mεταƒοr.έs


A fascinating point the photographers made was to question the assumption that there is an inherent neutrality to the technology of photography. They illustrated it with a couple of projects. The first responds to the photo of a woman called Shirley. When employees of professional photo laboratories calibrate the printing machine every day, a piece of paper comes out and it comes with various shades of grey to black, then the picture of a lama appears and finally, the picture of a woman. The woman is Shirley. In the beginning of colour films, the Kodak corporation photographed one of the workers, Shirley, and sent the picture out with the word ‘normal’ as the normal print for caucasian skin. Jean-Luc Godard refused to use Kodak, he called it racist.
Right after the end of segregation in the USA, black and white children started to sit side by side in the same class. Kodak’s range was so limited that it was at the time impossible to take a photo of a black and white child in the same frame. It was just a basic limitation of way film had evolved and that’s what Godard regarded as racist. Kodak didn’t respond to the problem until 2 of their biggest clients, the furniture industry and confectionary industry complained and lobbied Kodak because they were unable to photograph the various nuances of wood and chocolate. In response to pressure, Kodak developed a new film which they marketed as a film that was good for “photographing of a dark horse in low light.”

A fascinating point the photographers made was to question the assumption that there is an inherent neutrality to the technology of photography. They illustrated it with a couple of projects. The first responds to the photo of a woman called Shirley. When employees of professional photo laboratories calibrate the printing machine every day, a piece of paper comes out and it comes with various shades of grey to black, then the picture of a lama appears and finally, the picture of a woman. The woman is Shirley. In the beginning of colour films, the Kodak corporation photographed one of the workers, Shirley, and sent the picture out with the word ‘normal’ as the normal print for caucasian skin. Jean-Luc Godard refused to use Kodak, he called it racist.

Right after the end of segregation in the USA, black and white children started to sit side by side in the same class. Kodak’s range was so limited that it was at the time impossible to take a photo of a black and white child in the same frame. It was just a basic limitation of way film had evolved and that’s what Godard regarded as racist. Kodak didn’t respond to the problem until 2 of their biggest clients, the furniture industry and confectionary industry complained and lobbied Kodak because they were unable to photograph the various nuances of wood and chocolate. In response to pressure, Kodak developed a new film which they marketed as a film that was good for “photographing of a dark horse in low light.”

“A pile of washing up awaited us and Nicola demonstrated the normal procedure that she would follow. She rinsed out the washing up bowl, squirted in washing up liquid and filled it with water, and reflected on how she always uses too much detergent, resulting in a very bubbly composition. Nicola’s practices are not simply idiosyncratic, but as ‘entities’ have some coherence with others when performed. Like other English research participants, she usually washed up her glasses first. She explained this in terms of the feel of the washing up process, ‘because otherwise everything gets greasy.’ Nicola proceeded to wash a set of tall, thin water glasses. She reflected on her method, however, as personalised. While wiping the outside and inside of the glasses, she noted how you need small hands to be able to clean them that way. As she rinsed off the soap, holding the glass at the end, she pointed out that this part of the process required very hot water, and I noticed how the movements of her hands were designed to avoid too much contact between the water and her skin itself as she commented that ‘I burn myself sometimes when I do this.’ In the past Nicola had worn rubber gloves, which enabled her to use even hotter water. She had ‘got out of the habit’ because the gloves kept getting holes in them and she had not replaced them. Here it becomes clear how technologies, the senses, skill and knowing in practice and human and material agencies begin to intersect in the process of kitchen renewal. As Nicola restores her glasses to a clean state, an intensity of contact between a series of elements of a kitchen ecology is brought about — including energy, heat, water, bubbles, glass, hands, knowing, skill and moral discourse. The glasses were left to drain in a rack on the draining board next to the sink. Statements about self-identity were never far from the way participants in this research talked about their washing up practices. Nicola identified her own washing up practices as different to those of ‘other people’ who, she demonstrated by performing this with a glass, might simply wipe over the outside and leave it to dry without rinsing the soap suds off, on a bare draining board. […] Nicola’s glasses bear the traces of her agency, and thus become a materialisation of the morality and standards through which she defines and creates a ‘proper’ kitchen.”

–  Sarah Pink, in Situating Everyday Life, pp. 57 - 58


“It is important to know that Beuys used an industrial product in his work rather than an artistic one,” says Barbara Strieder, the head supervisor of the graphic arts collection of the Museum Schloss Moyland. “This shows his belief in the strong connection between art and everyday life. Materials have a special meaning in Beuys’s work.” (The secret recipe behind Beuys’s brown paint)

“It is important to know that Beuys used an industrial product in his work rather than an artistic one,” says Barbara Strieder, the head supervisor of the graphic arts collection of the Museum Schloss Moyland. “This shows his belief in the strong connection between art and everyday life. Materials have a special meaning in Beuys’s work.” (The secret recipe behind Beuys’s brown paint)

“An aesthetic of cognitive mapping – a pedagogical political culture which seeks to endow the individual subject with some new heightened sense of its place in the global system – will necessarily have to respect this now enormously complex representational dialectic and invent radically new forms in order to do it justice. This is not then, clearly, a call for a return to some older kind of machinery, some older and more transparent national space, or some more traditional and reassuring perspectival or mimetic enclave: the new political art (if it is possible at all) will have to hold to the truth of postmodernism, that is to say, to its fundamental object – the world space of multinational capital – at the same time at which it achieves a breakthrough to some as yet unimaginable new mode of representing this last, in which we may again begin to grasp our positioning as individual and collective subjects and regain a capacity to act and struggle which is at present neutralised by our spatial as well as our social confusion. The political form of postmodernism, if there ever is any, will have as its vocation the invention and projection of a global cognitive mapping, on a social as well as a spatial scale.”

From Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, by Fredric Jameson.

Previously on mεταƒοr.έs: “A map is not a mere representation or just a visualization of data.”



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