Felix/2019 05 15 ToM

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Note: More recent version is this one: File:2019 05 22 Felix ToM.pdf

Text on Method

My work is situated within the question on how reality is perceived and shaped and when it becomes simulation or simulation becomes reality. Human perception and the subsequent actions today take place in an extensive media surround. From traditional media throughout the Internet, personal communication and public spaces, we are confronted with a mediated stream of information, especially in visual form. With technological progress, formerly separated channels are even merging, causing the media surround to spread infinitely. The surround is working as a feedback mechanism: The counting iterations are abstracting the media/perception from the world, becoming a Simulacrum.

My research is exploring how to communicate outside of/without the media surround, which my practical work aims to do. The work consists of two strands of method that are somehow distinct but overlapping occasionally: photographic practice and image curating. Both are supported by theoretical and contemporary readings that sharpen the practices.

Photographic practice

In my photographic practice, I survey the public space around me and capture scenes of objects, images or the space and what it is made of itself. The captured scenes depict what is commonly encountered in the public, like fragments of architecture, urban planning, advertisements, shops, decoration, human-made obscurities. With the camera, I frame the scenes towards the subject, creating an image with several visual layers and manipulating the space’s scale by its reproduction. The visual layers are made of the foreground of the space, parts of the architecture, light reflections and reflections of the opposite surround in windows and glass, a picture or specific object that is placed in the space, possibly the picture’s print and materiality that become visible through physically approximating the subject. These layers are itself reflecting their distinct interpretation of the same space and come together in the one image. The framing and reproduction as a photographic print are automatically creating new proportions of scale, differing to the real-world experience. That is alienating the real-world scene and abstracting it to become accessible. Furthermore by taking a scene from the public space and putting it in form of the photograph in a neutral space (such as a book or gallery), that sits outside the medial surround of the public space, I make the specific subject accessible and am able to outline its symbolical function. Also, it provides for re-contextualisation and bringing several separated subjects together to outline their commonalities.

Exemplarily, the observation of semi-public/private spaces, that I realised in the photographic series New New Home and made into a photo book “Wohnen”: These photographs inhere a passive appearance of human-beings, visible through the corollary of their actions like the placement of objects or architectural elements that communicate something about the human needs and wishes. By framing I create photographs of visual sobriety with a subtle reference to a human naivety. This is leading to a strange, humorist image that is representing the contemporary. The form of presentation is aiming to add to this by abstracting the series in a catalogue-style, making the encrypted human wishes available to choose from. The familiarity in the depicted in turn points back to the viewers own inner thoughts and resulting outer behaviour, subconsciously approaching the viewer.

Theoretical research

The practice of curating images is rather part of the theoretical research than the practical. I am capturing images from online media or found in the physical public space that interest me, because within them they are clearly indicating, advertising for, or making use of current (communication) technologies or evolving from the medial surround that is a product of the technologies. I save them digitally from the internet or take photographic images of them, when found in the physical world. This is done to have an overview on the contemporary practices and images with the aim to conceive the influence of technology on them.

I am using theoretical readings of Baudrillard and Flusser as well as contemporary texts on media history of Turner and contemporary readings on internet technology as a basis for understanding the observations and communicating the explorations as being part of the underlying systems of Simulation, Apparatus and media surround. =Let this breath=

Relation to earlier projects

The practice undertaken builds up on earlier projects I have realised, as for example the exhibition of images from the “New New Home” series and the installation “Beyond”.

New New Home II is the second installation of an ongoing series of architectural photography. Two images, one showing a new, modern brick-wall with a door-sized, full-height window that is fully covered by a paravent with the print of a historic door on it on the inside, the other one showing the end of a new built, semi-private garden with a wall as a closing, and small garden gates to the private lawns that are also divided through small hedges. Both photographs are printed in 1:1 size, 2,80 meters long and 2,20 meters high.

The photographs are made at shady daylight with a normal lens on a medium format camera. The lines of the architecture are kept straight. Technically this creates a neutral and seemingly objective aesthetics and for that is intended to look as realistic as possible. Contrary to that the captured scenes appeal surrealistic and quirky, because of, in the first picture, the style and the positioning in front of the windows by the resident, and in the second, the layout of the gardens that seem to mainly exist of different divisions of the space. The large formats that make the recipient nearly stand in the scene exaggerate the appeal even more.

By showing explicitly new built residential spaces, the series of two is giving two contemporary documents of the exact time they were built in and photographed without the aspect of ageing. The quirkiness of the scenes is referring to the infantile humanity and a zeitgeist that existed at that moment. The display of the images took place within the same time period the photographs were taken and the buildings were designed and built. With that, the given stylisation of humanity and zeitgeist are thrown back to the recipient, who can see himself in the images.

Thinking Beyond is a digital software incorporated in a spatial, audio-visual installation depicting a sacral environment. Therefore it is made from an altar, a tryptichon from backlit prints displaying renderings of a moebius strip and six plates with commandments. It is interactive and provides the recipient with a tool to liberate himself from being a physical extension of an algorithmic controlled virtual society he is connected through his iPhone’s internet connection and make him a human being of free will. The emotionalising movie-soundtrack „Chariots of Fire“ is playing during the interaction of the recipient.

The intended „liberation“, as it is staged by the created fictive institution, is executed through a software, accessible through the altar, that is used as an iPhone dock. It uses generic Apple software to restrict the smartphones ability to use any kind of third party apps, as well as to connect to the internet. The 2x2 meter large altar is built of grey MDF and has a monumental appeal. The tryptichon displays the fictive Beyond-Society’s symbol, a moebius strip, stylised as minimalist productimages, referring to the design language of tech companies, especially such as Apple. The sacral appeal is continued on the audible level through playing the music by Vangelis that strengthens the emotional binding to the created institution.

With the sacral appeal and strong references to the commonly known aesthetics to Apple Inc.’s design language, that are exaggerated through its further minimisation, connected to the dystopic but though realistic idea of the recipient being an unfree personality but controlled through his smartphones software, the science-fictional installation becomes reality and through that criticises the current praxis of data-capitalism and people farming, arises awareness and provides, in a satiric manner, a method to overcome this practices. This is intended to process the personal observations and experiences of the author/artist/creator.

During the undertaken research I have directed the practical interest in a more precise area already and especially used it to contextualise material I collected as well as images I have made.