Molecular Documents: Photography in the Post-Photographic Era, or How Not to be Trapped into False Dilemmas

10Oct09

Ribalta, Jorge. ‘Molecular Documents: Photography in the Post-Photographic Era, or How Not to be Trapped into False Dilemmas’, The Meaning of Photography ed. by Robin Kelsey and Blake Stimson (Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, 2005) 178–185

p.178

[discussion of W.J. Mitchell desciption of the ‘death of photography’]

p.179

The discourse on the death of photography is more precisely about photography’s fantasmatic reappearance as disembodied from its traditional technological material condition. Photography deterritorializes itself and becomes the immaterial paradigm of visual culture.

p.181

 The “photographic activity of post-modernism” (used here in a wide sense in order to refer to the plurality of the politicized critique of representation practices since the 1970s) demonstrated once and for all that images were the result of ideological connstructions, and that the image wars were part of the wider scope of social struggles.

We need a critique of the critique that does not recall modernist notions of photography as universal language but new, complex, and meaningful renegotiations of realism and universalism.

The challenge today is reterritorialize photography, of producing practices in which realism is reinvented.

p.184

The relevant issue is not about the fate of photography in a post-photographic era but about the need for a radicalization of institutional critique, which in this case poses the question concerning images in a possible emerging post-liberal public sphere.

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