bertrand, curator C/O Berlin

With special thanks to Elisa Medde, managing editor of Foam Magazine


Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Back to the Future™, 1985 Š courtesy of Universal Pictures

18

19

Back to the Future by Kim Knoppers, curator Foam

Ann-Christin Bertrand, curator C/O Berlin

With special thanks to Elisa Medde, managing editor of Foam Magazine


28

Transforming Matter

Since its inception, photography has been a magical medium, some­times resembling alchemy in which intangible matter could be turned into gold. When Newhall stated that ‘Light not only forms images, but changes the nature of many substances’, it follows that to observe the process of the changing matter itself is spiritual, and somewhat transcendent. A sense of magic for the discovery of photographic techniques in the nineteenth century went hand in hand with a renewed interest in alchemy, and in the possibility that one could grasp the unknown and incomprehensible with the aid of science – be it technology or chemistry. This also triggered a necessity to reflect on the deep, spiritual meaning of change and decay, be it of latent images, photographic supports, or its bodily effects. See, for example, the work of August Strindberg who tried to transform immaterial light into material by means of pho­­tographic techniques. Both then and now, it is as if photo­ graphers are real alchemists, turning matter from one sub­stance into another. Transforming some­ thing immate­rial – whether meta­ physical, natural, super­natural or spiritual – into some­thing with a tangible form is still an important moti­vator when experimenting

with the material qualities of the photographic medium; with the effects that chemical pro­ cesses have on paper, or with the incidental events that influence the end result. Behind these material qualities lies a significance that goes beyond the photographic surface. Here, tactility and physical contact often have an important part to play. The works in this chapter are the result of an exchange or interaction between different elements.

Sam Falls Plein Air

29


28

Transforming Matter

Since its inception, photography has been a magical medium, some­times resembling alchemy in which intangible matter could be turned into gold. When Newhall stated that ‘Light not only forms images, but changes the nature of many substances’, it follows that to observe the process of the changing matter itself is spiritual, and somewhat transcendent. A sense of magic for the discovery of photographic techniques in the nineteenth century went hand in hand with a renewed interest in alchemy, and in the possibility that one could grasp the unknown and incomprehensible with the aid of science – be it technology or chemistry. This also triggered a necessity to reflect on the deep, spiritual meaning of change and decay, be it of latent images, photographic supports, or its bodily effects. See, for example, the work of August Strindberg who tried to transform immaterial light into material by means of pho­­tographic techniques. Both then and now, it is as if photo­ graphers are real alchemists, turning matter from one sub­stance into another. Transforming some­ thing immate­rial – whether meta­ physical, natural, super­natural or spiritual – into some­thing with a tangible form is still an important moti­vator when experimenting

with the material qualities of the photographic medium; with the effects that chemical pro­ cesses have on paper, or with the incidental events that influence the end result. Behind these material qualities lies a significance that goes beyond the photographic surface. Here, tactility and physical contact often have an important part to play. The works in this chapter are the result of an exchange or interaction between different elements.

Sam Falls Plein Air

29


64 a distinctly worldly, social power. The shaman’s territory was both the other­ worldly and the natural. His power ethe­ real, cosmic, far-out, transcendental, metaphysical, preternatural, supernatu­ ral, paranormal, abnormal, often psy­ chedelic, and certainly weird. The stars write cursive script on the inside of his eyelids, and water whispers tidal s­ ecrets and riparian babble into her inner ear. The shaman giggles with the stones and weeps with the rain, can tickle the soil and read in the wind’s caresses the coming season, the distant storms, eons of change. Like Issa, the shaman can look into the eye of a dragonfly and see the mountains reflected behind him. Though every culture has their own way of dealing with the unknown mysteries and different figures to do it, one area of knowledge where the shaman regularly beats the Big Kahuna is plants. Though we forget some magic, others are eternal. Not even thousands of years of cultivation can knock away the wild spit of the dribbling peach, the unruly hustle of the vintner’s vine, or the rebel yell of invasive grasses. We can still play god to potted spider ferns but the last of the shaman’s words are most truly whispered back to us during the full moon, tides riding high, our steady eyes pierce the shadows, and the lunacy of the ancients cavorts with the laughter of witches and the rutting tunes of Pan’s pipes and Satan’s laugh (one and the same according to some).  Though we lost much of our plant m ­ agic, it’s no surprise that it was a monk (a distant descendant of our spiritual fore­ bears) sometime in the nineteenth cen­ tury who discovered through agriculture and science one of the great secrets of life, dubbed by subsequent scientists genetics. Not even brainy Darwin could nail discontinuous inheritance (he tried out pangenesis, but that song didn’t sing). The gardening Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel, in coupling the ­abbey’s peas realized he could breed for traits, with some dominant and others reces­ sive. It took a few years after his death for his work to be re-discovered and hurrahed in 1900, and another century for its heirs, Watson and Crick, to un­ weave the rainbow of the human ge­ nome. Even now scientists (still clerics in all but name most of the time), putter and experiment, discover and rediscover some of the long-held secrets of life. We splice and bend these genes with great regularity and yet unknown dangers.

Bownik

August Strindberg Celestographs

Though we can slash and chop the recipe, the breaking and unbreaking of plants can involve more mechanical play. Cracking a plant isn’t always just crack­ ing its genes. To dismantle the architec­ ture is to discover its contours. The slit stem reveals the flowing veins, the bro­ ken leaf bleeds sap, the fleshy body holds some secrets. Life is not a toaster to take apart and put back together again, its pulse is too fragile for rough handlings, but to disassemble and reassemble is to discover the subtlety of form, the strange and fractal beauty of plants, and to build from its parts a whole. The accoutrements of re-enlivening the dead give us splashes of colour, both natural and man-made (though the dis­ tinction is flexible at best). Translucent tape attempts to unbreak the neck of a flower, a web of string holds together the carefully numbered parts of an un­ dismantled flower, orange plastic and checkered binders make for rudimentary cyborgs. Can we bring the dead back to life? Can we animate them with art? The numbers and tape and string and glue, all the simple products that put the plants back together after their surgical separation, they don’t restore the spark of life. To observe is to change the thing you’re observing, live vivisection reveals its own sinister knowledge, once known impossible to unknow. To witness some mysteries is to kill them. To witness some mysteries is only to create new ones.

All images from the series Disassem­ bly © Bownik, ­courtesy of the artist

65


64 a distinctly worldly, social power. The shaman’s territory was both the other­ worldly and the natural. His power ethe­ real, cosmic, far-out, transcendental, metaphysical, preternatural, supernatu­ ral, paranormal, abnormal, often psy­ chedelic, and certainly weird. The stars write cursive script on the inside of his eyelids, and water whispers tidal s­ ecrets and riparian babble into her inner ear. The shaman giggles with the stones and weeps with the rain, can tickle the soil and read in the wind’s caresses the coming season, the distant storms, eons of change. Like Issa, the shaman can look into the eye of a dragonfly and see the mountains reflected behind him. Though every culture has their own way of dealing with the unknown mysteries and different figures to do it, one area of knowledge where the shaman regularly beats the Big Kahuna is plants. Though we forget some magic, others are eternal. Not even thousands of years of cultivation can knock away the wild spit of the dribbling peach, the unruly hustle of the vintner’s vine, or the rebel yell of invasive grasses. We can still play god to potted spider ferns but the last of the shaman’s words are most truly whispered back to us during the full moon, tides riding high, our steady eyes pierce the shadows, and the lunacy of the ancients cavorts with the laughter of witches and the rutting tunes of Pan’s pipes and Satan’s laugh (one and the same according to some).  Though we lost much of our plant m ­ agic, it’s no surprise that it was a monk (a distant descendant of our spiritual fore­ bears) sometime in the nineteenth cen­ tury who discovered through agriculture and science one of the great secrets of life, dubbed by subsequent scientists genetics. Not even brainy Darwin could nail discontinuous inheritance (he tried out pangenesis, but that song didn’t sing). The gardening Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel, in coupling the ­abbey’s peas realized he could breed for traits, with some dominant and others reces­ sive. It took a few years after his death for his work to be re-discovered and hurrahed in 1900, and another century for its heirs, Watson and Crick, to un­ weave the rainbow of the human ge­ nome. Even now scientists (still clerics in all but name most of the time), putter and experiment, discover and rediscover some of the long-held secrets of life. We splice and bend these genes with great regularity and yet unknown dangers.

Bownik

August Strindberg Celestographs

Though we can slash and chop the recipe, the breaking and unbreaking of plants can involve more mechanical play. Cracking a plant isn’t always just crack­ ing its genes. To dismantle the architec­ ture is to discover its contours. The slit stem reveals the flowing veins, the bro­ ken leaf bleeds sap, the fleshy body holds some secrets. Life is not a toaster to take apart and put back together again, its pulse is too fragile for rough handlings, but to disassemble and reassemble is to discover the subtlety of form, the strange and fractal beauty of plants, and to build from its parts a whole. The accoutrements of re-enlivening the dead give us splashes of colour, both natural and man-made (though the dis­ tinction is flexible at best). Translucent tape attempts to unbreak the neck of a flower, a web of string holds together the carefully numbered parts of an un­ dismantled flower, orange plastic and checkered binders make for rudimentary cyborgs. Can we bring the dead back to life? Can we animate them with art? The numbers and tape and string and glue, all the simple products that put the plants back together after their surgical separation, they don’t restore the spark of life. To observe is to change the thing you’re observing, live vivisection reveals its own sinister knowledge, once known impossible to unknow. To witness some mysteries is to kill them. To witness some mysteries is only to create new ones.

All images from the series Disassem­ bly © Bownik, ­courtesy of the artist

65


Silvia Ballhause The Strindberg Gold Sample

August Strindberg

73

Celestographs Ballhause points to this in her researchbased The Strindberg Gold Sample (2011), taking as her starting point Strindberg’s claim that ‘gold is sunshine photographed and fixed.’ By means of the chemicals used in photography and the workings of light, Strindberg managed to create surfaces that gleam like gold. Goldcoloured sparkles can also be seen in his celestographs, although the gold there is moonlight photographed and fixed.

— Text by Kim Knoppers The most celebrated of all polymaths is, of course, renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) who attempted to understand nature by means of meticu­ lous observation and detailed drawing. The thickness of tree branches, the light of the moon, the mysterious presence of seashells high in the mountains; Da Vinci wrote and drew beautifully and meaningfully about it all. He was also interested in finding the soul by study­ ing the internal structure of the human body. Sadly, he never found it. Less well known but with interests as broad was August Strindberg (1849–1912). A cultural omnivore and father of ­modern Swedish literature, he did not just write fiction and plays but threw himself into essays, cultural analyses and autobiography. He also engaged in radically experimental painting and photography. When he was struck down by writer’s block and a mental crisis in the late 1880s, a period known as his Inferno years, he began to experiment in natural science. He published his findings in his Blue Books, which bring together chemistry, botany, astronomy, alchemy and optics. Strindberg began experimenting with photography as early as 1865. Distrust­ ing photographic equipment for its de­ parture from, and disturbance to, reality, he began making his own cameras out of cigar boxes. He also produced photo­ grams — photographs made without a lens or indeed any kind of camera. A photogram in which magical goldcoloured specks glow out of a brown and blue surface is part of his suggestive ­Celestography series. This nineteenthcentury alchemist smeared p ­ hotographic plates with salts in solution, before

p.65 ­ xposing them to the night sky and e shortly afterwards plunging them into developing fluid. During his Inferno crisis Strindberg became convinced he was on his way to discovering a number of scientific truths, one of which was that all mate­ rial, even if seemingly lifeless, has the potential to transform and grow. The artist had no influence on the actual creation of the image, and Strindberg therefore concluded that the picture was the product of nature, automatism and chance. This self-acting power was comparable to the life force of plants and animals and underlined his belief that images were natural creations. ­Resemblances between the organic and the non-organic confirmed that the same life forces are at work everywhere. His interest in the occult brought Strindberg to the early alchemists, who attempted to transform matter and were obsessed with the need to discover how to make gold out of other materials. Con­temporary artist and curator Sylvia

Strindberg sent his photograms to Camille Flammarion, astronomer and founder of Société Astronomique de France, hoping to receive scientific endorsement. This was in vain. The photo­grams were of course not evidence of successful scientific experiments, they merely reflected the chemical ­reaction between the salt solutions, the paper and light. Atmospheric particles, or specks of dust in the developing fluid, became suggestive impressions of a starry sky. Art historian Douglas Feuk has called this ‘the materialization of dreams’. Strindberg was convinced that nature had a spiritual quality, revealed to us by a number of obscure and impalpa­ ble signs. The suggestive celestographs can be ­regarded as reflecting a restless, way­ ward, occasionally deranged soul. Al­ though August Strindberg’s fame does not approach that of Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps he was more successful at find­ ing and capturing the soul. His own soul, at least. All images from the series Celesto­ graphs © August Strindberg, ­courtesy of The National Library of Sweden Flickr account Image from the series The Strindberg Gold Sample © Sylvia Ballhause, courtesy of the artist


Silvia Ballhause The Strindberg Gold Sample

August Strindberg

73

Celestographs Ballhause points to this in her researchbased The Strindberg Gold Sample (2011), taking as her starting point Strindberg’s claim that ‘gold is sunshine photographed and fixed.’ By means of the chemicals used in photography and the workings of light, Strindberg managed to create surfaces that gleam like gold. Goldcoloured sparkles can also be seen in his celestographs, although the gold there is moonlight photographed and fixed.

— Text by Kim Knoppers The most celebrated of all polymaths is, of course, renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) who attempted to understand nature by means of meticu­ lous observation and detailed drawing. The thickness of tree branches, the light of the moon, the mysterious presence of seashells high in the mountains; Da Vinci wrote and drew beautifully and meaningfully about it all. He was also interested in finding the soul by study­ ing the internal structure of the human body. Sadly, he never found it. Less well known but with interests as broad was August Strindberg (1849–1912). A cultural omnivore and father of ­modern Swedish literature, he did not just write fiction and plays but threw himself into essays, cultural analyses and autobiography. He also engaged in radically experimental painting and photography. When he was struck down by writer’s block and a mental crisis in the late 1880s, a period known as his Inferno years, he began to experiment in natural science. He published his findings in his Blue Books, which bring together chemistry, botany, astronomy, alchemy and optics. Strindberg began experimenting with photography as early as 1865. Distrust­ ing photographic equipment for its de­ parture from, and disturbance to, reality, he began making his own cameras out of cigar boxes. He also produced photo­ grams — photographs made without a lens or indeed any kind of camera. A photogram in which magical goldcoloured specks glow out of a brown and blue surface is part of his suggestive ­Celestography series. This nineteenthcentury alchemist smeared p ­ hotographic plates with salts in solution, before

p.65 ­ xposing them to the night sky and e shortly afterwards plunging them into developing fluid. During his Inferno crisis Strindberg became convinced he was on his way to discovering a number of scientific truths, one of which was that all mate­ rial, even if seemingly lifeless, has the potential to transform and grow. The artist had no influence on the actual creation of the image, and Strindberg therefore concluded that the picture was the product of nature, automatism and chance. This self-acting power was comparable to the life force of plants and animals and underlined his belief that images were natural creations. ­Resemblances between the organic and the non-organic confirmed that the same life forces are at work everywhere. His interest in the occult brought Strindberg to the early alchemists, who attempted to transform matter and were obsessed with the need to discover how to make gold out of other materials. Con­temporary artist and curator Sylvia

Strindberg sent his photograms to Camille Flammarion, astronomer and founder of Société Astronomique de France, hoping to receive scientific endorsement. This was in vain. The photo­grams were of course not evidence of successful scientific experiments, they merely reflected the chemical ­reaction between the salt solutions, the paper and light. Atmospheric particles, or specks of dust in the developing fluid, became suggestive impressions of a starry sky. Art historian Douglas Feuk has called this ‘the materialization of dreams’. Strindberg was convinced that nature had a spiritual quality, revealed to us by a number of obscure and impalpa­ ble signs. The suggestive celestographs can be ­regarded as reflecting a restless, way­ ward, occasionally deranged soul. Al­ though August Strindberg’s fame does not approach that of Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps he was more successful at find­ ing and capturing the soul. His own soul, at least. All images from the series Celesto­ graphs © August Strindberg, ­courtesy of The National Library of Sweden Flickr account Image from the series The Strindberg Gold Sample © Sylvia Ballhause, courtesy of the artist


82

Catching chapter title Light

Nothing is so essential for photo­ graphy as light. English scientist, chemist and historian John William Draper was the first to make a detailed photograph of the full moon, in 1840. He not only wrote in light but was able, at a very early stage, to capture an extremely important source of light. Photographers and artists have never lost their fascination with catching light and giving it a material form; it is an inex­ haustible theme both for the nineteenth-century pioneers and for contemporary artists. In the nineteenth century it was mainly a matter of scientific interest, whereas now it has more to do with the thorough investigation of light as a material. The explo­ration of light triggered a wide plethora of experiments in the nineteenth century: from different uses of visible light, to the investigations of the spectrum normally invisible to the naked eye, to the unveiling of what is normally hidden by matter and the absence of light (X-rays). Light is a tool, but first and foremost a source. The nine­ teenth century witnessed also the arrival of electric light – a new source that could compensate and substitute the lack, or the absence, of natural light. Over time possi­ bilities grew exponentially, up to nowadays in which the screen

– be it the TV, computer, tablet or telephone – is perceived as a source of light in itself. The discourse can be expanded in a more philosophical sense: if the sun has been the primary source of light, of life, what informed our knowledge of the world and ruled nature and its rhythms, the screen now competes with these func­ tions. It’s a source of information, it establishes alternative, indi­ vidual rhythms and influxes. In many cases, it informs our direct experi­ence of life, be it natural or artificial.

Anna Atkins Cyanographs

83


82

Catching chapter title Light

Nothing is so essential for photo­ graphy as light. English scientist, chemist and historian John William Draper was the first to make a detailed photograph of the full moon, in 1840. He not only wrote in light but was able, at a very early stage, to capture an extremely important source of light. Photographers and artists have never lost their fascination with catching light and giving it a material form; it is an inex­ haustible theme both for the nineteenth-century pioneers and for contemporary artists. In the nineteenth century it was mainly a matter of scientific interest, whereas now it has more to do with the thorough investigation of light as a material. The explo­ration of light triggered a wide plethora of experiments in the nineteenth century: from different uses of visible light, to the investigations of the spectrum normally invisible to the naked eye, to the unveiling of what is normally hidden by matter and the absence of light (X-rays). Light is a tool, but first and foremost a source. The nine­ teenth century witnessed also the arrival of electric light – a new source that could compensate and substitute the lack, or the absence, of natural light. Over time possi­ bilities grew exponentially, up to nowadays in which the screen

– be it the TV, computer, tablet or telephone – is perceived as a source of light in itself. The discourse can be expanded in a more philosophical sense: if the sun has been the primary source of light, of life, what informed our knowledge of the world and ruled nature and its rhythms, the screen now competes with these func­ tions. It’s a source of information, it establishes alternative, indi­ vidual rhythms and influxes. In many cases, it informs our direct experi­ence of life, be it natural or artificial.

Anna Atkins Cyanographs

83


Jessica Eaton MF05

91


Jessica Eaton MF05

91


100

Jessica Eaton

Chris McCaw Sunburn

MF05 — Text by Rose Bouthillier existed but could if we wanted — particularly if we gave up our attachment to representing the visual world as we perceive it.’ These deviations invoke the psychedelic; intense, dreamlike colours that gesture beyond our limited senses. As the beginning of Eaton’s foray into a new process, these works are speculative; a set of ‘answers’ to a problem that gesture towards variety ad infinitum.

Jessica Eaton’s photographic practice is experimental and labour-intensive, pushing the basic components of the medium to their limits. Beginning in the studio with a large-format film ­camera, each image or series develops as a pictorial, sculptural and durational exercise, at once systematic and illogical. The results are confounding, carefully planned accidents that query vision and its tenuous relationship to knowing. Colour has long been a focus of Eaton’s work; how it can be pulled apart and put back together, and how it might be ­detached from representation. In her long-running cfaal series (an abbreviation of ‘Cubes for Albers and LeWitt’), Eaton captures grey-scale geometric objects on colour negatives; building up complex volumes with multiple exposures and colour filters. But there are ­inherent limits to commercially available film and printing processes, tied as they are to RGB colour systems and natu­ ralistic tendencies. Just as the pursuit of ‘realism’ motivated photography’s development, it continually masks the fundamental ways in which every image is an abstraction. Eaton has long been fascinated by what we don’t see; wavelengths m ­ oving though our world that can only be sensed by other beings or ­technologies. To explore these unknowns, Eaton has turned to separation negatives and ­colour carbon printing — methods used to produce some of the oldest colour photographs. Red, green, and blue light is captured on separate black and white negatives; this information is then trans­ ferred to layers of pure cyan, ­magenta, and yellow pigments suspended in lightsensitive gelatin emulsion. In this way, each colour becomes an entirely isolated and potentially arbitrary variable — once ‘blue’ is recorded, it can be output as ‘red,’ or any other colour. Multiple sepa-

p. 91 rations can be scrambled and combined; add to this the ability to filter for ultraviolet and infrared light (both invisible to the human eye), and increasingly surreal variations result. For UVBGRIR (2014/2015), Eaton used the carbon process to present a single floral arrangement through a variety of chromatic formulas. MF 05 / Tricolour V 02: (R > R, G > G, B > B) Registered matches input to output, ­reproducing the flowers in hyper-real lush saturation. Its Unregistered companion keeps the exposures in their original, unaligned positions; it reads like vision being pulled apart, kaleidoscopic vibrations that defy focus. From there the series depart into p ­ alettes both historic and propositional. MF 05 / Tricolour V 06: (IR > R, R > G, G > B) after Kodak Aerochrome, recreates the formula of a discontinued infrared film. (While Aerochrome’s surreal effects made it popular with artists, the proliferation of infrared films is closely tied to military and surveillance purposes. Ways of seeing are never neutral). Other variations are entirely new possibilities, as Eaton describes ‘colour films that never

While the flowers themselves might appear sentimental, calling up references such as Dutch still life vanitas and iconic moments in photographic history, their repetition acts against such associations (as does the series’ objective, formulaic titles). Like the cubes preceding them, Eaton chooses her botanical models as conduits that deliver a unique set of photographic possibilities. While electro-magnetically complex, bouquets are pictorially redundant. For that reason it’s easy to get lost in these images and their unfamiliar chroma; the subject ­recedes in the spectrum, allowing something deeper to surface­.

All images Colour Carbon Prints from the series MR05, 2014/2015 © Jessica Eaton, courtesy of the a ­ rtist and Higher Pictures (NY), M+B (LA), Galerie Antoine ­Ertaskiran (Montreal) Images in order of appearance: — Tricolour V 02: (R > R, G > G, B > B) Registered — Tricolour V 03: (R > R, R(^c) > G, G > B) — Tricolour V 06: (IR > R, R > G, G > B) after Kodak Aerochrome — Tricolour V 05: (B > R, G(d) > G, R(b/d+^c) > B) — Tricolour V 04: (G > R, M > G, B > B) — Tricolour V 07: (IR > B, B/UV > G, R > R) custom IR/UV — Tricolour V 08: (MF 04 (d/b) + MF 05 (d/b)) + (- MF05 G03) ­Unregistered — Tricolour V 01: (R > R, G > G, B > B) Unregistered

101


Liz Nielsen Force Fields

113


Liz Nielsen Force Fields

113


Liz Nielsen

126

Catching Light

Force Fields

mix three or four colors without getting white or black. This is like playing C, D, and G on the guitar and then learning to play 4 fingered bar chords.’

— Text by Liz Sales Through the work of Anna Atkins, many of us are familiar with the term ‘photogram’ — a camera-less photograph made by placing objects onto light-sensitive material to create a negative shadow image. Atkins, arguably the first female photographer and undisputedly the first person to publish a photobook, began releasing fascicles of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843. Each page of each volume in this landmark edition was uniquely made by placing dried algae directly onto cyan paper then exposing it to sunlight to yield elegant white botanical outlines with handwritten nomenclature against a rich Prussian Blue backdrop. Atkins’ scientific rigour and formal mastery are intrinsically linked to the photogram and all camera-less photographers are, to some measure, a part of her legacy. Liz Nielsen is a Brooklyn-based artist who creates camera-less photographs in a a colour darkroom, using handmade negatives. She uses an enlarger, as well as natural and found light sources — such as flashlights, bicycle lights, lasers and cell phones — to create distinct prints which feel like landscapes distilled into abstract shapes and luminous colours. Like traditional colour darkroom printing, Nielsen must work in complete darkness because colour photo-paper is sensitive to the entire spectrum of light. This environment allows for ­rigorous light-based experiments in order to create highly specific colours. Nielsen explains, ‘What really draws me into a photograph is light. So I have

p. 113 always been interested in working with light itself. I can get richer colors in the d ­ arkroom than I can digitally. I think this is because there is a depth to photo-paper, while a digital image just sits on the sur­face of an inkjet print or a screen.’ The artist’s understanding of the visible colour spectrum is palpable in her prints which make colour feel like a tangible object. Nielsen builds her own contact negatives of abstract shapes, cut from colour transparencies. These are then assembled and reassembled into different configurations printing multiple exposures onto a single sheet of photo-paper. Each exposure has a different negative configuration and colour balance — ­created by mixing different ratios of yellow, ­magenta and cyan light. The artist expands, ‘I feel I have reached a point in this process where I am building more complex harmonies of color. At first, I could only make one color in the darkroom, or mix two colors to create a third. As I experimented, I learned to

Like pioneering nineteenth-century photographers who experimented in creating new forms of image making, Nielsen’s experiments are highly meticulous and procedural. Each piece is totally unique. The artist explains, ‘I think uniqueness is important in contemporary art. There is such a multiplicity of imagery because of digital technology, any given person has 25,000 photographs on their phone. I like building something that takes time, and exists as just itself.’ While the irreproducibility of and technical rigour of her practice are reminiscent of nineteenth-century photographers like Atkins, the formal qualities of Nielsen’s work evokes twentieth-century movements like Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field Painting. This may be due to her affection for negative space. When visualizing her compositions, she will often begin with representational shapes, pluck out the negative space around them, then layer these new shapes on top of each other in order to create abstractions. Her luminous colours in these recontextualized spaces have a hypnotic effect, as if culled from physical space and folded in on themselves, a transcendence through abstraction. All images from the series Force Fields © Liz Nielsen, courtesy of the artist, Next Level Gallery (Paris) and Danziger Gallery (New York)

Light Epistemologies Text by Claus Gunti

127


Liz Nielsen

126

Catching Light

Force Fields

mix three or four colors without getting white or black. This is like playing C, D, and G on the guitar and then learning to play 4 fingered bar chords.’

— Text by Liz Sales Through the work of Anna Atkins, many of us are familiar with the term ‘photogram’ — a camera-less photograph made by placing objects onto light-sensitive material to create a negative shadow image. Atkins, arguably the first female photographer and undisputedly the first person to publish a photobook, began releasing fascicles of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843. Each page of each volume in this landmark edition was uniquely made by placing dried algae directly onto cyan paper then exposing it to sunlight to yield elegant white botanical outlines with handwritten nomenclature against a rich Prussian Blue backdrop. Atkins’ scientific rigour and formal mastery are intrinsically linked to the photogram and all camera-less photographers are, to some measure, a part of her legacy. Liz Nielsen is a Brooklyn-based artist who creates camera-less photographs in a a colour darkroom, using handmade negatives. She uses an enlarger, as well as natural and found light sources — such as flashlights, bicycle lights, lasers and cell phones — to create distinct prints which feel like landscapes distilled into abstract shapes and luminous colours. Like traditional colour darkroom printing, Nielsen must work in complete darkness because colour photo-paper is sensitive to the entire spectrum of light. This environment allows for ­rigorous light-based experiments in order to create highly specific colours. Nielsen explains, ‘What really draws me into a photograph is light. So I have

p. 113 always been interested in working with light itself. I can get richer colors in the d ­ arkroom than I can digitally. I think this is because there is a depth to photo-paper, while a digital image just sits on the sur­face of an inkjet print or a screen.’ The artist’s understanding of the visible colour spectrum is palpable in her prints which make colour feel like a tangible object. Nielsen builds her own contact negatives of abstract shapes, cut from colour transparencies. These are then assembled and reassembled into different configurations printing multiple exposures onto a single sheet of photo-paper. Each exposure has a different negative configuration and colour balance — ­created by mixing different ratios of yellow, ­magenta and cyan light. The artist expands, ‘I feel I have reached a point in this process where I am building more complex harmonies of color. At first, I could only make one color in the darkroom, or mix two colors to create a third. As I experimented, I learned to

Like pioneering nineteenth-century photographers who experimented in creating new forms of image making, Nielsen’s experiments are highly meticulous and procedural. Each piece is totally unique. The artist explains, ‘I think uniqueness is important in contemporary art. There is such a multiplicity of imagery because of digital technology, any given person has 25,000 photographs on their phone. I like building something that takes time, and exists as just itself.’ While the irreproducibility of and technical rigour of her practice are reminiscent of nineteenth-century photographers like Atkins, the formal qualities of Nielsen’s work evokes twentieth-century movements like Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field Painting. This may be due to her affection for negative space. When visualizing her compositions, she will often begin with representational shapes, pluck out the negative space around them, then layer these new shapes on top of each other in order to create abstractions. Her luminous colours in these recontextualized spaces have a hypnotic effect, as if culled from physical space and folded in on themselves, a transcendence through abstraction. All images from the series Force Fields © Liz Nielsen, courtesy of the artist, Next Level Gallery (Paris) and Danziger Gallery (New York)

Light Epistemologies Text by Claus Gunti

127


132

Catching Light

mum, creating an imprint devoid of camera, depiction, artistic agency and even light rays travelling through space, as the image is created on the surface of the photosensitive paper itself. The interest for images created by contact, without any technical device — such as in Liz Nielsen’s colour photograms — constitutes an important tendency in the contemporary photogra­ phic production, which reflects interrogations tackling the limits of the medium. Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs’ Light of Other Days series relies on direct positive prints on baryta paper — a coated emulsion paper developed in the 1860s — in order to create a unique original with specific formal characteristics (fig. 4)5. The eerie images are the result of experiments with light and exposure producing a visual world somewhere between avantgarde experiments and spirit photography. Accident, despite a meticulous technical preparation, multiple experimentations and extensive research on available photosensitive material, thus constitutes a key para­ meter of their endeavour. Light as source, but also as symptom of nineteenthcentury scientific practices, can be found in the work of numerous artists as the photographic enters research protocols of various disciplines. While Chris McCaw’s sun burnt prints (Sunburn series, started in 2003) with multiple hour exposure times echo Jules Janssen’s pho­ tographic revolver used to record Venus’ transit across the sun in 1874, Nicolai Howalt’s Light Break Wave­ lengths series reflects upon the use of light by the physi­ cian Niels Ryberg Finsen in the newly developed science of phototherapy. Examples are multiple, and if the work of individual artists cannot be reduced to their relation­ ship to nineteenth-century visual culture, it is note­ worthy that nearly every photographic technique and scientific use of photography has been addressed and re-interpreted through countless experimental forms.

If these para-photographic endeavours6 represent an incredible creative potential, the question of the rela­ tionship between photography and depiction has still to be addressed. In such an image-laden environ­ment — humanity will produce more than one trillion images in 2017 — the artistic response to this issue might be found somewhere in-between Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s 6 meter non-figurative photogram experimentally documenting a day in which nobody died in Afghanistan (The Day Nobody Died, 2008), Joe Hamilton’s multi-layered interfaces reflecting new conceptions of space (e.g. Regular Division, 2014) and Ed Atkins’s performative poetry using a computergenerated avatar (fig. 5). Somewhere between the representation of a physical space with natural light, a world shaped by artificial sources emitted by screens and the virtual light generated by computer software, representational signs of the increasing hybridization and complexification of reality.

1 See Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity, New York, Zone Books, 2007. 2 See Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War, Washington, Philp & Solomons, 1866 (available on https://archive.org/details/ GardnersPhotographicSketch­ BookOfTheWar). 3 Wolfgang Tillmans for example has only started creating ab­stract images in the late 1990s (i.e. some of the 60 unique editions for Parkett No. 53 in 1998), Thomas Ruff in the early 2000s (i.e. Substrat series, 2001-2007), Jörg Sasse in the late 2000s (i.e. Lost Memories series, 2009). 4 See Renata Catambas (ed.), Raphael Hefti, Zurich, JRP Ringier, 2014. 5 The prints are gathered in the artist’s book Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Light of Other Days, Baden, Kodoji Press, 2013. 6 While the term para-cinema is commonly used to describe experi­ mental film experiments in the 1960s and 1970s (e.g. Ken Jacobs or Anthony McCall), the term paraphotography usually refers to the depiction of paranormal events (e.g. Ted Serios’ ‘thoughtographs’ on P ­ olaroid in the 1960s). Yet, the term proves useful to describe ­recent works on the fringes of pho­ tography. See Claus Gunti, ‘Post-, para- et champs élargis: quelques réflexions sur les catégories alter­ natives à la photographie et au ­cinéma’, ­Décadrages, No. 21-22 (Cinéma élargi), Winter 2012.


Leaving

Traces


134

Leaving Traces

The nineteenth century was the century of photography and industrialization, two elements that are inextricably linked. Cities were built with new materials, railway tracks cut across the land­ scape and mining slashed scars into hills and valleys. Human beings now had a far-reaching influence on the natural environ­ ment and nineteenth-century photography frequently portrayed this process. It is given a face in the daguerreotypes in Silver & Gold, with portraits of anonymous nineteenth-century gold seekers. The Anthropocene era dawned, in which man and the natural world are no longer considered separate entities but a single whole, a complex network of actors that influence each other. Photography is also what allowed us to track down and visualize these origins. Our species left more and more visible traces on the earth and we now realize that the effect is irreversible. Those traces are left not just in the physical landscape but in the form of all kinds of objects that symbolize consumer society. Thomas Mailaender shows this in his Skin Memories. He ex­ perimented with various analogue printing techniques on leather. The source material that he printed was derived from pictures of objects that, together, form a kind

of museum of sometimes absurd modern life. His work can be seen as a contemporary version of a portrait of humankind. Photography in the nineteenth century also played a big role in the construction of our modern sense of memory, alongside tech­nological developments, moral norms and social notions that shaped our society and the planet for the centuries to come. More­over, the nineteenth century carried a strong sense of wonder and trust for the future accomplishments human kind would make which we now look at with a sense of nostalgia, at best, and betrayal at worst. In the background, photography paved the way for that mass access to means of image reproduction that today we call democratization of the photographic medium, which was fully accomplished with digital photography.

Thomas Mailaender Skin Memories

135


134

Leaving Traces

The nineteenth century was the century of photography and industrialization, two elements that are inextricably linked. Cities were built with new materials, railway tracks cut across the land­ scape and mining slashed scars into hills and valleys. Human beings now had a far-reaching influence on the natural environ­ ment and nineteenth-century photography frequently portrayed this process. It is given a face in the daguerreotypes in Silver & Gold, with portraits of anonymous nineteenth-century gold seekers. The Anthropocene era dawned, in which man and the natural world are no longer considered separate entities but a single whole, a complex network of actors that influence each other. Photography is also what allowed us to track down and visualize these origins. Our species left more and more visible traces on the earth and we now realize that the effect is irreversible. Those traces are left not just in the physical landscape but in the form of all kinds of objects that symbolize consumer society. Thomas Mailaender shows this in his Skin Memories. He ex­ perimented with various analogue printing techniques on leather. The source material that he printed was derived from pictures of objects that, together, form a kind

of museum of sometimes absurd modern life. His work can be seen as a contemporary version of a portrait of humankind. Photography in the nineteenth century also played a big role in the construction of our modern sense of memory, alongside tech­nological developments, moral norms and social notions that shaped our society and the planet for the centuries to come. More­over, the nineteenth century carried a strong sense of wonder and trust for the future accomplishments human kind would make which we now look at with a sense of nostalgia, at best, and betrayal at worst. In the background, photography paved the way for that mass access to means of image reproduction that today we call democratization of the photographic medium, which was fully accomplished with digital photography.

Thomas Mailaender Skin Memories

135


Witho Worms Cette montagne c’est moi

143


Witho Worms Cette montagne c’est moi

143


Thomas Mailaender

151

Skin Memories — Text by Luce Lebart

sitized surface. Soon, however, no discernible image remained because he had not discovered how to fix them.

Skin is a sensitive surface. On 12 August 1736, Benjamin Franklin, the groundbreaking inventor of the lightning rod, relates an incident about a man standing in the doorway of his house who had been struck dead by lightning and was found with an exact representation of a nearby tree, as if imprinted, on his chest. A similar case of ‘Lightning Figure’ ­Photographed was shared with the Royal Meteorological Society at its annual meeting of March 1857. When struck by lightning, six sheep had been killed and ‘when the skins were taken from the animals, a fac-similé of a portion of the surrounding scenery was visible on the inner surface of each skin.’ Clearly, skin is a sensitive surface activated, in this case, by a flash of lightning to produce images. In reality, ‘lightning pictures’ are a well-known phenomenon, having been observed and mentioned in writing as far back as 360 A.D. It was Georg Christoph Lichtenberg who, in 1777, carried out the first experiments to successfully reproduce this phenomenon. Following electrostatic discharges, he occasionally discovered images on the surface or the interior of insulating materials that had first been dusted with a powder. Lichtenberg gave his name to the fascinating fractal images appearing on bodies struck by lightning. Another unexplained phenomenon ­involving the production of images on flesh is often seen on ships, especially those with sails. Mariners had the super­ stitious habit of fastening a horseshoe to the very top of the foremast to ward off bad spirits, but it also acted as a conducting rod. The image of this horseshoe could frequently be found, after a lightning strike, on the skin of those who had been struck. These accidental

p. 135 brandings call to mind the pre-photographic, and rather barbaric, practice of marking repeat offenders and career criminals with a red-hot iron. The practice is still in use today on livestock for identification purposes. For h ­ uman beings, this archaic identification technique was definitively abandoned at the end of nineteenth century with the development of police and forensic photography. Paper and gelatin prints replaced burning on skin. Photographic images cannot exist without light. In 1802, not long after ­Franklin’s reports of images appearing on human flesh began to circulate widely in Europe, the English Thomas ­Wedgwood became interested in reproducing visible images on surfaces. The first surface used for photosensitive ­images was none other than animal hide tanned to prevent rotting, commonly known as leather. Wedgwood first coated the leather with a layer of silver nitrate and then exposed it to ambient light, ­after placing an object on the sen-

In the second half of the nineteenth century, with the advent of photography, the phenomenon of image production by lightning found its explanation in this new visual mode. Human skin is a saline environment, frequently coated with ­saline aqueous matter, as is the salted paper or calotype. And this epidermis is a potential surface for the creation of images like any other, such as paper, glass, stone but also metal or fabric, all possibilities explored by various pioneers and practitioners of the new medium. In its capacity for fascination, the new medium of photography was rivaling meteorological phenomena. The latter are often considered as manifestations of a divine or superhuman being. And photographic images made possible by the light sensitivity of certain compounds were equated with the effects of weather. What is a rainbow if not the image of the sun against a sheet of misty rain? What are illusory mirages other than objects appearing to the observer through the filter of the atmosphere playing the role of a complex optic machine? Light, the conductor of the spectacular symphony of phenomena in the sky, is certainly also essential to photographic images. As Wedgood essays, Thomas Mailaender’s experiments on leather involved silver salts but also iron salts. The artist worked closely with the Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessey tannery’s chemists, who became experimenters as well, aiming at reproducing images not only on the surface of the leather, but more deeply and on a lasting basis. All images from the series Skin Memories © Thomas Mailaender, courtesy of the artist


Witho Worms

152

Matthew Brandt Bridges Over Flint / Stepping Stone Falls

Cette montagne c’est moi

p. 143 — Text by Hinde Haest Cette montagne c’est moi (2006–2011) is a celebration of craftsmanship and materiality. The series consists of 68 extra­ ordinary carbon prints depicting slag heaps from the largely dismantled coal mining industries in Belgium, France, Wales, Germany and Poland. Dutch photographer Witho Worms photographed the mountains and produced his images using the now obsolete carbon printing process. The process was mostly used between 1864 — when it was perfected and patented by Joseph Wilson Swan — until about 1930. It owes its name to the emulsion of gelatin and carbon pigments with which the paper was coated. The process was — and is again increasingly — celebrated for its capacity to achieve exceptional detail, nuanced texture, subtle colour hues and sooty grey scales. It proved to be highly stable and therefore durable, and facilitated black-in-black printing, one of the greatest challenges in printing. For this reason it became a favorite amongst Pictorialists — the first artistic ‘school’ of photography — and was widely used for art reproductions. The carbon printing process is also complicated and labour-intensive. It requires craftsmanship and special ­materials, not the least of which is a large format camera. The carbon print is the same size as the negative, ergo the larger the print, the larger the camera. Though contemporary developments

have made enlarging less challenging, Worms still shot his images with a 11×20 inch large format camera, which he carried with him to 68 different sites in five different countries. The physical strenuousness and lengthy duration of this five-year endeavour gives the ­project the air of a pilgrimage. Even more so given the fact that Worms accumulated coal from each respective slag heap he photographed and used it as pigment for his prints. This makes the subject physically integral to the object that is to represent it — enshrined in a paper relic. With this, the work goes beyond the nostalgic reminiscence of a disappearing landscape or the revival of a discontinued analogue process. It becomes a metaphysical reflection on the relationship between the real and the imagined. In the photographs of Worms this relationship is both literal — the image consists of what it depicts — and metaphoric; coal was the catalyst of E ­ uropean industrialization and all the socio-political consequences that followed in its wake. It also lay the foundation for the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951, the predecessor of the European Union. The raw material for Worms’ prints at once embodies war, peace,

wealth, poverty, inequality, climate change, and the list continues. ­Working mid-crisis, the artist described the significance of European industrial heritage sites as not merely historic, but as contemporary and immediate; ‘Now that the Western economies are wavering, the black pyramids can be seen as the burial mounds of an effectively bankrupt capitalist system.’ Reproducing the work of Witho Worms in this magazine — or any — is ­effectively impossible. The prints are unique and their physicality is pivotal to their ­esthetic and meaning. Worms cleverly and patiently manages to circumvent the inherent characteristic of the photo­ graph — its reproducibility — by reproducing it. Worms’ conceptualism is consistent throughout his work, testify his subsequent project 1 Two Tree (2015). The first part, called 1: A Clean Sheet (White on White), consists of a series of 30 carbon prints, each consisting of three layers of titanium white on single weight baryta paper. With his minimalist white-in-white printing, Worms both masters and inverts the quintessence of the carbon printing process — and the long-standing proof of a photographer’s proficiency — the capacity to print blackin-black. All images from the series Cette montagne c’est moi © Witho Worms, courtesy of the artist

153


Unknown Gold & Silver

165


Unknown Gold & Silver

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Leaving Traces

Gold & Silver — Text by Luce Lebart be worn, but they pose with two pistols in their belt, and fire in their eyes. The taste for adventure flows in their veins. They embody one side of the new American dream — immediate wealth, obtained in a flash with a mixture of boldness and luck. Most commonly these men had their portrait taken just after they disembarked from the ship or before they departed. The mostly itinerant daguerreotypists also moved to the towns that were mushrooming near the rivers and turbines.

The Argonauts When the lips of flesh in dust shall lie, And death’s gray film o’erspreads the beaming eye, Then Vance’s pictures, mocking at decay, Will still be fresh and vivid as to-day. — Daguerreotypist Robert Vance, San Francisco, advertisement, circa 1850 We generally associate photographs of the past with dusty, yellowed ­images. In fact, we often call historical photographs ‘old’ but this is a complete paradox. Those who were amongst the very first to take up photography were at the leading edge of technology at a time when everything was possible and so much remained to be invented and perfected. Embracing photography at the dawn of the medium was as adventurous and high-tech as augmented reality is today. In the middle of the nineteenth century, in the United States, early followers of photography were adventurers with hopes of making a fortune. Famous Boston photographer Albert Sands Southworth recalled this headlong surge ‘Into the practice of no other business or art was there ever such an absurd, blind, and pell-mell rush.’ eA wide ranging diversity was seen among those prospectors who hastily left for the west in the mid-nineteenth century. As the New York Herald put it in 1849 ‘Poets, philosophers, lawyers, brokers, bankers, merchants, farmers, clergymen, all are feeling the impulse and are preparing to go and dig for gold and swell the number of adventurers to the new El Dorado.’The early daguerreotypes of the gold rush are as creative as they are in-

p. 165 novative. Each copper plate is scarcely a millimetre thick, and the silver-plated image layer is minuscule. Nonetheless, an inconceivable clarity and great depth is created by an array of tones that fluctuate from cyan to magenta. On 24 January 1848, a carpenter found gold in a sawmill near Coloma that belonged to the Swiss-born landowner John Sutter. The discovery was confirmed in March by the San Francisco journalist and businessman Samuel Brannan. A flask of gold in his hand, he ran through the town crying ‘Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!’ Some months later, the gold rush was on; thousands of prospectors flooded California. They were called ‘forty-niners’  — commemorating the first year they ­arrived en masse. Some of these hardy pioneers lingered long enough to challenge the camera lens with an intense stare. Teenagers and old-timers alike, they are tired but exude energy. Their clothes might

When the first men arrived, most of the lodes were in the public domain and access to the gold was free. California was not yet a state and the region had neither laws nor a licensing or tax system. The forty-niners established their own rules to resolve their conflicts in the Wild West. Not surprisingly, along with their headgear and their pans, pistols became one of the prospectors’ main tools. Adventurers and photographers came together to cultivate a representation opposed to propriety by making provocative, staged images. Here, the respectable model was not the prince but the bandit. Photographs were usually taken at a singular moment in the history of each individual. The sitters had given themselves the opportunity to change the course of their lives profoundly and in record time. All the other forms of self-expression that accompany these daguerreotypes — correspondence, notebooks, and drawings — reflect this new affirmation of individual identity. All of the images have been taken from the Collection of the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada. Samples of the donation of 11,000 daguerreotypes and associated materials from The Origins of Photography gift by Archive of Modern Conflict to CPI. Images courtesy RVB Books, Paris

At the Speed of Light Text by Lewis Bush

179

Photography and the Construction of Modernity

Unknown

178


186

Sensing Time

century predecessors, Raphaël Although we experience time in very different ways, standard time Dallaporta undertakes expeditions into the past, but using highwas agreed upon in the nine­ tech equipment. He photographs teenth century as a result of train the first images made by people travel and weather forecasting. Nevertheless, the concept of time and also captures deep time, the time trapped in geological remains abstract. It is fleeting and layers of the earth. Photography immaterial, yet today’s world let us transform time itself into relies on it utterly. Photo­graphy something observable, even and time go together like water ! a tool itself; we can visualize and fire. They cannot exist with or into Block 4 Text time, and make art out of it, like without each other. In the nine­ omsteker in the work of Jannemarein teenth century the necessary Renout. From that point on, each expo­sure time seemed intermi­ new technology allowed us to nable, whereas now a photo can experience time and its actions be taken in a nanosecond. The differently, more and more indi­ fascination with time in the early vidually. Today an articulated, decades of photography is also expressed in the choice of subject. personalized and continuous system of notifications, alarms and Archaeology came into being at intervals has replaced what was the same time as photography, a linear, universal and rhythmic bringing with it the scientific flow. As writer Adam Greenfield fascination for material remains puts it, ‘Time has been diced into and human traces from long segments between notifications.’ ago. Photography was an aid to Ironically, to place ourselves out of archaeology, and photographers this continuous, personalized and such as Félix Teynard (1817-1892) technology based system of time accompanied expeditions to the segments is somehow perceived Ottoman Empire (including what as being inherently out of time. are now Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey). The camera was impor­ tant in the rediscovery of long lost civilizations. It was a tool for providing visual evidence for a new science that derived information about the past from artefacts discovered during excavations. Like his nineteenth-

Jannemarein Renout SCAN 2400

187


186

Sensing Time

century predecessors, Raphaël Although we experience time in very different ways, standard time Dallaporta undertakes expeditions into the past, but using highwas agreed upon in the nine­ tech equipment. He photographs teenth century as a result of train the first images made by people travel and weather forecasting. Nevertheless, the concept of time and also captures deep time, the time trapped in geological remains abstract. It is fleeting and layers of the earth. Photography immaterial, yet today’s world let us transform time itself into relies on it utterly. Photo­graphy something observable, even and time go together like water ! a tool itself; we can visualize and fire. They cannot exist with or into Block 4 Text time, and make art out of it, like without each other. In the nine­ omsteker in the work of Jannemarein teenth century the necessary Renout. From that point on, each expo­sure time seemed intermi­ new technology allowed us to nable, whereas now a photo can experience time and its actions be taken in a nanosecond. The differently, more and more indi­ fascination with time in the early vidually. Today an articulated, decades of photography is also expressed in the choice of subject. personalized and continuous system of notifications, alarms and Archaeology came into being at intervals has replaced what was the same time as photography, a linear, universal and rhythmic bringing with it the scientific flow. As writer Adam Greenfield fascination for material remains puts it, ‘Time has been diced into and human traces from long segments between notifications.’ ago. Photography was an aid to Ironically, to place ourselves out of archaeology, and photographers this continuous, personalized and such as Félix Teynard (1817-1892) technology based system of time accompanied expeditions to the segments is somehow perceived Ottoman Empire (including what as being inherently out of time. are now Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey). The camera was impor­ tant in the rediscovery of long lost civilizations. It was a tool for providing visual evidence for a new science that derived information about the past from artefacts discovered during excavations. Like his nineteenth-

Jannemarein Renout SCAN 2400

187


Raphaël Dallaporta Chauvet – Pont d’Arc, L’inappropriable

195


Raphaël Dallaporta Chauvet – Pont d’Arc, L’inappropriable

195


Jannemarein Renout

203

SCAN 2400 — Text by Taco Hidde Bakker First impressions tempt one to compare Jannemarein Renout’s camera-less yet photographic images to certain modernist tendencies in painting. The ­image world resulting from Renout’s idiosyncratic scanning process appears to be firmly rooted in twentieth-century ­explorations in painting, and are reminiscent of some of Bridget Riley’s Op art paintings from the 1960s — albeit not as stern as those — or a broadly brushed and brightly coloured, so called Abstract Painting by Gerhard Richter. Just like in the case of Riley’s images carrying strong optical effects, Renout’s works do not seem to be meant solely to produce visual responses in the spectator. The striped images reflect (on) nature and the landscape, while these elements are woven into appearances that surpass the sum of their constitutive parts. Renout scans the landscape — water, land, sky — using a portable, office type flatbed scanner from which she removed its light source, which functions to brightly and evenly illuminate the document or object on the glass pane, and works somewhat akin to a whitebalancer in a camera. Although we are used to, and expect of, a scanner to make a copy of a document as truthful to the original as possible, in Renout’s method the light reflecting off the relatively distant land or water is read out in colourful bytes, translating into a rather offbeat scanograph (or shall we name this process renography — following Man Ray’s photogrammatic rayograph?). The contingency of weather flows into the scans accounting for the variety of the lines and patterns and as Renout moves with her wireless scanner out in the open, movement and duration

p. 187

become important elements too. She asked herself how she would be able to trans­mit the passing of time onto a two-dimensional plane by employing a photographic process. In her series SCAN2400 from 2015, which was exhibited as part of the group exhibition Quickscan NL#02 (2016) at the Neder­ lands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam, ­individual titles refer to how Renout ­experienced the weather conditions ­under which she made the scans, such as Breezy, Probability of precipitation, A little muggy with spotty thunder, and Today is going to feel very much like summer (NB scanned in mid-November). None of the weather conditions, however, can be inferred from the scans and must be imagined by the spectator. More striking is the way Renout has transferred her own free-floating motion through the landscape in dialogue with her adapted appa­ratus, itself on the contrary ­operating according to strict mechanical motion, onto flat image surfaces that

saliently reflect the convergence of these opposite types of movement. Part of that convergence occurs later, in the ­studio and on the computer when ­Renout ­creates composite landscapes by overlapping different strips from scanned landscapes and skyscapes. The final ­archival prints, framed and mounted, are exhibited vertically, running counter to the horizontality that has come to ­define the landscape format. The horizon is put at a quarter of a turn. This peculiar metamorphosis of the land, the ­water and the weather, evoking the slats of window blinds. A scanner as a window flipping between opening and closing the view on the landscape. If Renout’s work were to be situated in a photographic rather than a painterly context, her approach is in line with the inquisitive and experimental approaches to the Dutch landscape in relation to bodily motion, perception and methods of measured observation, as practiced by photographers or artists such as Ger van Elk, Jan Dibbets and Hiryczuk / Van Oevelen, while on a more superficial level the multi-coloured minimalist abstractness looks more in keeping with recent trends in photography.

Image list (in order of appearance) — Waterfront, 25/05/14, 2:37 PM — Steel Blue Sky, 23/05/14, 3:02 PM — We are trying to get in some dry air for you | DFM 07/12/15, 5:48:49 PM — Pretty humid | DFM 16/02/17, 6:15:39 PM — Probability of precipitation | DFM 28/11/15, 5:33:53 PM — The showers will fade away, 22/03/15, 3:03 PM — Gusty, 4/04/15, 1:54 PM All images from the series SCAN2400 © J­ annemarein Renout, courtesy of the artist


204

Raphaël Dallaporta

Tim Barber New Blues

Chauvet – Pont d’Arc, L’inappropriable — Text by Kim Knoppers A cave needs to be treated with ­infinite prudence: as a landscape, a natural area that awakens a deep sense of time immemorial. — Raphaël Dallaporta Imagine a world without screens and cameras, a dark world in which you are surrounded by rocks, moisture, cool air and an earthy scent. The flaming torch you have with you flickers along the rock face, revealing prehistoric horses, lions, apes and bison drawn on the rocky walls with natural dyes. In the geological site known as the Chauvet – Pont d’Arc cave in southern France, the earliest cave paintings date from 36,000 BC. Access to its hundreds of paintings is now strictly limited to scientists, but French photographer Raphael Dallaporta collaborated with them and was allowed in. His spectacular detailed photographs of the interior, taken with high-tech panorama equipment, are the outcome of an immersive visual approach that makes it seem as if we are actually walking into the cave. Dallaporta presents his meticulous photos of the Chauvet caves in a ­variety of ways in Chauvet – Pont d ’Arc L’inappropriable (2016), in two Japanese bound volumes published by ­Xavier Barral. One part contains 70 black and white photos and the other texts about the project by curators, a philosopher, a geomorphologist and an art historian. In all his presentations Dallaporta uses mathematical shapes, derived from the Dymaxion map by inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller, who unfolded, as it were, the entire surface of the earth

p. 195 to make it flat. This created a complete map of the world without visual distortions or any divisions between continents that artificially split up humanity. Dallaporta’s use of the map is also a reference to the anthropological hypothesis that all caves are linked together, and to the universe as a whole, forming a wide­ spread network. Through his project Dallaporta re-connects us to the origins of mankind and to the origins of imagery. Dallaporta focuses our attention not just on the earliest surviving ­prehistoric cave paintings but on the very first photograph — of which the original has been lost. His Correspondance of 2015 is inspired by the collaboration between ­Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765–1833) and Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851), the inventors of photography. Niépce’s picture of a view out across the roofs of Paris is often regarded as the first photograph, yet we know of an older photo by Niépce, of a laid table. It has been lost and now exists only as a reproduction in a book. Dallaporta converted a jpeg file of that picture into the numbers and symbols from which it is composed, then replaced the combinations of figures that corresponded with

Niépce and Daguerre’s codes with the words to which they refer. This distorts the image and creates a new one. As well having a presence in Correspondance, the spirit of Daguerre lies behind The Elusive Chauvet, not as the inventor of photography but as the inventor of the diorama. Imagine a world in which a new cuttingedge nineteenth-century technology caused a revolution in the experience of ancient and distant sites through the image, an experience in which lifesized illusions were no longer recreated on rocky walls but on large translucent cloths. On 11 July 1822 the enterprising Daguerre came up with a new form of entertainment that left the spoilt Parisian audiences speechless. He opened his spectacular Diorama, an enormous building in which visitors were ushered into a circular, darkened room by an invisible guide. As their eyes became accustomed to the dark, landscapes slowly began to unfold. Cave paintings could be considered the prehistoric equivalent of dioramas, spectacles that were magical and filled their audience with wonder. Dallaporta brings the two together in The Elusive Chauvet, a video that, because of the form in which it is presented, refers to the diorama. Visitors could lose themselves in a world that stimulated the power of the imagination — a world in which time and place were no longer relevant. All images from the series ­ Chauvet – Pont d ’Arc L’inappropriable ©R ­ aphaël Dallaporta, courtesy of the artist and Éditions Xavier Barral

205


Theo Simpson Tomorrow. Today.

221


Theo Simpson Tomorrow. Today.

221


Tim Barber

229

New Blues

— Text by Jörg Colberg In the early nineteenth century, the biggest challenge revolving around what would later become photography, was not how to arrive at an image on paper, using optical instruments and a ­variety of chemicals. Instead, it was how to prevent the image from fading away. In 1842, scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered a process involving only two chemicals, ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, that would yield stable blue pictures: the cyanotype. Herschel himself didn’t consider using it for depictions of the world. Instead, he thought of the process as a good and simple way to create exact copies of notes and diagrams. What we now call a blueprint was initially, literally that, a blue print. In fact, you can make a contact print from anything that you place onto a piece of sensitized paper. Just a very short while after Herschel’s invention, Anna Atkins applied the method to produce a large set of pictures of algae, which she then turned into the first photobook ever made. Atkins’ application of the process would now be called photograms, to be explored in much more detail in the early decades of the twentieth century by modernist artists. Strictly speaking, you don’t get a picture so much as an outline of shadows. Once photography started to include the ­presence of a negative, the cyanotype process would be able to produce ­‘actual’ photographs.

p. 205

Eventually, cyanotypes became one of those alternative processes found in the history of photography. You can still easily buy the chemicals to make your own. But it’s not a process widely used by artists today, possibly because it’s so hard to see beyond the fact that the ­images are blue. What is more, if you want to make photographs, your print size is limited by however large a negative you can produce. There is no limit for the size of your cyanotype, though —  you can coat as large a piece of paper as you want. Possibly the most well-known recent application of cyanotype photographs is by Christian Marclay. Limitations are great tools to make good art. After all, why can’t there be blue photographs? It’s probably safe to say that while everybody is familiar with black and white photographs, blue ones might look a little strange. They make you wonder what’s going on. In other words, cyanotypes might be a good way

to make use of what Bertolt Brecht called the estrangement, or alienation effect. In the world of photography, the effect would mean to prevent a viewer from realizing she or he is looking at a photograph, instead bringing more attention to the medium’s underlying artifice. This is where I see Tim Barber’s New Blues, a collection of cyanotypes. There is nothing extravagant in what these pictures show. We are used to seeing this typology, these images — as online diaries and shared moments in life — on a daily basis. There, they’re also fleeting, part of a seemingly endless string of pictures passing in front of our eyes for a short while. But as cyanotypes, these pictures look and feel different. Their possible fleeting nature has been arrested and the otherwise common moments and memories transform into an unexpected narration of a different layer, somehow uncanny. As viewers, we are made to engage, or re-engage, with these mundane scenes and subjects in part because they’re these blue objects. Even on a computer screen, these pictures don’t look like anything we see every day. Consequently, Barber’s pictures make us consider the world in a new way. Who would have thought you could do that with one of photography’s oldest ways of producing pictures?

All images from the series New Blues © Tim Barber, courtesy of the artist


230

Theo Simpson

Sensing Time

Tomorrow. Today.

— Text by Mirjam Kooiman Tomorrow. Today. It was Rover’s slogan in 1976 to promote the Rover SD1 (Specialist Division 1), ‘tomorrow’s car’ that set new standards of design and technology. It was a pioneering car intended to revitalize the brand after it had been nationalized the year before. Despite its innovative design, the car was plagued by production problems and poor quality control, causing defects on those ­aspects the car had become famous for. In one of the works by British artist Theo Simpson, the Rover SD1’s ­slogan is ­appropriated from its original advertise­ ment. Maintaining the original typeface, Simpson had the text laser cut before hand-polishing the steel sheet. It’s one of many examples of work in which Simpson adopts various materials and techniques in the re-imaging of visionary advertisements like this one. Through spray painting, burnishing, ­ laser cutting and welding, Simpson simul­taneously reflects on the ideas such advertisements embodied and the lively underground community that keeps the legacy of the now defunct brand alive. ‘The work reflects on the historic enthusiasm and thirst for technology and innovation as well as its shortcomings or ultimate demise, it’s a piece that uncovers its frailties the closer you get to it — but here I’m ultimately interested in the way these ideas, materials and technologies that materialised from this initial enthusiasm live on.’ Theo Simpson lives and works in Lincolnshire and studied photography at Sheffield Institute of Arts in South Yorkshire. In the nineteenth century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production and many innova-

a thread of nostalgia runs through his assemblages — embodying the taste and spirit of earlier times, dreams of progress yet a speculation of the future, something yet to be discovered. ‘Part of the strategy is to unlock these historical mindsets and pull these languages, knowledge, materials and technology from different times and places into the conversation.’

p. 221 tions were developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population in the Industrial Revolution. International competition in iron and steel caused a decline in these industries in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of coal mining and other associated industries. Simpson started to investigate and document these post-industrial environments he was surrounded by. However, he grew cynical of using photography as a sole communicator, therefore adopting a more analytical, process-based methodology. Materials, processes and technologies from the past and present are treated by Simpson as a way of opening up different fields of discovery, where new p ­ rinciples and methods of expression can be achieved. He often combines this with archival material he avidly collects, from different points of time and origins, such as instructional photography found in workshop manuals and reference books, advertisements, colour charts, data sheets and found imagery. As such,

In the dialogue between material and imagery, past and present, Theo Simpson constantly reconsiders the myths, ideolo­gies, the losses and promises that are inherent to the post-industrial land­ scape. ‘I don’t think anyone d ­ isagrees that certain industries needed to change; it’s rather the speed in which it happened that didn’t give places and people the chance to catch up, which created this sort of lingering displacement.’ Yet the purpose of his work is not to merely criticize the past and its consequences. His imaginative images of reflections of an orange sky in the water, or the structures using construction ­materials made with fellow artist Craig Barker, photographed in post-industrial sites, are otherworldly and dystopian, reflecting upon the optimism of new possibilities and mankind’s everlasting thirst for progress. To Simpson, these landscapes that bear the once powerful symbols of progress, employment and stability are, despite the harsh reality they now repre­ sent, also open playgrounds in which one can freely speculate on what this could be tomorrow while acknowledging what it has meant up until today. All images © Theo Simpson, ­courtesy of the artist and Webber Represents, London/New York

A Multi Dimensional Relation ship Text by Liz Sales

231


236

Sensing Time

Paglen. The artist developed a collection of 100 images to represent human kind and then worked with MIT ­scientists to develop an ultra-archival disc, capable of lasting for billions of years, to store these images. ­Finally, in 2012, he sent his disc into Earth’s orbit aboard the television satellite EchoStar XVI and began broad­ casting. In Geographies of Time, an essay included in the book The Last Pictures, Paglen writes, ‘Earth’s new moon, EchoStar XVI, embodies the Anthropocene con­ tradiction between the hyperspeed of capital and the deep time of anthropo-geomorphology, the torrential flow of twenty-first-century pictures and their utter ephemerality. But EchoStar XVI holds other pictures. A modest collection to be sure but one designed to last longer than the oldest cave paintings.’ The satellite will continue orbiting the Earth for billions of years, ­until the Sun expands into a red giant and engulfs it. Myriad contemporary theorists have observed that our present moment is distinguished by a great techno­ logical shift which rivals that of the Industrial Revolu­ tion. These new technologies are, once again, radically reshaping our collective perception of time. Perhaps this is why we have witnessed a strong increase in interests in the pioneering era of photography among emerging photographers. The artists included in Sensing Time — Jannemarein Renout, Raphaël Dallaporta, Tim Barber and Theo Simpson — are experimenting with material and temporal aspects of the medium in order to explore our rapidly evolving relationship to time and perhaps bringing us closer to a contemporary under­standing of our universe.


Mapping

the World


238

Mapping the World

In the nineteenth century, photo­ graphy was considered a useful tool for recording objects and events as part of an attempt to gain a grip on the world. A very strong sense of discovery drove the human need to make sense of the space we lived in. Photo­ graphers travelled the globe to make pictures of ancient civiliza­ tions and native peoples. As well as capturing the world at a macro level, they investigated it at a micro level. Natural phenomena like raindrops and snowflakes were depicted, or at least their imprints were. The camera went beyond what the human eye could see, especially in combina­ tion with a microscope or X-rays. Photography – and thus tech­ nology – was seen as the promised tool, so to say, that would allow this thirst for discovery to be satis­ fied. The twenty-first-century variation on the theme of mapping the world has every­thing to do with mapping an invisible but very real and some­times darker world; the world of networks, virtual reality and seeing machines, which is explored in the work of Spiros Hadjidjanos and Trevor Paglen. Technology became increasingly not only a tool for discovery but an instrument of power in a system of coercion and control. While we still somewhat

get excited at the idea of pushing the frontier of outer space, on this planet we often rely on location services that place us on a digital map we know very little about – as most of the time all we need to know is how to get from A to B, with little interest for what A and B mean, or what is in between them.

Douglas Mandry Unseen Sights

239


238

Mapping the World

In the nineteenth century, photo­ graphy was considered a useful tool for recording objects and events as part of an attempt to gain a grip on the world. A very strong sense of discovery drove the human need to make sense of the space we lived in. Photo­ graphers travelled the globe to make pictures of ancient civiliza­ tions and native peoples. As well as capturing the world at a macro level, they investigated it at a micro level. Natural phenomena like raindrops and snowflakes were depicted, or at least their imprints were. The camera went beyond what the human eye could see, especially in combina­ tion with a microscope or X-rays. Photography – and thus tech­ nology – was seen as the promised tool, so to say, that would allow this thirst for discovery to be satis­ fied. The twenty-first-century variation on the theme of mapping the world has every­thing to do with mapping an invisible but very real and some­times darker world; the world of networks, virtual reality and seeing machines, which is explored in the work of Spiros Hadjidjanos and Trevor Paglen. Technology became increasingly not only a tool for discovery but an instrument of power in a system of coercion and control. While we still somewhat

get excited at the idea of pushing the frontier of outer space, on this planet we often rely on location services that place us on a digital map we know very little about – as most of the time all we need to know is how to get from A to B, with little interest for what A and B mean, or what is in between them.

Douglas Mandry Unseen Sights

239


Spiros Hadjidjanos & Karl Blossfeldt Forms and Collages

247


Spiros Hadjidjanos & Karl Blossfeldt Forms and Collages

247


256

Spiros Hadjidjanos & Karl Blossfeldt

Forms and Collages — Text by Kim Knoppers On 11 April 1906, the German teacher, sculptor and photographer Karl Bloss­ feldt (1875–1932) sent a letter to the Director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin. In it he describes the time he spent in Athens at the end of the nine­ teenth century studying the plants of the region. He writes, ‘I also enclose a photograph of an ornament on the Ere­ chtheion in Athens and an enlargement of the bracts of Acanthus spinosus, which grows wild in Greece. I made these pho­ tographs myself on a field trip and am in no doubt that these acanthus bracts were the model for the motif at top left. This classic, immaculate example shows very clearly how small natural forms, such as diminutive acanthus bracts, were used on a greatly enlarged scale and adapted to suit the material used.’ Blossfeldt, who taught at the Kunst­ gewerbe­museum from 1898 onwards, had been photographing details of plants for several years. He was fasci­ nated by their secret lives, by the way they grow and by their hidden organic structures, which often involve repeti­ tion and are almost invisible to the naked eye. He built his own camera which could make powerfully magnified images of the plants that he collected on travels to Greece, Italy and North Africa, the birthplace of classical antiquity. It was not until the end of his life that Blossfeldt’s huge archive was made pub­ lic in Urformen der Kunst (1928), a book that became an instant hit and estab­ lished Blossfeldt’s reputation at a stroke. Although the book was published in the early twentieth century, the work is firmly rooted in the nineteenth century, in a desire to chart the world scientifi­ cally and in great detail. The carefully isolated plant motifs are sometimes

p. 247 awkward, ordinary plants are held in shape with the help of needles. The un­ tidily cut out photos on a variety of pho­ tographic papers — grey gelatine silver chloride, brown gelatine silver bromide and blueprints or cyanotypes — indicate that we are looking at study material. The extract from Blossfeldt’s letter, along with the plant photos from his Urformen der Kunst, form the inspiration for a series of 3D alumide prints and UV prints on carbon fibre by artist Spiros Hadjidjanos. He travelled to his birth­ place of Athens to carry out research in the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. There, he photographed an anonymous photo dated 1929, of the anthemion motif on the Erechtheion. Might this be the photo to which Blossfeldt refers in his letter? Might it be wrongly dated? Hadjidjanos seems to suggest so. In any case, he used this photo as the basis for his sculpture-of-a-photo-of-asculpture. Hadjidjanos also scanned a number of plant images from the first edition of Urformen der Kunst. With the help of

computer algorithms he converted the black and white shades that give depth to the flat surface of Blossfeldt’s photos into data outlining depth. He then printed these depth maps in 3D. The darker areas of the original images re­ cede and the lighter areas are brought forward. In his hands, the original photos become objects built of hundreds of needle-like alumide spikes that can be read as the pixels of a digital i­ mage. Hadjidjanos also used carbon fibre to create a series of two-dimensional ­representations of his three-dimensional versions of the Blossfeldt images. With the help of UV light, a colour image is printed onto the material. Seen from the side, the plant motif, now flat again, has a holographic quality. Both the connection between technolo­ gical innovations from past and present and the relationship between the manmade and the organic are important themes in Hadjidjanos’ art. Like Bloss­ feldt, he attempts to give shape to infor­ mation that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Where Blossfeldt deployed a magnifying lens, Hadjidjanos uses cutting-edge technology that depicts invisible data generated in virtual net­ works. The result is an intriguing and philosophically complex oeuvre in which Blossfeldt’s botanical portraits are transformed into thoroughly con­ temporary, indeed futuristic, objects.

All images from the series Displace­ ment Maps / Height Maps © ­Spiros Hadjidjanos, courtesy of the artist All images from the series Urformen der Kunst © Karl B ­ lossfeldt, courtesy of Karl Blossfeldt Archiv / Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Pinakothek der Moderne, München

Drew Nikonowicz This World and Others Like It / Notes from Anywhere

257


256

Spiros Hadjidjanos & Karl Blossfeldt

Forms and Collages — Text by Kim Knoppers On 11 April 1906, the German teacher, sculptor and photographer Karl Bloss­ feldt (1875–1932) sent a letter to the Director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin. In it he describes the time he spent in Athens at the end of the nine­ teenth century studying the plants of the region. He writes, ‘I also enclose a photograph of an ornament on the Ere­ chtheion in Athens and an enlargement of the bracts of Acanthus spinosus, which grows wild in Greece. I made these pho­ tographs myself on a field trip and am in no doubt that these acanthus bracts were the model for the motif at top left. This classic, immaculate example shows very clearly how small natural forms, such as diminutive acanthus bracts, were used on a greatly enlarged scale and adapted to suit the material used.’ Blossfeldt, who taught at the Kunst­ gewerbe­museum from 1898 onwards, had been photographing details of plants for several years. He was fasci­ nated by their secret lives, by the way they grow and by their hidden organic structures, which often involve repeti­ tion and are almost invisible to the naked eye. He built his own camera which could make powerfully magnified images of the plants that he collected on travels to Greece, Italy and North Africa, the birthplace of classical antiquity. It was not until the end of his life that Blossfeldt’s huge archive was made pub­ lic in Urformen der Kunst (1928), a book that became an instant hit and estab­ lished Blossfeldt’s reputation at a stroke. Although the book was published in the early twentieth century, the work is firmly rooted in the nineteenth century, in a desire to chart the world scientifi­ cally and in great detail. The carefully isolated plant motifs are sometimes

p. 247 awkward, ordinary plants are held in shape with the help of needles. The un­ tidily cut out photos on a variety of pho­ tographic papers — grey gelatine silver chloride, brown gelatine silver bromide and blueprints or cyanotypes — indicate that we are looking at study material. The extract from Blossfeldt’s letter, along with the plant photos from his Urformen der Kunst, form the inspiration for a series of 3D alumide prints and UV prints on carbon fibre by artist Spiros Hadjidjanos. He travelled to his birth­ place of Athens to carry out research in the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. There, he photographed an anonymous photo dated 1929, of the anthemion motif on the Erechtheion. Might this be the photo to which Blossfeldt refers in his letter? Might it be wrongly dated? Hadjidjanos seems to suggest so. In any case, he used this photo as the basis for his sculpture-of-a-photo-of-asculpture. Hadjidjanos also scanned a number of plant images from the first edition of Urformen der Kunst. With the help of

computer algorithms he converted the black and white shades that give depth to the flat surface of Blossfeldt’s photos into data outlining depth. He then printed these depth maps in 3D. The darker areas of the original images re­ cede and the lighter areas are brought forward. In his hands, the original photos become objects built of hundreds of needle-like alumide spikes that can be read as the pixels of a digital i­ mage. Hadjidjanos also used carbon fibre to create a series of two-dimensional ­representations of his three-dimensional versions of the Blossfeldt images. With the help of UV light, a colour image is printed onto the material. Seen from the side, the plant motif, now flat again, has a holographic quality. Both the connection between technolo­ gical innovations from past and present and the relationship between the manmade and the organic are important themes in Hadjidjanos’ art. Like Bloss­ feldt, he attempts to give shape to infor­ mation that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Where Blossfeldt deployed a magnifying lens, Hadjidjanos uses cutting-edge technology that depicts invisible data generated in virtual net­ works. The result is an intriguing and philosophically complex oeuvre in which Blossfeldt’s botanical portraits are transformed into thoroughly con­ temporary, indeed futuristic, objects.

All images from the series Displace­ ment Maps / Height Maps © ­Spiros Hadjidjanos, courtesy of the artist All images from the series Urformen der Kunst © Karl B ­ lossfeldt, courtesy of Karl Blossfeldt Archiv / Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Pinakothek der Moderne, München

Drew Nikonowicz This World and Others Like It / Notes from Anywhere

257


Trevor Paglen Invisible Images

267


Trevor Paglen Invisible Images

267


274

Trevor Paglen

— Text by Trevor Paglen

Invisible Images

Our eyes are fleshy things, and for most of human history our visual culture has also been made of fleshy things. The history of images is a history of pig­ ments and dyes, oils, acrylics, silver nitrate and gelatin — materials that one could use to paint a cave, a church, or a canvas. One could use them to make a photograph, or to print pictures on the pages of a magazine. We’ve gotten pretty good at under­ standing the vagaries of human vision; the serpentine ways in which images infiltrate and influence culture, their tenuous relationships to everyday life and truth, the means by which they’re harnessed to serve — and resist — power. The theoretical concepts we use to ana­ lyze classical visual culture are robust: representation, meaning, spectacle, semiosis, mimesis, and all the rest. For centuries these concepts have helped us to navigate the workings of classical ­ visual culture. But over the last ­decade or so, something dramatic has h ­ appened. Visual culture has changed form. It has become detached from human eyes and has largely become invisible. The over­ whelming majority of images are now made by machines for other machines, with humans rarely in the loop. The ad­ vent of machine-to-machine seeing has been barely noticed, and poorly under­ stood by those of us who have begun to notice the tectonic shift invisibly taking place before our very eyes. Images have begun to intervene in everyday life, their functions changing from representation

Image list (in order of appearance) — Near Nogales Maximally Stable Extremal Regions; Good Features to Track — Four Clouds Scale Invariant Fea­ ture Transform; Maximally Stable Extremal Regions; Skimage Region Adjacency Graph; Watershed — Comet (Corpus: Omens and Portents) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination; Porn (Corpus: The Humans) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination; Venus Flytrap

p. 267 and mediation, to activations, opera­ tions, and enforcement. Invisible images are actively watching us, poking and prodding, guiding our movements. But all of this is hard to see. Cultural theorists have long suspected there was something different about digital images than the visual media of yesteryear, but have had trouble putting their finger on it. In the 1990s, there was much to do about the fact that digital images lack an ‘original’. More recently, the proliferation of images on social media and its implications for intersubjectivity has been a topic of much discussion among cultural theorists and critics. But these concerns still fail to ­articulate exactly what’s at stake.

(Corpus: American Predators) Adversarially Evolved Hallucina­ tion; Rainbow (Corpus: Omens and Portents) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination — Octopus (Corpus: From the Depths) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination All images from the series Invisible Images © Trevor Paglen, courtesy of the artist and and Metro Pictures, New York

Mapping the World

These concerns still assume that ­humans are looking at images, and that the re­ lationship between human ­viewers and images is the most important m ­ oment to analyze — but it’s exactly this assump­ tion of a human subject that I want to question. What’s truly revolutionary about the advent of digital images is the fact that they are fundamentally m ­ achinereadable. A photograph shot on a phone creates a machine-readable file that does not reflect light in such a way as to be perceptible to a human eye. A secondary application, like a software-based photo viewer paired with a liquid crystal dis­ play and backlight may create something that a human can look at, but the image only appears to human eyes temporarily before reverting back to its immate­ rial machine form when the phone is put away or the display is turned off. How­ever, the image doesn’t need to be turned into human-readable form in ­order for a machine to do something with it. This is fundamentally different than a roll of undeveloped film. Although film, too, must be coaxed by a ­chemical process into a form visible by human eyes, the undeveloped film negative isn’t readable by a human or machine. The fact that digital images are funda­ mentally machine-readable regardless of a human subject has enormous impli­ cations. It allows for the automation of vision on an enormous scale and, along with it, the exercise of power on drama­ tically larger and smaller scales than have ever been possible.

Author’s Note: Most of the images in this portfolio were made with the assistance of a software platform custom-built for this project, Chair. Chair is designed so that it can use many different kinds of machine vision algorithms, and to create drawings and shapes to show what a particular algorithm is ‘seeing.’ For example, I can give Chair a picture of a beach and say that I want to see what that beach looks like through the ‘eyes’ of a self-driving car. Its

Knowing Me, Knowing You

developer Leif Rygge explains that it’s called Chair ‘because when you’re using it, you’re in the cap­ tain’s chair.’ Editor’s Note: This text is an edit of a larger essay previously ­published in The New Inquiry on December 8, 2016.

Text by Ben Burbridge

275


274

Trevor Paglen

— Text by Trevor Paglen

Invisible Images

Our eyes are fleshy things, and for most of human history our visual culture has also been made of fleshy things. The history of images is a history of pig­ ments and dyes, oils, acrylics, silver nitrate and gelatin — materials that one could use to paint a cave, a church, or a canvas. One could use them to make a photograph, or to print pictures on the pages of a magazine. We’ve gotten pretty good at under­ standing the vagaries of human vision; the serpentine ways in which images infiltrate and influence culture, their tenuous relationships to everyday life and truth, the means by which they’re harnessed to serve — and resist — power. The theoretical concepts we use to ana­ lyze classical visual culture are robust: representation, meaning, spectacle, semiosis, mimesis, and all the rest. For centuries these concepts have helped us to navigate the workings of classical ­ visual culture. But over the last ­decade or so, something dramatic has h ­ appened. Visual culture has changed form. It has become detached from human eyes and has largely become invisible. The over­ whelming majority of images are now made by machines for other machines, with humans rarely in the loop. The ad­ vent of machine-to-machine seeing has been barely noticed, and poorly under­ stood by those of us who have begun to notice the tectonic shift invisibly taking place before our very eyes. Images have begun to intervene in everyday life, their functions changing from representation

Image list (in order of appearance) — Near Nogales Maximally Stable Extremal Regions; Good Features to Track — Four Clouds Scale Invariant Fea­ ture Transform; Maximally Stable Extremal Regions; Skimage Region Adjacency Graph; Watershed — Comet (Corpus: Omens and Portents) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination; Porn (Corpus: The Humans) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination; Venus Flytrap

p. 267 and mediation, to activations, opera­ tions, and enforcement. Invisible images are actively watching us, poking and prodding, guiding our movements. But all of this is hard to see. Cultural theorists have long suspected there was something different about digital images than the visual media of yesteryear, but have had trouble putting their finger on it. In the 1990s, there was much to do about the fact that digital images lack an ‘original’. More recently, the proliferation of images on social media and its implications for intersubjectivity has been a topic of much discussion among cultural theorists and critics. But these concerns still fail to ­articulate exactly what’s at stake.

(Corpus: American Predators) Adversarially Evolved Hallucina­ tion; Rainbow (Corpus: Omens and Portents) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination — Octopus (Corpus: From the Depths) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination All images from the series Invisible Images © Trevor Paglen, courtesy of the artist and and Metro Pictures, New York

Mapping the World

These concerns still assume that ­humans are looking at images, and that the re­ lationship between human ­viewers and images is the most important m ­ oment to analyze — but it’s exactly this assump­ tion of a human subject that I want to question. What’s truly revolutionary about the advent of digital images is the fact that they are fundamentally m ­ achinereadable. A photograph shot on a phone creates a machine-readable file that does not reflect light in such a way as to be perceptible to a human eye. A secondary application, like a software-based photo viewer paired with a liquid crystal dis­ play and backlight may create something that a human can look at, but the image only appears to human eyes temporarily before reverting back to its immate­ rial machine form when the phone is put away or the display is turned off. How­ever, the image doesn’t need to be turned into human-readable form in ­order for a machine to do something with it. This is fundamentally different than a roll of undeveloped film. Although film, too, must be coaxed by a ­chemical process into a form visible by human eyes, the undeveloped film negative isn’t readable by a human or machine. The fact that digital images are funda­ mentally machine-readable regardless of a human subject has enormous impli­ cations. It allows for the automation of vision on an enormous scale and, along with it, the exercise of power on drama­ tically larger and smaller scales than have ever been possible.

Author’s Note: Most of the images in this portfolio were made with the assistance of a software platform custom-built for this project, Chair. Chair is designed so that it can use many different kinds of machine vision algorithms, and to create drawings and shapes to show what a particular algorithm is ‘seeing.’ For example, I can give Chair a picture of a beach and say that I want to see what that beach looks like through the ‘eyes’ of a self-driving car. Its

Knowing Me, Knowing You

developer Leif Rygge explains that it’s called Chair ‘because when you’re using it, you’re in the cap­ tain’s chair.’ Editor’s Note: This text is an edit of a larger essay previously ­published in The New Inquiry on December 8, 2016.

Text by Ben Burbridge

275


Biographies

THOMAS MAILAENDER (b. 1979, FR) is a multimedia artist dividing his time ­between Paris and Marseille. He is ­renowned for using a vast amount of materials and appropriating found im­ agery, and Mailaender’s recent focus is geared towards the concept of the ­typology. His work has been published in various renowned publications in­ cluding Aperture, British Journal of Photography and IMA Magazine. Along with Erik Kessels, together they curated Photo Pleasure Palace which took place at Unseen this year.

DREW NIKONOWICZ (b. 1993, US) received a BFA in 2016 from the ­University of Missouri, Columbia. He applies both analogue and digital simulations into his practise to explore contemporary culture. Nikonowicz has received a number of awards including the Aperture Portfolio Prize (2015), ­Magenta Foundation Flash Forward (2016) and Photogrvphy Magazine Grant (2016). Nikonowicz completed a one year residency at Fabrica Re­ search Centre in Italy 2016. He lives and works in Missouri.

DOUGLAS MANDRY (b. 1989, CH) is a photographer who lives and works in Zurich. He gained a Bachelors in both Visual Communication and Photog­ raphy from the University of Art and Design ECAL in Lausanne. Since gradu­ ating Mandry has been nominated for numerous awards including the Paul Huf Award (2016 and 2015), Swiss ­Federal Design Awards and shortlisted for Prix Voies-Off (2014). His work has been shown in numerous international venues including Photo London, ­Winterthur and Unseen. Mandry is ­represented by two agencies; Iko Paris and Rene Hauser.

TREVOR PAGLEN (b. 1974, US) is an artist who seeks to investigate the undis­ closed and hidden world of surveillance and data. Paglen has an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and obtained a Ph.D. in Geography from U.C Berkeley. Regularly, Paglen writes on topics in conjunction with his practise, writing for various articles and is an author of five books. He has won many prestig­ ious awards including the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award and the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2016).

CHRIS MCCAW (b. 1971, US) is a ­photographer working with large ­format cameras and analogue process­ es often seeking to explore the bound­ aries within. He received a BFA from the Academy of Art, San Francisco in 1995. McCaw has won various awards includ­ ing the Emerging Icon in Photography (2014) and New Works Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation in 2008. His images have been included a number of online publications including LensCulture, LA Times and GUP ­Magazine. McCaw’s work is held in a number of public and private ­collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum. ARAM MOSHAYEDI (b. ) is a writer and curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. He has curated a vast amount of exhibitions including co-curating the Hammer Museum’s biennial exhibi­ tion Made in LA 2016. Prior to his cur­ rent position he was an Associate ­Curator at REDCAT and a Curator at LA><ART in Los Angeles. Moshayedi has written extensively on art and film/­ video for many renowned publications including Frieze, ArtForum and X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly. He is also a ­contributing editor for Bidoun. LIZ NIELSEN (b. 1975, US) is a Brooklyn based photographer who applies a ­traditional analogue process in a ­camera-less photography approach. She obtained an MFA in Photography at the University of Illinois, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of ­Chicago and studied Philosophy as a BA. Nielsen has exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions internationally whilst her work has also been featured online for publications such as London Financial Times, Creative Review and Aesthetica Magazine. Nielsen works with Danziger Gallery, SOCO Gallery in North Carolina, Horizont Gallery in Budapest, and Nex­ tLevel Galerie in Paris.

JANNEMAREIN RENOUT (b. 1969, NL) is a photographic artist who lives and works in the Netherlands. She received her BFA at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2014, prior to this she also studied Art History as a foundation course in 2002. Her work has been widely exhibited in the Netherlands and also exhibited in­ ternationally. Recently her work was exhibited at Unseen, and she has now been nominated for the Grolsch ­Unseen Residency 2018. Renout was also recently selected by the Les ­Boutographies and nominated for the Les Boutographies award. She is represented by Galerie Bart. HANS ROOSEBOOM (b. NL) is Curator of Photography at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. He has been collecting ­cyanotypes for the Rijksmuseum for some 20 years now. With his fellow ­curator Mattie Boom he published Modern Times. Photography in the 20th Century (2014) and New Realities. ­Photography in the 19th Century (2017). The latter won the Paris PhotoAperture Foundation Photo Catalogue of the Year Award 2017. Both books ­accompanied exhibitions in the Rijks­ museum. Among his other publications: Nederland in kleur 1907-1935 / The Netherlands in Colour 1907-1935 (2016), Électricité. Ten Advertising ­Photographs by Man Ray (2013) and What’s wrong with Daguerre? Recon­ sidering old and new views on the ­invention of photography (2010). LIZ SALES (b. 1978, US) is an artist, artwriter, and educator with an MFA from the ICP-Bard program in Advanced Photographic Studies. Her work deals primarily with the relationship between technology and perception. She is an Editor at Conveyor Magazine as well as a faculty member at the International Centre of Photography, teaching in the General Studies, Continuing Education and Teen Academy programs. She lives and works in New York City.

FOAM MAGAZINE’S CHOICE OF PAPER

KHADIJA SAYE (b. 1992–2017, UK) was a Gambian-British Photographer. Saye’s work was passionately inspired through her cultural identity, heritage and background. At 16 she won a Rugby scholarship at a reputable school but after went on to study a BA in photog­ raphy at UCA Farnham. Since then her work started to gain recognition, Dwelling: in this space we breathe was exhibited at the 2017 Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale this year, and Saye was the youngest artist to be included. From the same body of work, Tate Britain recently exhibited Sothio, a silk screen print as part of a memorial following her very sad death linked to Grenfell Tower.

The following paper was used in this issue, supplied by paper merchant Igepa:

THEO SIMPSON (b. 1986, UK) is a ­photographer who integrates his back­ ground of welding into his photo­ graphic practise. Simpson studied at Sheffield Hallam University and is now an associate lecturer at the institution. He has published a number of books including Eleven Miles of Derbyshire Power Lines, What we Buy and Eight. Simpson was recently awarded as the 2017 Outset Award winner for which he will have a solo exhibition at Foam ­Fotografiemuseum in 2018. He is r­epresented by Webber in London.

Starline Creamback, 300 g/m2 (cover) Maxi Offset, 80 g/m2 (all text pages) EOS vol. 2.0, 90 g/m2 (p.29) Magno Satin, 135 g/m2 (p.47, 257) Lessebo Design 1.3 Natural, 115 g/m2 (p.65) Heaven 42 Softmatt, 135 g/m2 (p.83) Maxi Gloss, 135 g/m2 (p.101, 187) Holmen Trend vol. 2.0, 70 g/m2 (p.135) Magno Volume, 115 g/m2 (p.153, 221) Soporset Premium Offset, 120 g/m2 (p.205) Fluweel 1.5, 120 g/m2 (p.239)

AUGUST STRINDBERG (b. 1849, SE) was amongst many things, a playwright, novelist, poet and painter. Strindberg studied Aesthetics and Modern ­Languages in 1870 at Uppsala Univer­ sity, but he never actually completed a degree. He gained recognition in 1887 after writing his first novel The Red Room that is considered to be the first modern Swedish novel. Strindberg had an interest in chemistry and alchemy, as well as strong enthusiasm in photog­ raphy from a young age. In the 1880s Strindberg pursued his creative interest in both photography and painting and produced the Celestographs. CAROLINE VAN COURTEN (b. 1983, GR) currently holds a position the position of Research Assistant in the field of photography theory at Leiden Univer­ sity. She is currently undertaking her PhD, which is part of a four year long project conducted by the Stedelijk ­Museum Amsterdam and the Universi­ ties of Leiden and Utrecht. Her focus is on finding research and conservation strategies for photographic works onto which another medium is applied. She will complete her PhD in 2018. Prior to this she also studied Language and Cultural Studies as Utrecht University. Von Courten was the Managing Editor of Foam Magazine from 2010 to 2012 and previously worked as an Assistant Curator at the Stedelijk Museum. WITHO WORMS (b. 1959, NL) is a selftaught photographer. Worms studied anthropology, which makes for a highly methodical and strategic approach to his practise. His work is held in numer­ ous private collections and has been featured in exhibitions worldwide, ­including National Gallery of Art Wash­ ington and Dmitrovsky Kremlin in ­Russia. Cette monagne c’est moi was shortlisted for the Paris Photo-Aperture first Photo Book Award (2011) and has received various prizes of recognition including The Best Dutch Book Designs (2012).

Whatever you’ve got to tell me, I’ll find out through the natural course of time. — DOC

282

For more information please call +31 344 578 100 or email advies@igepa.nl


Biographies

THOMAS MAILAENDER (b. 1979, FR) is a multimedia artist dividing his time ­between Paris and Marseille. He is ­renowned for using a vast amount of materials and appropriating found im­ agery, and Mailaender’s recent focus is geared towards the concept of the ­typology. His work has been published in various renowned publications in­ cluding Aperture, British Journal of Photography and IMA Magazine. Along with Erik Kessels, together they curated Photo Pleasure Palace which took place at Unseen this year.

DREW NIKONOWICZ (b. 1993, US) received a BFA in 2016 from the ­University of Missouri, Columbia. He applies both analogue and digital simulations into his practise to explore contemporary culture. Nikonowicz has received a number of awards including the Aperture Portfolio Prize (2015), ­Magenta Foundation Flash Forward (2016) and Photogrvphy Magazine Grant (2016). Nikonowicz completed a one year residency at Fabrica Re­ search Centre in Italy 2016. He lives and works in Missouri.

DOUGLAS MANDRY (b. 1989, CH) is a photographer who lives and works in Zurich. He gained a Bachelors in both Visual Communication and Photog­ raphy from the University of Art and Design ECAL in Lausanne. Since gradu­ ating Mandry has been nominated for numerous awards including the Paul Huf Award (2016 and 2015), Swiss ­Federal Design Awards and shortlisted for Prix Voies-Off (2014). His work has been shown in numerous international venues including Photo London, ­Winterthur and Unseen. Mandry is ­represented by two agencies; Iko Paris and Rene Hauser.

TREVOR PAGLEN (b. 1974, US) is an artist who seeks to investigate the undis­ closed and hidden world of surveillance and data. Paglen has an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and obtained a Ph.D. in Geography from U.C Berkeley. Regularly, Paglen writes on topics in conjunction with his practise, writing for various articles and is an author of five books. He has won many prestig­ ious awards including the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award and the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2016).

CHRIS MCCAW (b. 1971, US) is a ­photographer working with large ­format cameras and analogue process­ es often seeking to explore the bound­ aries within. He received a BFA from the Academy of Art, San Francisco in 1995. McCaw has won various awards includ­ ing the Emerging Icon in Photography (2014) and New Works Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation in 2008. His images have been included a number of online publications including LensCulture, LA Times and GUP ­Magazine. McCaw’s work is held in a number of public and private ­collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum. ARAM MOSHAYEDI (b. ) is a writer and curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. He has curated a vast amount of exhibitions including co-curating the Hammer Museum’s biennial exhibi­ tion Made in LA 2016. Prior to his cur­ rent position he was an Associate ­Curator at REDCAT and a Curator at LA><ART in Los Angeles. Moshayedi has written extensively on art and film/­ video for many renowned publications including Frieze, ArtForum and X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly. He is also a ­contributing editor for Bidoun. LIZ NIELSEN (b. 1975, US) is a Brooklyn based photographer who applies a ­traditional analogue process in a ­camera-less photography approach. She obtained an MFA in Photography at the University of Illinois, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of ­Chicago and studied Philosophy as a BA. Nielsen has exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions internationally whilst her work has also been featured online for publications such as London Financial Times, Creative Review and Aesthetica Magazine. Nielsen works with Danziger Gallery, SOCO Gallery in North Carolina, Horizont Gallery in Budapest, and Nex­ tLevel Galerie in Paris.

JANNEMAREIN RENOUT (b. 1969, NL) is a photographic artist who lives and works in the Netherlands. She received her BFA at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2014, prior to this she also studied Art History as a foundation course in 2002. Her work has been widely exhibited in the Netherlands and also exhibited in­ ternationally. Recently her work was exhibited at Unseen, and she has now been nominated for the Grolsch ­Unseen Residency 2018. Renout was also recently selected by the Les ­Boutographies and nominated for the Les Boutographies award. She is represented by Galerie Bart. HANS ROOSEBOOM (b. NL) is Curator of Photography at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. He has been collecting ­cyanotypes for the Rijksmuseum for some 20 years now. With his fellow ­curator Mattie Boom he published Modern Times. Photography in the 20th Century (2014) and New Realities. ­Photography in the 19th Century (2017). The latter won the Paris PhotoAperture Foundation Photo Catalogue of the Year Award 2017. Both books ­accompanied exhibitions in the Rijks­ museum. Among his other publications: Nederland in kleur 1907-1935 / The Netherlands in Colour 1907-1935 (2016), Électricité. Ten Advertising ­Photographs by Man Ray (2013) and What’s wrong with Daguerre? Recon­ sidering old and new views on the ­invention of photography (2010). LIZ SALES (b. 1978, US) is an artist, artwriter, and educator with an MFA from the ICP-Bard program in Advanced Photographic Studies. Her work deals primarily with the relationship between technology and perception. She is an Editor at Conveyor Magazine as well as a faculty member at the International Centre of Photography, teaching in the General Studies, Continuing Education and Teen Academy programs. She lives and works in New York City.

FOAM MAGAZINE’S CHOICE OF PAPER

KHADIJA SAYE (b. 1992–2017, UK) was a Gambian-British Photographer. Saye’s work was passionately inspired through her cultural identity, heritage and background. At 16 she won a Rugby scholarship at a reputable school but after went on to study a BA in photog­ raphy at UCA Farnham. Since then her work started to gain recognition, Dwelling: in this space we breathe was exhibited at the 2017 Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale this year, and Saye was the youngest artist to be included. From the same body of work, Tate Britain recently exhibited Sothio, a silk screen print as part of a memorial following her very sad death linked to Grenfell Tower.

The following paper was used in this issue, supplied by paper merchant Igepa:

THEO SIMPSON (b. 1986, UK) is a ­photographer who integrates his back­ ground of welding into his photo­ graphic practise. Simpson studied at Sheffield Hallam University and is now an associate lecturer at the institution. He has published a number of books including Eleven Miles of Derbyshire Power Lines, What we Buy and Eight. Simpson was recently awarded as the 2017 Outset Award winner for which he will have a solo exhibition at Foam ­Fotografiemuseum in 2018. He is r­epresented by Webber in London.

Starline Creamback, 300 g/m2 (cover) Maxi Offset, 80 g/m2 (all text pages) EOS vol. 2.0, 90 g/m2 (p.29) Magno Satin, 135 g/m2 (p.47, 257) Lessebo Design 1.3 Natural, 115 g/m2 (p.65) Heaven 42 Softmatt, 135 g/m2 (p.83) Maxi Gloss, 135 g/m2 (p.101, 187) Holmen Trend vol. 2.0, 70 g/m2 (p.135) Magno Volume, 115 g/m2 (p.153, 221) Soporset Premium Offset, 120 g/m2 (p.205) Fluweel 1.5, 120 g/m2 (p.239)

AUGUST STRINDBERG (b. 1849, SE) was amongst many things, a playwright, novelist, poet and painter. Strindberg studied Aesthetics and Modern ­Languages in 1870 at Uppsala Univer­ sity, but he never actually completed a degree. He gained recognition in 1887 after writing his first novel The Red Room that is considered to be the first modern Swedish novel. Strindberg had an interest in chemistry and alchemy, as well as strong enthusiasm in photog­ raphy from a young age. In the 1880s Strindberg pursued his creative interest in both photography and painting and produced the Celestographs. CAROLINE VAN COURTEN (b. 1983, GR) currently holds a position the position of Research Assistant in the field of photography theory at Leiden Univer­ sity. She is currently undertaking her PhD, which is part of a four year long project conducted by the Stedelijk ­Museum Amsterdam and the Universi­ ties of Leiden and Utrecht. Her focus is on finding research and conservation strategies for photographic works onto which another medium is applied. She will complete her PhD in 2018. Prior to this she also studied Language and Cultural Studies as Utrecht University. Von Courten was the Managing Editor of Foam Magazine from 2010 to 2012 and previously worked as an Assistant Curator at the Stedelijk Museum. WITHO WORMS (b. 1959, NL) is a selftaught photographer. Worms studied anthropology, which makes for a highly methodical and strategic approach to his practise. His work is held in numer­ ous private collections and has been featured in exhibitions worldwide, ­including National Gallery of Art Wash­ ington and Dmitrovsky Kremlin in ­Russia. Cette monagne c’est moi was shortlisted for the Paris Photo-Aperture first Photo Book Award (2011) and has received various prizes of recognition including The Best Dutch Book Designs (2012).

Whatever you’ve got to tell me, I’ll find out through the natural course of time. — DOC

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288 ISSUE #49 / BACK TO THE FUTURE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Marloes Krijnen EDITORS Ann-Christin Bertrand, Marcel Feil, Kim Knoppers, Marloes Krijnen, Elisa Medde MANAGING EDITOR Elisa Medde EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Mariama Attah EDITORIAL INTERN Lauren Jackson MAGAZINE MANAGEMENT Matthijs Bakker, Maureen Marck, Miranda Jonker ART DIRECTOR Hamid Sallali DESIGN & LAYOUT Ayumi Higuchi, Hamid Sallali TYPEFACES Haarlem AM (Adrien Menard), L15 Medium, L15 Medium (type), SM Häuser 10 (Open Studio) CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ARTISTS Anna Atkins, Kenneth Bamberg, Tim Barber, Sylvia Ballhouse, Aneta Bartos, Simone Bergantini, Karl Blossfeldt, Bownik, Matthew Brandt, Raphaël Dallaporta, Jessica Eaton, Sam Falls, Lucas Foglia, Spiros Hadjidjanos, Thomas Mailaender, Douglas Mandry, Chris McCaw, Liz Nielsen, Drew Nikonowicz, Trevor Paglen, Willem Popelier, Jannemarein Renout, Khadija Saye, Aaron Schuman, Silver and Gold, Theo Simpson, August Strindberg, Witho Worms FRONT COVER Image from the series Disassembly © Bownik, courtesy of the artist INSIDE BACK COVER Image from the series Unseen Sights © Douglas Mandry, courtesy of the artist BACK COVER Image from the Collection of the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada, courtesy RVB Books, Paris

Colophon CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Karin Bareman, Anne-Marie Beckmann, Andrew Berardini, Ann-Christin Bertrand, Rose Bouthillier, Ben Burbridge, Lewis Bush, Jörg Colberg, Claus Gunti, Hinde Haest, Allie Haeusslein, Taco Hidde Bakker, Max Houghton, Kim Knoppers, Mirjam Kooiman, Luce Lebart, Elisa Medde, Aram Moshyedi, Liz Nielsen, Hans Rooseboom, Liz Sales, Caroline von Courten COPY EDITOR Pittwater Literary Services: Rowan Hewison TRANSLATIONS Liz Waters SPECIAL THANKS Leticia Adam, Kaltrina Ahmetaj, Anne-Marie Beckmann, Dominic Bell, Manuela Benetton, Yseult Chenata , Brendan Dugan, Lucas Foglia, Andreas Grimm, Cécile van der Harten, Justin Hobson, Almudena Romero, Christian Schmidt, David Schoerner, Maria Smit, Francesco Tenaglia, May Ulandez, Anna Volz, Carolyn Ware PRINTING NPN Drukkers Minervum 7250 4817 ZM Breda – NL Postbus 5750 4801 ED Breda – NL BINDER Bindery Patist B.V. Paltzerweg 159 3734 CK Den Dolder T (030) 2286814 PAPER Igepa Nederland B.V. Biezenwei 16 4004 MB Tiel – NL EDITORIAL ADDRESS Foam Magazine Keizersgracht 609 1017 DS Amsterdam – NL T +31 20 551 65 00 F +31 20 551 65 01 editors@foam.org SUBSCRIPTIONS For subscription inquiries, please e-mail online@foam.org DISTRIBUTION Foam Magazine is available at the best book shops worldwide. For distribution opportunities and conditions please contact: bookshop@foam.org ADVERTISING Foam Magazine is looking to team up with like-minded brands and organisations. For information please contact: magazine@foam.org ISSN 1570-4874

© Photographers, authors, Foam Magazine BV, Amsterdam, 2017–2018. All photographs and illustration material is the copyright property of the photographers and/or their estates, and the publications in which they have been published. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders. Any copyright holders we have been unable to reach or to whom inaccurate acknowledgement has been made are invited to contact the publishers at magazine@foam.org. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo-copy, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the publishers. Although the highest care is taken to make the information contained in Foam Magazine as accurate as possible, neither the publishers nor the authors can accept any responsibility for damage, of any nature, resulting from the use of this information. The production of Foam Magazine has been made possible thanks to the generous support of paper supplier Igepa Netherlands B.V.

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PREVIEW Foam Magazine #49, Back to the Future  
PREVIEW Foam Magazine #49, Back to the Future  

In this issue of Foam Magazine, which takes as its theme ''Back to the Future. The 19th Century in the 21st Century'' and the exhibitions of...