Unreal Nature

October 21, 2015

The Embeddedness of the Apparatus

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:46 am

Friedlander’s pictorial apprehension of television allows us to move … between the space of everyday life and the ‘image space’ of the screen.

Continuing Lee Friedlander: The Little Screens by Saul Anton (2015):

… The ‘fact’ of television and the uncanny experience of it that Friedlander brings forward is … ultimately about the willingness to recognize and accept one’s own mediated artificiality; that is, one’s prosthetic extension into the world, a condition of ordinariness, of life in its repetitive habitualness.

… The human face is not simply replaced with the ‘face’ of television (nor, for that matter, will it be with the faces of Facebook). On the contrary, as an apparatus of representation, TV opens a space within the image for that which escapes the image and representation: the communication or transmission ‘itself.’ In this televisual spatialization, the subject of the gaze appears to retreat into a secondary position, somewhere ‘behind’ the screen. Although this unquestionably sucks all the air out of the room, as it were, it also defers to what surrounds the screen, the decor and the furniture. As viewers, we are suspended between the artificial face of man and the anthropomorphism of technology.

Friedlander_WashDC1962
Washington DC, 1962

… Today, it is commonly accepted that reality is ‘constructed,’ but what Friedlander demonstrates in these images is that what is meant by this expression is not simply that various cultural, economic and media interests valorize and champion certain ideological and political ideas and fictions. Here, ‘construction’ means the embeddedness of the apparatus and of the image in reality … Friedlander’s pictorial apprehension of television allows us to move from an ideal of domesticity (that modern and contemporary art both call out as ideology) to a view of the domicile understood as the continuous discontinuity between the space of everyday life and the ‘image space’ of the screen. This is a reality that arises out of the unreality of the image.

Friedlander_Nashville
Nashville, 1963

My most recent previous post from Anton’s book is here.

-Julie

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