David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

10 March 2016

What do we see when we see a paragraph?

Artist Talk : What do we see when we see a photograph?
Tonight at WEST SPACE
Thursday 10th March, 6:30pm
Jack Brown, Janina Green, Sanja Pahoki in conversation with Kiron Robinson and Tamsen Hopkinson

Alan Sekula once said that the only thing in relation to truth that a photograph can offer is “the assertion that somebody or something … was somewhere and took a picture. Everything else, everything beyond the imprinting of the trace is up for grabbing.”  This thinking, linking the action of seeing a photograph with the action of the production of the image, has primarily underpinned the understanding of how we see a photograph since its invention.
The rise of screen-based technology and the effects that this had on the dissemination and encounter with images has shattered this last vestige of the unique sight associated with the “trace” as the dominant condition of seeing the photographic. The ubiquitous engagement with the action of viewing and continued circulation granted a form of ownership over the image to the individual free of the idea of the unique vision of the maker and allowed for a re-examination of the condition of the photographic – especially within contemporary art. So, if the photograph no longer represents the subject / object or the vision of the producer through its mode of production, then what exactly does it represent or do?
Last night we watched on TV the 1985 values farce 'Brewster's Millions', the Richard Pryor version.
With tonight's West Space panel discussion in mind, we noted with a chuckle this exchange between Brewster's self-appointed minders Spike Nolan (John Candy) and personal photographer (Joe Grifasi) as they observe Brewster purchasing an expensive rare stamp :
Spike Nolan : Maybe he's coming to his senses.
What do you think?

Photographer : I'm getting paid to take pictures.
My job is not to interpret reality.
In just these few scenes, there are lots of image formats : stamps, photographs, postcards, newspapers... and lots of regard for our meta-regard mill.
Brewster : Do you sell stamps?
        Stamp dealer : I think that you want
        the stationery store across the street.
        The stamps we have
        are very rare, very expensive.
How expensive?
        Well, let me show you, Mr, uh...
Montgomery Brewster.
        Montgomery Brewster! I have been
        reading about you in the newspaper.
I'd like to see your most expensive stamp.
        Ah! One moment.

        Stamp dealer : As you can see, the airplane was
        accidentally printed upside down.
        Of the 100 of these stamps
        originally printed,...
        ..this is the only known copy in existence.
        Baron Levitsky recently offered $850,000 for it
        and I laughed in his face.

        Spike Nolan : This may be the first intelligent
        thing he's done with his money.
        Maybe he's coming to his senses.
        What do you think?
Photographer : I'm getting paid to take pictures.
My job is not to interpret reality.

        Spike Nolan : You're a real jerk, you know that?
Photographer : Ain't that the truth.
Tell it to my accountant.
Lawyer reading newspaper headline : 
I'd say the stamp he's bought
is a considerable asset.
He doesn't even understand the rules
yet. Let's see him get out of this one.
        Secretary : Good morning. Here's the mail.
Thank you.
        Is there anything else I can do?
Hold on a minute.
Regards postcard picture : 
Hackensack Bulls. 
Reads other side :
"Having a wonderful time. Wish you
were here. Best wishes, Monty Brewster."

                                                          Theatre of the Actors of Regard
Lawyer : God!
It isn't an asset any more.
He's mailed it.
Get Cox over here.
        Right away, sir.
The son of a bitch.

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...