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Collapsing New Buildings

Written on he occasion of Refik Anadol‘s solo show titled ‘Minus Field’

The invention and use of photography liberated painting. Photographers took
photographs of the nobles and the painters found themselves trying new forms and
modalities of painting or painting in nature or in social life. The liberation of painting
from objective representation, constituted a defense against the mechanization of
representation by photography and the consequent cheapening of the image. This
was the fact of the previous century.

We are living in the age of instant image sharing and loss of photographic memory.
From an urban point of view, it should mean that there are no longer landmarks for
cities. Go to flickr.com, type ‘Berlin’. Do you see the photographs of ‘Alexendarplatzʼ?
Good! Now you can really start thinking and imagining ‘Einstürzende Neubauten’
(Collapsing New Buildings). Now you may go to the edges of the columns and the
beams, to see if these new buildings are really collapsing or not. This is what Refik
does.

Foucault states that “the author is not an endless source of meanings which charge
or inform a work; the author does not precede the works; rather, the author is a part
of a functioning principle in our culture by which one limits, excludes, and chooses.”
We know from Flusser that, new media – beginning with the photo camera – have
had a strong impact on people in general, as well as on those who work with them. It
is not, for example, the photographer who creates the photography, but the camera.
For him, the real artists are the people who invented the camera, the chemicals, and
the technical process of photography. If the photographer intends to be more than a
Funktionär of the camera, he needs to achieve what Flusser calls
Technoimagination; the photographer needs to fully understand the inside of the
ʻblack boxʼ before he is able to use it in ways not predetermined by its program.
Refik’s work is the harbinger of computational photography. Computational
photography is an emerging new field created by the convergence of computer
graphics, computer vision and photography. Its role is to overcome the limitations of
the traditional camera by using computational techniques. He is not patient enough
to wait for the computing devices to be assemled into the camera; he is using his
sight and perception for now.

He liberates himself both from photography and architecture.

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