PUBLIC 40: Screens

Was invited to make a contribution to the 40th issue of PUBLIC (a journal of 'Art, Culture & Idea's published by the Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts in York University, Toronto) which went by the title: Screens. They featured the auditorium image from Maratha Mandir below. Do check out the journal if you get a chance to, there are some interesting texts and images/artworks that interrogate and investigate the shifting nature of screens themselves as well as their influence in changing—and often conflating—the "public" and "private" spheres.

From the editorial note:
"PUBLIC 40: Screens features twenty artists, curators and researchers who investigate and respond to new spaces of viewing and changing patterns of consumption —from Quebec to Palestine, from streets to galleries— with a variety of aesthetic, technological and distribution tactics. From Kelly Mark’s The Kiss to Elaine Ho and Sean Smith’s project responding to the Beijing Olympics, from Bruno Lessard’s essay about Robert Lepage’s Le Moulin à images to Holly Lewis’s "Wars of Air and Electricity," Screens is dedicated to the ways screens are used, viewed, imagined, placed, and made worldwide."
I was particularly taken by an image from Canadian artist Kelly Mark's installation The Kiss, which I have taken the liberty to copy and paste below.

Kelly Mark, The Kiss (2007)

On her website Kelly writes: "The light source for this work was created by simply recording the cast light of a gang bang scene in a hard core porn film as it bathed my apartment wall while viewing. No image or sound was captured only the reflected light. The porn genre tends to be fairly routine and pragmatic in terms of editing, therefore the resulting glow is steady and rhythmic with few camera changes but with quickening pulses of colour...mainly pinks, oranges and red hues."

I really love it.

It's one of those images where I'm sure that you don't really need the text at all, the caption itself, being so evocative, does a lot of the work. And yet, some people would like to know this. The artist herself clearly believes that it is important to know this. It is always interesting to think about just how 'context', such as the kind Kelly has provided, changes the way you read and experience an image. Personally, I constantly battle with myself as to whether it is necessary to put contextual information beside a particular image, because sometimes context can override the subjective reaction a viewer has with the image; and yet, often it is so important to know why/where/whom/what/how.

It's also perhaps worth thinking about titles/captions that reference other titles/cations and how artists can use that to not merely reference but 'update' images to their cultural time and place. With regards to Kelly Mark's work, Gustav Klimt's The Kiss comes to mind:

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss (1908)

Ah, convergences.


Anonymous said...

It's a curious picture no doubt. But the text certainly makes it more interesting. Without it, it seems a bit pointless.

P.S. Great photos!

Zubin Pastakia said...

But, does everything have to a point? Or can we react to something at the level of the surface without being able to put into words why or what it is that makes us like or react to something? Hmm.

Thank you!

jas said...

that's called social conditioning I guess...