Unreal Nature

September 21, 2016

Laying a Trap for the World

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:36 am

… Today, at this very moment, language is losing its material basis — in other words, its reality — and floating in space.

This is from the essay ‘Me to me narazaru mono (Eyes and Things That Are Not Eyes)’ by Taki Kōji [1970] found in Provoke: Between Protest and Performance: Photography in Japan 1960-1975 edited by Diane Dufour, Duncan Forbes, Walter Moser, and Matthew S. Witkovsky (2016):

… If we start by speculating that we are overcome by the world, caught up in the deceitful overflow of audio, visual, and other signs, we can consider countermeasures to trick the world to expose its deceptions. Conventional uses of photography yield ambiguous effects in the outside world that often deceive us. We can devise a method from this [awareness], and respond by laying a trap for the world.

… When loading film in the camera, you must first shoot several blank frames before taking any photographs. In this process you may end up capturing your own feet or the ground, or sometimes people, animals, or cars that happened to be there, or slanted horizons or buildings that look like failed shots. Have you ever felt a strange realness in these? Have you ever analyzed such sentiments?

If you have, then there must be contexts in which these meaningless frames — with images that are just faintly dangling in the corners — can acquire meaning. For us, it is crucial to discover these contexts. I sometimes realize that I have only chosen frames that would undoubtedly be thrown out according to usual standards. For instance, as depictions of people, I would rather choose images that are blurry over accurately focused images and choose those images that feel somewhat insufficient or compositionally lacking, over those that are well composed.

[line break added] This selection process is unconscious and intuitive rather than deliberate. However, it applies to the process of selecting negatives and not to the shooting. Such photographs would acquire meaning once we understand that our own existence is defective, and realize that we should not be passionate about the things that constitute the world, but rather recognize the world’s imperfections and feel a deep attachment to them.

The following is from the Preface to Provoke 1 [1968] by Takanishi Yutaka, Nakahira Takuma, Taki Kōji, and Okada Takahiko:

The image in itself is not an idea. It cannot attain the totality of a concept, nor can it be a commutative sign like a word. Its irreversible materiality — a reality that has been detached by the camera — exists in a world opposite that of language, and because of this it sometimes provokes the world of language and concepts. In such instances, language transcends its fixed, conceptualized self, and is transformed into a new language, or rather a new idea.

Today, at this very moment, language is losing its material basis — in other words, its reality — and floating in space. We as photographers must capture with our own eyes fragments of reality that can no longer be grasped through existing language, and must actively put forth materials that address language and ideas. This is why we have been so bold as to give Provoke the subtitle Provocative Materials for Thought.

My most recent previous post from this book is here.




Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: