Realism does not consist in reproducing reality, but in showing how things really are. Bertolt Brecht


My work explores the epistemological1 presumptions we make about ‘documentation’2 — that it is objective, and that it is unmediated by an ideology, by a worldview — and the metaphysical3 underpinnings of that ‘documentation’. This is effected by exposing the act of documentation and by deconstructing4 its presentation.

The work aims to frustrate, impede, interfere with the viewer's desire to perceive what is presented as some truth unknown to them that is somehow artistically revealed. All art is ‘political’, whether overt or not, knowingly or unknowingly. What one chooses to “express” and how one chooses to “express” it is an expression of one’s worldview, one’s ideology.

  1. I know, a big word, but no better way of stating it. Epistemic? That's just a watered down version, it doesn't convey the full complexity of the nature of knowledge. Cognitive? Na, that simply implies how we physically learn, and not the social and political institutions that determine how that, which is learned, is structured and interpreted. It becomes not a question of how is ‘knowledge of the world’ acquired from the photographic image, but how is ‘knowledge of the world’ produced by the photographic image?
  2. I'm using the term “documentation” here because that is the established and more familiar term, but the term “data presentation” would be more accurate.
  3. See my Statement on Metaphysics
  4. I use the word here in its original Derridian meaning — to analyze in order to expose the hidden internal assumptions and contradictions of ‘the text’, and to subvert the apparent significance and unity of ‘the text’ — and not the more fashionable and depoliticized usage meaning “a dismantling.”

Further Reading

The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories

John Tagg

For the uninitiated the Introduction is worth the price of the book. People that I’ve recommended it to say they’ve never look at photos the same way again. My favorite of the essays is A Means of Surveillance: The Photograph as Evidence in Law which, as a sidenote, it contains probably the best explication of Foucault’s ideas I’ve read.

On Photography

Susan Sontag

A less jargony, yet not dumbed down, presentation of the explorations and meanings of photography over the past few decades.

The Body and the Archive

Allen Sekula