Substance Will Be Untouched

Paul Corio Odetta Gallery Installation 2017

“… the clip shows Bowie singing to himself from three simultaneous angles, with layering techniques tripling his image; not only has Bowie’s hero been cloned, he has above all become an image that can be reproduced, multiplied, and copied, a riff that travels effortlessly through commercials for almost anything, a fetish that packages Bowie’s glamorous and unfazed post-gender look as product. Bowie’s hero is no longer a larger-than-life human being carrying out exemplary and sensational exploits, and he is not even an icon, but a shiny product endowed with post-human beauty: an image and nothing but an image.
This hero’s immortality no longer originates in the strength to survive all possible ordeals, but from its ability to be xeroxed, recycled, and reincarnated. Destruction will alter its form and appearance, yet its substance will be untouched. The immortality of the thing is its finitude, not its eternity.” [Hito Steyerl The Wretched of the Screen]

Wade Guyton at Chantal Crouse 2014

“Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence. This includes the changes which it may have suffered in physical condition over the years as well as the various changes in its ownership. The traces of the first can be revealed only by chemical or physical analyses which it is impossible to perform on a reproduction; changes of ownership are subject to a tradition which must be traced from the situation of the original.” [Walter Benjamin The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction]

Michael Zahn Installation Greenspon 2017

“We usually think of memory in just this way, as if a recorder planted in our head could be rewound and replayed; however, memory often stores perceptual information in verbal forms, not images. We remember a “light blue Rambler,” and yet because we have translated it in our minds into a verbal construct, we would find it difficult to retranslate the memory into an image, re-creating exactly the right shade of blue. Autobiographical memory is a recollection of events or episodes, which we remember with great detail. What’s stored in that memory isn’t the actual events, but how those events made sense to us and fit into our experience….”
“Why do you take photographs so constantly, so obsessively? Why do you collect other people’s photographs? Why do you scavenge in secondhand shops and buy old albums of other people’s pasts? So that I’ll see what I’ve seen.”” [David Shields Reality Hunger]

Christopher Wool at the Venice Central Pavilion 2011

“Modern and contemporary art are, by contrast, products of the long history of depsychologization that many critics—for example, Ortega y Gasset—experienced as a history of dehumanization. Avant-garde and post-avant-garde artists wanted their art to be not realist but real—as real as all the other processes taking place in the world. The artwork was understood as being a thing among other things—like a tree or a car. This did not mean that avant-garde artists did not want to change the world—on the contrary, they radicalized this desire. But they did not appeal to the psyche of the reader, listener, or spectator to achieve this goal. Rather, they understood art as a specific kind of technology that was able to change the world by technical means. In fact, the avant-garde tried to turn art spectators into inhabitants of the artwork—so that by accommodating themselves to the new conditions of their environment, these spectators would change their sensibilities and attitudes. Speaking in Marxist terms: art can thus be seen as either part of the superstructure, or part of the material base. In other words, art can be understood as either ideology or technology. The radical artistic avant-gardes pursued the second, technological way of world transformation.” [Boris Groys on the New Realism]

One thought on “Substance Will Be Untouched

  1. “If one says “Red” (the name of a color)
    and there are 50 people listening,
    it can be expected that there will be 50 reds in their minds.
    And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.

    Even when a certain color is specified which all listeners have seen
    innumerable times – such as the red of the Coca-Cola signs which is
    the same red all over the country – they will still think of
    many different reds.

    Even if all the listeners have hundreds of reds in front of them
    from which to choose the Coca-Cola red, they will again select
    quite different colors. And no one can be sure that he has found
    the precise red shade.”

    […]

    “What does this show?

    First, it is hard, if not impossible to remember distinct colors.
    This underscores the important fact that the visual memory is very poor
    in comparison with our auditory memory. Often the latter is able
    to repeat a melody heard only once or twice.

    Second, the nomenclature of color is most inadequate.
    Though there are innumerable colors – shades and tones –
    in daily vocabulary, there are only about thirty color names.”

    Josef Albers, The Interaction of Color, 1963

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