‘VOJT’ Photography Concept Analysis
‘“Silence is of the gods; only monkeys chatter.” ― Buster Keaton’ (Goodreads, 2014)
Everything in life follows a cycle that despite its unique qualities, it is part of a routine that has to maintain order to fulfill its existence. The act of photography itself profoundly evaluates such repetition into the process it takes to attain a photo. The method finds no sense of abstraction, but it follows a methodology that keeps on looping similar to the passing days. The photo itself takes a life of its own and eventually finds its end in order to allow change and new forms to be undertaken. (Barthes, 1977)
Through such complex analysis one is able to acknowledge how deeply and immersed is the act of creating photography with true conceptual motivation. From time to time one can acknowledge how monotone the cycle of life has always been. One day one finds himself as a youngster and the next day he is on his last legs. The silent, cold and numb individuals that surround this world force me to be passive about everything. There is no sense of belonging and this should detach individuals from the photos that I will present.
Analyzing written records such as Wilfred’s Owen famous poems ‘Dulce et Decorum est’, ‘Futility’ and ‘The Anthem for doomed youth’, I can perceive and acknowledge how analytically the subject can be.
“I’ll pretend you can hear me. But it’s no good, because I know you can’t.” (Atwood, 1986)
Similar to Ai Wei Wei Sunflower seeds, one can acknowledge that the mass structure obliterates any sense of individuality. The uniqueness that distinguishes us from anyone is forced to fade away as superior powers takes control and there is nothing that can stop this. One of the initial voices that triggered me for such an approach was the imperative voice employed within the medical field , qualities such as ‘will’, ‘now’, ‘must provide’, ‘fertilize’, ‘break down’ (Martini, Welch & Martini, 2004) . The cold and dehumanizing authority that such register establishes has made me formulate different questions.
Influential visual artists and photographers that further sustained such a thought were Christian Boltanski, Tehching Hsieh, Candida Hofer, Edward Burtynaky, Andreas Gursky, William Eggleston, Andreas Gefeller, Shirin Neshat, Walter Niedermayr and Thomas Ruff.
As found in the photographic analysis of Andreas Gursky outlines the numbness and the mass structure of any organisation or traditions in different societies and cultures. Distant and detached, Gursky has the ability to capture a mass structure that is observed as objective element to both the viewer and the photographer. No kind of individualism can be found; his work conveys mass structure of human anatomy or production within architecture scenes. The huge amount of void and the insignificance of all this obliteration could be connected to the way society is developing in this contemporary lifestyle. Nothing is tangible and everything is obliterated within something that has no sensitivity. Another sense of alienation can be analysed in the empty scenes that Edward Burtynsky photographs. Through his work he brings out the significance that the individuality has in today’s life; were environmental and political shape up an outcome that individuals have to see and unfortunately as his photographs, they have no power on.
“These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire – a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.” (Burtynsky, anon)
Evaluating work such as Shirin Neshat, ‘Women without men’ (2009), I could acknowledge how deeply immersed is the force of regularity, and how impossible to neglect its effect on us. As individuals try to come up with an ideology that can never change the truth that everyone has to face. This can be seen in clear terms in Christian Boltanski, ’The lottery of life’, were everyone is a number that lives and dies.
Deadpan values an image, that “acts [as a] fact-stating mode” (Cotton, 2004, p88), and thus the void it provides is the result of it. The saturated hues together with the scenario that one is placed in, plays a vital role in such a formula. As clearly seen in Takashi Homma‘s works, the environment that the subject is placed in takes a secondary significance to the one of the value and meaning it undermines. Takashi photos are taken from an angle that brings out the vacant and bare environment without any hint of human connection (Cotton, 2004, p88).
The monotone works of Lewis Baltz unveil a developed urbanized environment; were clean aesthetic shapes the vernacular image to the full. Through the employment of geometric linearity and light and shade he is able to bring out the flat and impactful value to his aesthetic.
This ideological approach of geometric proportions can be foreseen again in interior photographs of ‘Candida Hofer’. Where she is able to come up with a clean balance of light and perspective, upon which she creates a vision that, brings out stillness and “a deadening experience” (Cotton, 2004, p92). Similar to Bernd and Hillar Becher, Candida Hofer has the ability to evaluate “spaces” and upon these areas she brings out a whole “typolog[ical]” analysis (Bright, 2005,p114). As Lana Del Ray famous album ‘Born to Die’ highlights an aesthetic that bring out parallel notions to the work that Candida Hofer is able to produce.
Observing life and the way it interacts with humanity, one can root a sense of insignificance. The community at large deeply under values the presence of individuals in the way they mass produce and reproduce.
“The work of punching the clock includes but is not limited to just a 9 to 5 work day; it is 24/7 for a year, it becomes life itself. It is a gesture of repetition, a Sisyphean absurdity.” (Forrest, 2014) The individuality of something lost all the uniqueness and what individuals are most of the time presented with is the sheer reality in everything they do. As deeply evaluated by Tehching Hsieh in one of his great works ‘Time Clock Piece’- 1981; a performance journey, punching an industrial clock to bring out the idea of repetition and the concept of bland indifferent reality into perspective. (BondiGeek, 2013)
The notion of repetition and routine has been an increasingly intuitive subject that for long I have been trying to justify. Through this struggle I wanted to justify the cycle that I perceive and in a way how mentally impactful this experience is. After researching and diagnosing the various values that sum up such a subject, I want to transcend my work through a deadpan outlook.
The presentation that I will be trying to transcend will take the form a cycle like performance that will take place every day. I will be documenting my experience and how the environment that I live in I have no connection with. The morning and evening turn out to be the same each and every day.
After completing the cycle for the next seven weeks I will be able to come up with a visual narrative that will be displayed next to each other on a vacant wall. It is directed towards an exhibition environment where likely curious and interested people will evaluate and observe my work.Such a process will be visualized in a monochrome aesthetic. The target audience that I would like to direct my voice is vast and there is no direct age upon which my work will be forced to be evaluated through. This is due that the message that I will be transcending in this series has different levels of interpretations.
Atwood, M. (1986). The handmaid’s tale (1st ed., p. 40). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Barthes, R. (1977). The death of the author. Image, music, text, 145.
BondiGeek, B. (2013). Das Platforms / Issue 26 / Indifference and repetition: An interview with Tehching Hsieh. [online] Dasplatforms.com. Available at: http://www.dasplatforms.com/magazines/issue-26/indifference-and-repetition-an-interview-with-tehching-hsieh [Accessed 25 September. 2014].
Bright, S. (2005). Art photography now. 1st ed. New York: Aperture.
Burtynsky, E. (2014). Edward Burtynsky – Artist Statement. [online] Edwardburtynsky.com. Available at: http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/site_contents/About/introAbout.html [Accessed 27 September. 2014].
Cotton, C. (2004). The photograph as contemporary art. 1st ed. London ; New York, NY: Thames & Hudson.
Forrest, N. (2014). INTERVIEW: Tehching Hsieh on His “Time Clock Piece” at Carriageworks, Sydney | Artinfo. [online] Artinfo. Available at: http://au.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1037011/interview-tehching-hsieh-on-his-time-clock-piece-at [Accessed 27 September. 2014].
Goodreads, (2014). a quote by Buster Keaton. [online] Available at: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/450665-silence-is-of-the-gods-only-monkeys-chatter [Accessed 27 September. 2014].
Martini, F., Welch, K., & Martini, F. (2004). Applications manual to accompany Fundamentals of anatomy & physiology, 6th edition (1st ed., p. 748). San Francisco, Calif.: Benjamin Cummings.
Andreas Gursky : https://artsy.net/artist/andreas-gursky
Edward Burtynsky: http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/
Takashi Homma: http://aperture.org/shop/takashi-homma-tokyo-book
Lewis Baltz : http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/tateshots-lewis-baltz
Candida Hofer: http://www.artnet.com/artists/candida-h%C3%B6fer/
Tehching Hsieh: http://www.tehchinghsieh.com/
Christian Boltanski: http://www.christian-boltanski.com/
Andreas Gefeller: http://www.andreasgefeller.com/
Shirin Neshat: http://womenwithoutmen.blog.indiepixfilms.com/
Walter Niedermayr: http://www.nordenhake.com/php/artist.php?RefID=15