Monday, September 5, 2011

Excerpts from readings...


"The ultimate effect of punctum is the intimation of death. This Barthes realizes in the personal context of his bereavement over the still recent death of his mother; looking at a portrait of her as a young girl (a picture he declines to reproduce in ''Camera Lucida''), he sees that her death implies his own. From this he arrives at the broad conclusion that every photograph contains the sign of his death, and that the essence of photography is the implied message: ''That has been.'' It is no coincidence that Barthes is given to quoting Proust; Proust's obsession with memory is Barthes's obsession with death. Proust's immense powers of recall embody all that Barthes hopes to extract from a photograph but which, intractably, the photograph refuses to yield.
''It is the fashion, nowadays, among Photography's commentators (sociologists and semiologists), to seize upon a semantic relativity: no 'reality' (great scorn for the 'realists' who do not see that the photograph is always coded), nothing but artifice. ... The realists, of whom I am one ... do not take the photograph for a 'copy' of reality, but for an emanation of past reality: a magic, not an art.'' For followers of Barthes's thought the message is clear: Increasingly, Barthes sensed a disparity between the way semiotics described the world and the way he perceived it as lived."

"For the past decade and a half, he has been creating installations that explore his longstanding interest in identity, narrative and biography. In these haunting installations which use light bulbs, shadows, blurred 2nd or 3rd-generation prints made from found or borrowed family photos, clothing, and linen, the artist presents personal histories which expose photography's ties to memory, loss, and mourning, as well as its vulnerabilities to the claim of truth.

Through the appropriation of amateur photography and the methodology of inventory, presentation, and display, Boltanski's seemingly objective archive of the artifacts of everyday life (a family snapshot; an article of clothing) can be seen as an attempt to reconstitute history, collective memory, and individual childhood(s). In reconstructing family histories, he is engaged simultaneously in an inventory of the real and the willing creation of myth."

No comments:

Post a Comment