[Artist and theorist, b. 1952, Dorset, lives in London.]
Just when it is thought that we have progressed to the zenith of our modern world, a sudden wind picks up at midday: the sound of the signifier becomes a howl, an endless reverberation; we fear that the world has become hollow. We fear there is no central core. There is no presence immediate unto itself, no thing-in-itself. Nothing comes before, everything comes after. We are living in a ‘post’ world. A world without a fixed reference point. A world without origin.
I pick up a photographic image. I hold it with one hand, with the other hand I run my fingers around the edge. The border, the frame, appears complete. A perfect rectangle. I ask myself: if I tear this image or cut into and remove part of it, will its seeming completeness be broken, and broken, will this draw attention towards the way in which images and representations frame the world, frame us?
We can no longer picture the world in the way that we thought we could... Is there one single image which can “picture” the world? How am I to visualize spacetime? All these films, videos and photographs are not “windows on the world” (even though they may play at being such windows); they don’t picture the world; they form involvements.
If the photograph ceases to refer to the real world; if the photograph no longer points to that which we assumed is beyond the frame which photography snaps; if the outside of the frame ceases to be the photograph’s reference point, in what terms can we constitute to speak of representation?
Assuming that the photographic image comes in between and presents a front, am I to believe that the photographic image forms a cover... a mask or veil? Does the photographic surface cover over, conceal or hide something? That which mediates, does it mystify? Is the image a mask which perverts a basic reality... and evil appearance? I am reminded of the Marxist line which says that appearance and reality are quite distinct things. I ask myself: does the appearance of the image mark the disappearance, the absence, of that which is essentially true or real?