Date of Submission
Project Advisor 1
“One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced. These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition which is the obverse of the contemporary crisis and renewal of mankind.” –Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Photography is often criticized for its tendency to mediate our experiences of reality. We are threatened by its closeness to reality as well as its power to transform fleeting moments into images that are static and suspended. But rather than cooperate with these conditions of the artistic medium, as well as accept our own discomfort with the eternity of an image or a moment, we tend to ignore them and avoid confrontation. The photograph has become the most accessible tool to document experiences, as well as a crucial part of our selective memory, drastically changing the way we determine or value experience. Dis-Ease is an attempt to embrace these seemingly negative and difficult aspects of photography and use them to engage with the medium and the world.
My photographs stem from a personal experience of anxiety and use photography as a response to this anxiety. Through making photographs founded on my own preoccupations and concerns about the world, the universality of these issues became clear. Anxiety is a symptom of human life as is our desire to document. We document certain moments in our life and endow them with more importance than those we don’t. This project focuses on documenting the uncomfortable moments that paralyzed or disturbed me in my own experience of anxiety, in the hopes of translating these emotions to be accessible to the viewer.
These images are of experiences that become disrupted by the photograph and force a confrontation between the image and ourselves. By virtue of this confrontation, a new experience is created that replaces the original. It is the aim of these photographs to transcend the previous experience with one generated entirely from the photograph. These new experiences are pure and unblemished, devoid of any context or language, purely visual and emotional, arising entirely out of an encounter with the photograph. These photographs take on new meaning confined within the frame of the photograph. This reactivation of experience transforms the photograph into document, anxiety, and dis-ease.
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Barkin, Lana, "Dis-Ease" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 384.