HD video, 98 minutes, silent.
Exh.: Since we last spoke about monuments, curated by Mihnea Mircan, also including Azra Aksamija, Matthew Buckingham, Sam Durant, Office KGDVS, Hans van Houwelingen, Irwin, Alon Levin, Metahaven, Ciprian Muresan, Jonas Staal & Vincent van Gerven Oei, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, 14 September - 9 November 2008, Stroom den Haag, The Hague;
In 1998, in my final year at art school, I began to collect pictures of people bearing images from printed media. As this collection grew in size and scope, the activity of collecting these pictures began to assume the shape of a work in its own right. Printed pages / Bearing images / 1998-2008 is the work which evolved as the elaboration of this collection: a 98-minute video in which one image dissolves into the next through a 30-second non-additive dissolve, an image endlessly in motion through 198 found images.
For the exhibition Since we last spoke about monuments, in which this work first appeared, each artist in the exhibition was asked to write a short text on their work.
In 1998, in my final year at art school, I began to collect pictures of people bearing images from printed media. Collecting was a thinking mechanism, a process related to the speculative activity of drawing. The collection of pictures came to feed the development of my banner marches, which I undertook in various cities, including Berlin, Melbourne and Sydney, between 2001 and 2005. As it grew in size and scope, the activity of collecting these pictures began to assume the shape of a work in its own right. Printed pages/ Bearing images/ 1998-2008 is an attempt to elaborate the collection according to its own logic: images proliferating images; an insistent but shifting relation between the image and animation; and the confusion, merging and/or conflict between the faces that bear and the faces that are borne, between culprit and victim.
The work is conceived as a meditation on contemporary relations towards death, but also on how these relations towards death – articulated through longing, violence, sometimes even disinterest – are also conflicting ideas of what is held to be sovereign. The work connects to the monumental in part through this address to sovereignty – or more precisely to conflicting contemporary ideas of sovereignty – which I think it shares with the monument’s area of competence. It also engages the monumental through what I would describe as its “gathering up”. This encompasses both a spatial characteristic (the way the monument situates itself at point where sight-lines align, crowds accumulate, stairs rise, in short moments of visual climax in the city's spaces) but also a procedure (that of bringing together, massing together, unifying, reconciling, totalising, or conversely, reducing the diversity of human action to two categories). This is qualified though. In Printed pages/ Bearing images/ 1998-2008, no single image is ever itself, partly because of the transparency of the newspaper paper, and, in a more profound way, because of the endless dissolve mechanism. So even as the work tends towards a totalising procedure, it is also constituted by a self-fragmenting structure. This structure is also the work’s system of proliferation (i.e. it makes of 198 found images 144,000 images, the number of frames in the work, each a distinct image), which gives the work something like the scale of the monument and the length of a feature film.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of Christian Capurro, Clare Land, Mihnea Mircan, Dominic Redfern, Alex Rizkalla, Bronwyn Stocks, Stroom den Haag, Bree Trennery, Peter Wells.