Posts from July 2016
The final two installments of David Cunningham’s series of pieces on the theme of Photography and the Language of Things are now up on the Still Searching blog hosted by the Winterthur Fotomuseum in Switzerland: Part Five and Part Six.
Here’s the opening to the final piece …
I ended my last post with the suggestion that underlying the recent turn to the ‘object’ or ‘thing’ one might glimpse a certain ‘posthumanist’ anxiety – an anxiety occasioned by the degree to which capitalist modernity is a world “ruled by abstractions”, in the words of Marx; abstractions that have come to assume an objective reality which is ‘quasi-independent’ of the things, objects and individuals that constitute them, but which is not ‘material’ in any usual empirical sense. Such abstract social forms – money, the commodity, the value form – do not merely ‘conceal’ the ‘real’ social relations and objective networks constitutive of capitalism, but, on the contrary, actually are the ‘real’ relations that structure capitalist modernity as an increasingly global mode of social life encompassing human and non-human ‘things’ alike. The actual organisation of social and material relations is driven by a real abstraction that, far from being a question of mere faulty thinking or false consciousness, “moves within the object itself”. […]
In the second of our collaborations with the excellent “One Image” blog hosted by the Photographers Gallery in London, Sally Willow and Isabelle Coy-Dibley, who are both studying for PhDs in the Institute, have contributed short pieces on works currently on exhibition in the gallery.
Sally Willow writes on an image by Nancy Hellebrand, which features in the exhibition Double Take: Drawing and Photography: “The line has been traced: starting top-left, looping down into a heavy curve that rises, doubling-up lightly on the right to begin a swift and certain downward stroke with slight faltering hesitation at its stem. It is underlined for clarity at the base.” You can read the rest of Sally’s piece here.
Isabelle Coy-Dibley writes about Jolana Havelkova’s Fist Time Skating: “Like a fingerprint trapped in ice, the unique contours of a body inscribed in a transitory moment, imprinting what will be lost once the ice thaws, fleetingly capturing a temporal and spatial pattern drawn by an absent body refusing to be forgotten. The motif of fragmentation, shattering the coherency of a unified body, became the visual rhetoric of modernist art, rupturing the sense of totality within the individual subject. Havelkova’s First Time Skating extends and surpasses this rupture through the disembodiment of the body in its entirety.” Read the rest of Isabelle’s piece here.
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