Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ai Weiwei : Photography

Excited to attend Fred Ritchin & Brian Palmer's talk Thursday night at the SVA Theater, posted here earlier.

With anticipation, have returned to Ai Weiwei's thoughts on photography below:

(originally posted on his blog on January 16, 2006, written July 25, 2003)

The practice of photography is no longer the means for recording reality. Instead, it has become reality itself. Photography as a medium is also endowed with all the fundamental implications of a material object, such as scale, density, and focal points. It also acts as a gauge for all potential realities, having evolved into a marvelous relationship between our understanding of material images and photography as a material object itself. Images become an important reference point for distinguishing between the authenticity and potentiality of objects, and within the distinction they once again become truth itself.

Photography as reality provides the act of photography with another layer of significance. This is similar to the seemingly truthful- but actually false- state of various kinds of "knowledge." No matter whether or not we are convinced of the information that is presented to us, every bit of it is useless in allaying our doubts about the likelihood of the photograph. Analyzing light, density, and amounts causes logic and emotion to become dissociated amid a dependence on facts and feelings of unfamiliarity.

Once photography has broken away from its original function as technique or means for documentation, it is merely a fleeting state of existence that has been transformed into one possible reality. It is this transformation that makes photography a kind of movement and gives it its distinctive significance: it is merely one type of existence. Life is merely an undisputable fact, and the production of an alternative reality is another kind of truth that shares no genuine relationship to reality. Both are waiting for something miraculous to occur- the reexamination of reality. As an intermediary, photography is a medium endlessly pushing life and perceived actions towards this unfamiliar conflict.

No comments: