Category Archives: Realizations

Why Your Five-Year Old Could Not Have Painted A Newman.

Barnett Newman’s work is often considered a paradox.

A pictorial oeuvre that oscillates between Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. It therefore serves as an intergenerational bridge between the two. This bridge shares the sentiments of the former through its gestural abstraction and fascination with the ‘primitive’ and the latter through its inclusive color field and self-revelatory zips. It therefore becomes difficult to categorize this oscillation, especially since its further aided by other elements such as size, medium, and color relationships. These negotiate the differences between the two movements, creating paintings liberated from medium-specificity through their access into the world of objects. However, this experimentation with objecthood is driven by a modernist discourse of autonomy. A discourse that propagates its own self-awareness by declaring ‘I am Art’.

This self-awareness is translated into the ethos of Abstract Expressionism. A radically individualistic movement that experimented with form, in search for content. Content that stemmed from the artist’s free will. This resulted in an impulsive, emotion-oriented association with the artwork. In some cases it was exercised through dynamically liberated gestures while at other times this dynamism was translated into the fields of color and depths of vision. However, the common method they employed to unlock this instinctual subconscious, was through psychoanalysis. They adopted Freudian and Jungian theories in order to access and express an inner layer of subjectivity. The artist becomes a mediator between his own suppressed conscious and the outside world. This occupation with the psyche is inherently narcissistic, or in other words, modernist. Its existence and prominence are self-referential. This apathy towards the social and political, or the everyday, is what allows an artist such as Newman to oppose all forms of teleological thinking. Thoughts that encompass the irrelevancy of deeper meaning or social change in an institution built on self-referentiality.

This was expressed in one of his earlier paintings called Abraham [fig.1]  that dismissed utopic inclinations for a tragic sense of fear. A fear of ‘firstness’, of creating something he had never seen or done before. This tension was largely formalist since its main concern was with painting black on black, a once remote initiative. It therefore articulates the possibility that an artist could fear form as much as content. As for its expression, it was clearly autonomous in its nonrepresentational nature. It communicated a bourgeoisie self-importance by referring to a subjective reality as opposed to a universally objective one.

However, this closeness of value through the absence of chroma created an interesting relationship between the foreground and background. It demanded the viewer’s attentiveness in order to be able to perceive the blacker zip emerge from the surrounding field. This revelatory experience requires a spatiotemporal investment. And once this investment is given, the painting responds by offering the viewer an experience of time and space. This is also the case for the thin, light halo that fleetingly appears on each side of the darker zip (whose perception depends on) one’s sustained presence. This notion of presence reflects Fried’s analysis of the term in relation to Minimalism. An aspect of the artwork that is self-consciously manifested by the beholder. This aspect is theatrical in its dependence. It can not perform its role without an equally reflective audience. This engagement opens up the durationality of experience since it operates through an interaction with time and space. It was in clear opposition to the minimalist principle of presentness. A notion that legitimizes an artworks self-sufficiency through its unconscious manifestation to the beholder.

This feeling of presence is further aided by the huge scale of the canvas and the color plane known as zip. This term is appropriate since it challenges our perceptual understanding of space. It offers an illusion of a rupture into a different world, a world we can step into conceptually. This is encouraged by the width of the zip and its positioning of one edge on the axis of symmetry (thus deliberately) giving them a different weight without tilting anything in space. This play with our perception through the disruption of a clear foreground/background hierarchy opposes modernist medium-specificity. The flatness of the canvas is dressed with an illusion of dimensionality, of space, of objecthood. It becomes like an immense doorway whose totality can only be grasped from afar. This affirms our referential understanding of space. An understanding that legitimizes our existence through our own ‘spatial relation’ to the world of objects. And since our spatial relation to the artwork is trivial, we are overcome with its sublimity. This beckoning of the elemental, the instinctual, the primitive favors experience over modernist purity. It inspires within the viewer a feeling of disconcerting awe rather than a comfortable appreciation of formalist beauty. This fear is attributed to the realization that we, the mortal, finite viewer can only see things partially. In other words it marks the tragic reality of human perceptual finitude.

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Another interesting example that carries these sentiments is Newman’s Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue? [fig. 2] As the title suggests this painting is about fear, an elemental human emotion that has been dismissed by the stoic modernists of the late 1960s. It was therefore a clear Abstract Expressionist attempt to regain the wide spectrum of human emotion into the palette of art making. In this case the sense of fear is highly individualistic and stems from his ambiguous placement within the contemporary art world. He wanted to disengage his association with the purists, neo-plasticists and other formalists by using the primary colors expressively rather than didactically. The success of this endeavor is mainly due to the immense size of the canvas that is inherently expressive. Its pure confrontation is an evocative experience. It requires our perception to oscillate between the two margins, never encompassing the totality of the canvas.

This is further aided by the color, width, and position of the different planes. These allow the three colors to exercise a sort of balance as they try to compete on equal terms, eventually reaching an equilibrium. An equilibrium that is only achieved by the viewer’s conscious involvement. This physical, emotional, and mental engagement it demands encourages the viewer to question the seriousness of the title. We are left wondering whether we should believe it, disbelieve it, or employ both convictions simultaneously. Interestingly, this dialogue shares the theatricality of minimalism by adopting the visual language of modernism. However, had its size been reduced to a non-threatening human scale, this painting, along with most of Newman’s work would comfortably fall under the categorization of modernist medium-specificity. It would be an exercise of form. Therefore its size is what allows for this sense of perceptual finitude that acts as a bridge to minimalism.

Whos AfraidAnother example that demonstrates these principles is Onement VI [fig. 3] and Voice of Fire [fig. 4]. The former which consists of blue paint on canvas punctured by a white zip in the center is slightly larger than human scale. Therefore its sublimity is not silenced but muted. This is done to shed light on a different element, which is the relationship of the zip to the color field. Its messy application gives us a sense of the medium. Rather then being confronted by a blatantly illusionary zip we come to terms with the subtle flatness of the canvas. This is due to our perception of the zip as encompassing a unitary visual relationship with the rest of the painting. However, this holistic association is challenged once the artwork is viewed from a distance. The thin white line is quickly transformed into a zip, a disparate part that constitutes the whole as opposed to being a part of the whole. Its brilliance is suggestive of a brighter world that acknowledges the existential drama of our humanity. A sort of drama that originated from the artist’s individualistic free will. It therefore adds onto the modernist discourse of autonomy, a sense of collectivity. This is done through the painting’s role as a mediator between the artist’s individualism and a language of universality.

Newman-Onement IV

The latter example, Voice of Fire [fig. 5] is an immense rectangular painting consisting of three horizontal bands of blue, red, and blue; respectively. Its phenomenal scale is a manifestation of the sublime. It imposes its exalted presence on the viewer. This creates a clear dichotomy of power between the looker and the object that is being looked at. It is no longer considered a painting but a monument that exercises speculative control. Control of our perception, motion, and emotion. Therefore, it undoubtedly enters into the realm of performance. A frozen show that requires our engagement from a distance.

It also embodies the minimalist notion of objecthood, not only through its scale, but through the red zip. Although the symmetrical composition hinders its blatancy, the juxtaposition of the red against the two blue color fields reaffirms its existence. This is due to the nature of the colors; the blue tending to recede while the red tending to advance. This allows the viewer a metaphorical access into the content of the painting, as predetermined by its maker. This aspect coupled with its threatening presence opposes modernist preoccupation with form. Medium is no longer relevant when faced with an experience of perceptual immersion.

Newman-Voice Of Fire

The final logical step was to transform these zips into free-standing structures, which is what constituted some of his later work. Here II  [fig. 6] is a sculpture that consists of three vertically free-standing structures mounted on an irregular steel board. This literal liberation comfortably positions the artwork within minimalism. Its objecthood is no longer bound by perception but gains a layer of tangibility. This allows the viewer to step into this space, literally and conceptually. It becomes completely performative. Instead of interacting with the totality of the flat canvas, these zips enter into a dialogue with the surrounding space. This dialogue, although interdependent, is hierarchal since its confrontation is no longer concerned with wholeness but partialness.

This sculpture also reflects minimalist engagement with industrially produced materials. This crossover from the original to the mass-produced translates the zips evocation of the sublime. However, in this case this feeling of fear is directed towards the industrially threatening material and its vertical positioning. Like most of his paintings, we can only admire this sculpture from a comfortable distance. Another interesting element is the placement of the zips in the foreground and background of the stand. Whereas in his paintings he marked this distinction through the receding and advancing nature of color, in this example he compensates the absence of color with a literal manipulation of depth. This allows the viewer to translate this literality into his paintings in order to gain a stronger perception into the illusionary world of the zips.

Whereas these zips were usually employed in his paintings in order to re-affirm the viewers perceptual finitude through scale, balance, and composition. In this case, this finitude is literalized. This literal association is linked to our tangible understanding of space. We simply can not grasp the entirety of a 3D object  from one perspective. It therefore poses yet another limitation to our corporeality that is not only perceptual but physical, spatial, and temporal. Another fascinating appropriation is the inversion of the zips. While in his paintings they provided a ruptured gateway into an ephemeral reality, in his sculptures they become obtrusive elements hindering any form of access. This perhaps shows their maturation into elements that are physically confronted as opposed to ones that are conceptually walked into.

This evolution into the world of sculpture provides insight into Newman’s formulation and perception of his zips. It shows a narrative of objecthood that reached its finality through a literal physical translation. However, its finality is not conclusive since it will always rely on a dialogue with its initial birth on canvas. This dialogue mirrors Newman’s oscillation between the world of objects and the world of painting. It is for this reason that his work serves as an intergenerational bridge between the two; integrating the vocabulary of the former into the language of the latter.

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Look. Come. Buy.

Bruce Nauman uses light as a medium because of its interesting paradoxical nature. It’s ephemeral presence is both communicative yet unclear. It has the ability to make the spectator involuntarily submit to it, yet if we were to scrutinize this submission we would realize that it’s emotionally and psychologically driven. This paradox mirrors Nauman’s artwork, in that under superficial glance they appear to be devoid of artistic substance, however under closer inspection we start noticing nuances of critical subversion, particularly in the commercial signage.

These neon installations serve a critical, poetic, and often uncomfortable commentary on the elusive signs within the advertisement industry. Overwhelming, spectacular signs that demand the passive viewer to enter into a commercialized prison of ‘Looking’, ‘Coming’ and ‘Buying’. This device is so powerful because it manipulates what we consider most sacred; our desires, emotions, and inhibitions.

However we are unaware of this manipulation because within this environment of commodified fetishism, a rupture is created within our logical understanding of space and time; everything is immediate. With this immediacy comes the dismissal of authenticity. A ‘decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing’. Therefore if these demanding signs ‘appear’ to offer the spectator an ‘illusion’ of a better life, we will submit to it.

This submission has two possible explanations, the first historical the second poetic. The first is due to the rise of the Industrial Revolution which completely re-shaped the city into a modern capitalist economy. It quickly started becoming a highly commodified society, and with that came the birth of the spectacle. Therefore, our relation to this commodified society is not only ‘visible’ but is ‘all one sees’, in other words its our only choice. However, a poetic reassurance to this submission is that it is not involuntary. Perhaps we acknowledge and accept this illusion of a plugged-in paradise, because of its momentary promise of a ‘better, or at least, a more exciting life’.

This illusion is dissected, subverted, and criticized in Nauman’s installations, such as Eat/Death, The True Artist,and One Hundred Live and Die. All three examples include conceptual word play as the main critical tool. This linguistic manipulation parallels the verbal and visual language of commercial signage. However once its detached from its overly-saturated environment and appropriated within an established museum, it gains an added layer of meaning. This decision to isolate the installations from their conventionalized surrounding destroys their originally demanding presence. The signs no longer command a passive spectator but urge the reader to wake up. This awakening goes hand in hand with the subjects transition from a passive consumer to an active interpreter.

The first example, DEATH/EAT is visually similar to the EAT HERE neon signs that are found on cafes and diners. He deconstructs the word in order to emphasize on the eat within death in order to represent the cyclical routine of eating as a form of survival that is dependent on killing. It could also have a more figurative interpretation where the predator/prey relationship is reversed. In this case, we, the starving consumer prey (EAT) are being literally engulfed within the consumerist predator (DEATH). However, this relationship although hierarchically structured is inter-dependent, which is clear in how the word ‘EAT’ completes the word ‘DEATH’. Another interesting observation is that once this installation is lit, the immediate word we see is EAT followed quickly by DEATH. This shocking transition is then normalized and our eyes shift quickly from one word to the other. This perhaps reflects the way our sight reacts in a highly commercialized urban landscape. In that at first we receive an immediate disorientation from the bombarding visual stimuli, however we quickly adjust to this perceptual intrusion.

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The second example called The True Artist creates a tension between the medium and its content. The profundity of the statement ‘The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths’ contradicts its fragile neon representation. A fragility that is both literal and conceptual. Literal in the instability of the medium and conceptual in the readers conditioned association with it as the visual language of advertising and therefore deceit. We are left wondering whether the artist believes this message, or does not, or both believes it and disbelieves it simultaneously. Perhaps the most interesting and startling phrase is ‘mystic truths’ which signifies everything we assume advertising is not. It therefore opens up the possibility that spirituality and consumerist spectacle are not that far apart. Both seem to offer an exalted phantasmagoric impact on the believer or acceptor. An impact that is made possible through the use of light. Whether it is synthetic light that reflects a man-made spectacle or natural light that reflects divinity and spiritual invigoration.

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The third example called One Hundred Live and Die consists of four columns of brightly colored neon phrases with statements such as ‘Touch and Die’ juxtaposed with ‘Touch and Live’. At a distance, this installation clearly reflects the overwhelming power of commercial language. The vibrant colors and repetitive arrangement disorients the readers perceptual navigation. It does not have a logical narrative and so all our senses can decipher is a mass of lit shapes. This interesting sensation contradicts Nauman’s earlier work which relied on isolating phrases in order to give them verbal and visual prominence. However, in this case our ability to comprehend and articulate comes much later, after we process and resist its bombardment. This resistance is aided by the simple, yet powerful statements, that begin with ‘Live and Die’ and end with ‘Pay and Live’. It almost foreshadows the inevitable cycle of a person born into a capitalist society. This desensitizing of the human condition reflects the almost robotic impassivity of the common consumer. Therefore, whether intentional or not, this work serves as a slap out of this passivity. However, a slap that is not accompanied by an alternative lifestyle but rather by a poetic awareness of the existing one.

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James Turrell, you’re a genius.

James Turrell works with light in a manner that challenges our perceptual experience. It re-defines the very nature of seeing by beautifully collaborating sight with the other senses to create impressions of spiritual awakening or re-birth. Light is no longer a vehicle of information but rather is the content in and of itself. This creates an experience where the quality and sensation of light is given a sense of tactility, so profound that the experiencer can almost touch the light.

One of his projects, called Skyspaces, consist of structures with an opening in the architecture that rely on this juncture between the interior and exterior space in order to bring the sky down to the plane of the ceiling. This literal opening allows the viewer a metaphorical access into their own perception which is then translated to the sensory impressions of the entire body. This links the viewers subjective visual experience with the outside world that’s looked at and the inner world that’s looked into. This creates an interesting relationship, because the viewer is essentially peering into a framed infinity. One that is not static, but rather shares a transcendental conversation with the viewers body, mind, and soul. These interesting explorations contradict the preconceived notion of light as an immaterial source of illumination. Instead of using light to reveal other things, Turrell focuses on the way light can become the revelation itself. This emphasis on the physicality of light is perhaps the reason why its influence is so profound, since it is literally introducing new emotions and sensations we have never experienced before.

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Another example is the Alien Exam, which consists of a six-sided chamber with a  semi-spherical dome that is reminiscent of spaces used for medical experiments and cult structures of ancient civilizations. The subject is shown in by two attendants who are in complete control of the alternation in the light phenomena. After the subject is seated, they perceive light through the dome not as an optical impression but as a phenomenon that envelops and affects their entire body. The structure of the space is very interesting because it requires the subject to climb a few stairs before laying down on the solid table. This act clearly references an altar, where the subject is metaphorically sacrificing themselves; their perceptions, psychology, emotions, and desires to the magnificent light above them.

Initially, Turrell’s exam room creates a Ganzfeld effect, which is a sort of disorientation or discomfort that occurs when a viewer gazes steadily at a completely undifferentiated, monochrome color field devoid of forms and movement, without a center and without edges. After a while, the viewer starts to lose visible external and internal points of reference. It is as if the eye and brain are indistinguishable, and one becomes immersed within color sensations that are compared to visions that appear in moments of euphoria or intoxication. Slowly, these changes in color also become indistinguishable; and the overriding impression is of an autonomous light continuum. This shows how when faced with light, all other visual stimuli, such as color, are subordinated. All these different experiences leave the viewer completely and solely immersed in the activity of seeing. Even the moods that are induced are ways to connect this pure act of seeing with other, more familiarized conditions.

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A final example that demonstrates this complete perceptual immersion is the Light Space project. These floating projections made of even, colored light give off the illusion of depth. A three-dimensional illusion that is essentially considered a ‘clear space’, or a space we can step into-visually and conceptually. This completely shatters our tangible understanding of space by re-defining it into something that can be imagined. This is primarily triggered by its seductive brightness, which offers the observer, standing in that dark room an opportunity to escape to a different world.

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Centre Georges Pompidou.

Centre Pompidou houses a vast public library, the National Museum of Modern Art, and a centre for music and acoustic research. The architecture is very cold and industrial as opposed to the brightly colored tubes that transform this museum from an elitist monument into a popular space for social and cultural exchange. This fresh approach is appropriated into the signage, which uses brightly colored LED light that is reminiscent of circus and carnival lighting.

By using the visual language of entertainment, it completely transforms the space and our experience with that space. We no longer have a static or passive relationship where we are simply fed information; rather it becomes an interactive space of entertainment. It is also interesting to imagine stepping into this place for the first time and being confronted with these light installations. Our first attempt is to contextually familiarize these codes and since our immediate link is that of the field of pleasure, we will subconsciously carry these sensations as we walk through the space. This is further instigated by the high positioning of the installations and their large scale which all add to this experience of the spectacular. The way it guides us by forcing our perception upwards mirrors our reaction to the sublime, which is an element exploited by the field of entertainment. This is perhaps one of the reasons why light is used so excessively because it has the ability to create this feeling of awe not necessarily through physical grandeur but through its imposingly ephemeral presence.

This is particularly relevant in this case, where the presence of the installations re-define our understanding of a museum. It is no longer a space where the masses are spoken down to; rather it becomes an entrance to a world of play. A world where carnivalesque sentiments are not only appropriate but also encouraged. This is interesting because these sentiments are usually attributed to nightlife and the fantastical aura that aids it. However, with this rupture in convention, space, is not only challenged, but also time. It is as if these artificial light installations are declaring the irrelevancy of day and night, since both are momentarily replaced within this museum. A replacement that is evident in the promise of whimsical space that is occupied during the day but borrows its visual language from the night.

Another interesting element is the illuminated content, which is essentially informational, whether linguistic or iconic. This places the content on a pedestal since our navigational ability is completely dependent on its representation. However, in the carnivalesque context the lighting is merely aesthetic, an entertainment for the eyes. Therefore, its integration into the field of guidance poses the possibility of a higher form of entertainment; one that satisfies the eye while simultaneously feeding the mind.

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photography eludes the photographers intent.

A photographic image manifests a “likeness” to the real by bringing into existence an otherwise fleeting moment in time. By the simple release of the shutter speed, time, with all its wonder is captured. Through this instrument, reality is recorded, and with that comes a huge responsibility for authenticity. The camera, as far-fetched as it may sound, validates reality. Therefore, the making of an image, or the re-creation of reality, is not subjected only to the photographer. Photography creates a strange tension, for the first time between the originating object and its reproduction there intervenes only the instrumentality of a nonliving agent. This limits the photographer’s intervention to a mere decision on what to frame of reality. However, once this decision is made, the object, which is the photographic image, is freed from the limitations of time and space that govern it. It becomes a creation of an idyllic world that has its own temporal destiny.

In this 2-D flattening of reality, the past is framed. Through this “tangibilizing” of the ephemerally intangible, endless questions arise. Questions that concern the impact of the maker on the object, the way in which the object is received by the viewers, and the objects presence in eternity.

A photographic image is fuelled with endless possibilities. By reincarnating a moment in reality, it creates a world that does not abide by the constraints of time and space. The camera captures the present but promises that moment a place in eternity. Unlike painting, which carries a symbolic resonance to realism, photography exhibits a likeness so profound that it can be legitimately labeled as real. However, with this likeness, the subjectivity of the photographer is compromised. In painting, the artist approaches the canvas at a tangible distance, and with this closeness his personality enters into the process of composition. The painting is literally a part of him; since every line, every brush stroke, every hue is determined by its maker. However, in photography, no matter how close the artist approaches the object, there will always be a machine forbidding tangible closeness. The only thing within the photographer’s control is what to frame of reality and the purpose he has in mind. This poses two limitations, one that deals with the selectivity of the world in question, and the other deals with the subjectivity of the artist. By choosing to frame a fragment of reality, the photographer risks a visual rupture due to the absence of totality. What he selected may be visually disturbing, incomprehensible, or even offensive to the viewer. This may be compared to any form of art, where the artist makes a conscious decision to frame a part of totality. However, unlike painting or drawing, photography has the irrational power of bearing away our faith. It promises us realism for our conviction. Therefore if a painting is visually disturbing, our feelings of condemnation are aimed at its maker, while in photography we cannot direct these feelings at the photographer because he is not the maker of reality. Therefore we are left dissatisfied with reality. An example is the world press photos that embody suffering and trauma. Looking at and through the faces of sorrow, we feel disgusted at humanity, rarely do we associate these feelings with the photographer. This is because, although there is a selection of reality, this selection usually aims at depicting the general. Although this decision is made by the photographer, there is clearly a lack in subjectivity. In capturing time and space, two elements that are beyond manipulation, the photographer always absorbs but rarely gives.

The lens of a camera is manufactured. As banal as it may sound, it is stripped away from sentiment and subjectivity, all that spiritual dust and grime with which my eyes have covered it. It presents the world with all its virginal beauty; however once it is associated with the photographer’s touch the camera loses its “virginity” by giving birth to a photograph. And with the birth of this photograph, like the birth of a child, its starts to pile up preconceptions. These labels are then interpreted differently once they encounter an audience. This ability of the photograph to accommodate to the wishes of a universal audience is a powerful component of photography. It can be perceived by anyone, and through its perception it is made visually legible no matter how obscure it may be. This is because, as humans, we have a tendency when faced with realism, to decipher all possible codes in order to rationalize our vision.

In surrealist photography, the photographer’s presence is more apparent in the photograph. This movement tore down the boundaries of expectation by merging reality with the imagination. Its power lies within its ability to daunt the viewers with the possibility of another reality; a reality that trivializes time and space by opening up a doorway to endless interpretations. This reality can more or less be attributed to the making of the photographer. It is through the investment of imagination and manipulation through techniques like solarization and multiple exposure that such an image is created. These aspects, imagination and technical manipulation are pre-determined by the maker. However one can also argue that the initial moment captured is independent of the photographer, therefore is only partially the making of the artist. Since there is no real distinction between fantasy and reality, surrealism tends to destroy reason for an unreasoned order. In other words, surrealist images can be perceived as an amalgamation of the photographer’s intent and reality as it presents itself. It is this fusion of the artists whimsical subconscious desires with the unyielding nature of time and space that creates an “absolute reality, a surreality”.

The making of a photographic image preserves eternity through a moment’s spiritual rebirth. This world, which is captured by the impartial lens, presents reality, it does not re-present it. This notion is more interactive when a person is captured. Encountering a frozen face preserved for infinity is both sorrowful and thrilling.  You start to wonder whether the person is looking at the lens or through the lens, but it is rarely assumed that the person is looking at the photographer. This demonstrates the limitations of the artist, in that his “creation” has less to do with him and more to do with the relationship between the image and the person encountering the image. The faces in the photograph are gazing into the future, awaiting reciprocation from the anticipated viewer.  This fact, coupled with the degree of realism  is what makes the viewer wonder about the faces identities. Whenever we encounter an image we have a deep yearning to know who those people are, but rarely on who took their picture. This is because, as humans, we are more prone to invest in the visibly concrete, the “reachable”, rather than in the “unreachable” abstract. It is for that reason that a photograph, a synthetic product made up of chemicals, ironically, has an uncomfortably power ability to manipulate what we consider most sacred, our emotions.

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Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story.

“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.”

Chuck Klosterman

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