Contemporaneous Extension

Food for thought: photography
July 29, 2014, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Ramblings, Treatz | Tags: , ,

“Sentences on photography by Torbjørn Rødland”

After rationalism and mysticism—twenty lines.

  1. The muteness of a photograph matters as much as its ability to speak.
  2. The juxtaposition of photographs matters as much as the muteness of each.
  3. All photography flattens. Objectification is inescapable.
  4. Photography cannot secure the integrity of its subject any more than it can satisfy the need to touch or taste.
  5. Good ideas are easily bungled.
  6. Banal ideas can be rescued by personal investment and beautiful execution.
  7. Lacking an appealing surface, a photograph should depict surfaces appealingly.
  8. A photograph that refuses to market anything but its own complexities is perverse. Perversion is bliss.
  9. A backlit object is a pregnant object.
  10. To disregard symbols is to disregard a part of human perception.
  11. Photography may employ tools and characteristics of reportage without being reportage.
  12. The only photojournalistic images that remain interesting are the ones that produce or evoke myths.
  13. A photographer in doubt will get better results than a photographer caught up in the freedom of irony.
  14. The aestheticizing eye is a distant eye. The melancholic eye is a distant eye. The ironic eye is a distant eye.
  15. One challenge in photography is to outdistance distance. Immersion is key.
  16. Irony may be applied in homeopathic doses.
  17. A lyrical photograph should be aware of its absurdity. Lyricism grows from awareness.
  18. For the photographer, everyone and everything is a model, including the photograph itself.
  19. The photography characterized by these sentences is informed by conceptual art.
  20. The photography characterized by these sentences is not conceptual photography.

    (via Triple Canopy)


Pastor Paul
July 14, 2014, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Treatz | Tags: , , , , , ,

Considering my love for all things extraterrestrial or unflinchingly spiritual, I wanted to share this super fly project written by and starring Jules David Bartkowski, shot in Ghana by the talented Adam Abada. Below you’ll find the trailer for the film, scheduled to premiere in December 2014.

From the project’s successful Kickstarter campaign:
PASTOR PAUL is a feature film that follows Benjamin, a white American tourist, as he unexpectedly becomes famous for (and possessed by) his title role as the ghost of an evangelical preacher in a popular new Nollywood movie.

Our film aims to conjure up and distort colonialist narratives of Hollywood films set in Africa. The vicissitudes of fame change Benjamin’s role in this location from an awkward and irrelevant tourist to the vessel for the spirit of a colonial missionary. The humor and pathos of this affliction will be drawn distinctively in order to embody and disembody the imagery we have of the white preacher in Africa. We want to explore themes of perception, performance, and the experience of cultural gazes moving in both directions. We watch Ben watching Africa until we watch Ben watching Africa watch him back.”


Comix personas
July 12, 2014, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Treatz | Tags: , , , , , ,

Psyched to discover “King’s Hill,” new work from Edward Shenk and Victor Vaughn, commissioned by Rhizome and featured on Dazed. Totally relevant to the cartoon persona research I’m doing. How do cartoons, in their consistency, encourage a diversion to change? These dudes are breaking the mold.

(All images courtesy of


Psychedelic salsa + stop-motion collage = speaking my language.

Song by La Mecánica Popular. Check out their website for more musica, and the vivacious CONRAZÓN for booking and news.

Video and artwork by youth experimental studio.

“Displacement of Subjectivity”

Last month I spoke with Richard Phillips for a forthcoming issue of CLEAR magazine (print relaunch coming soon!!) and ended up having a conversation I couldn’t stand to keep all to myself. Another excerpt will appear in Whitehot Magazine in the near future. Phillips currently has a blockbuster solo exhibition at Dallas Contemporary up through August 10th, and a solo show of his newest works up at Galerie Max Hetzler in Berlin (closing June 7).

LM: In terms of muse, and having muses in artistic practice and art history, is there anyone you’d ideally like to paint for aesthetic or conceptual reasons?

RP: In the past I’ve talked about this idea of a muse and it is a sexist term, because it is something where it’s someone who’s subordinate to musings of a male or dominant figure who somehow has the creative magic to take the energy of the possessed and somehow display it. It’s kind of a way for those who don’t have the ability to have muses hanging around. That’s where it kind of becomes a porn kinda thing. I never really think of the people that I’ve collaborated with as muses because, in fact, it’s them that would agree to work with me— to project their own image, to go through the process, to have that become part of my working process. So they really were collaborations, to the degree that they’ve collaborated with anyone else.

I do understand the conventional notion of the strength of the muse, but I’ve never thought of any of the people I’ve collaborated with as a muse of any sort. I don’t fetishize their involvement, I don’t sexualize it. It’s more about the projection of a certain group of ideas that might include an unstable understanding of sexuality, or an unstable understanding of media in relationship to that. So when it comes to who would I collaborate with in the future, I don’t know. What I really like about the work for Berlin is it does look like that even more because there’s a lack of sensational fame. Even though Catrinel is a well known model inside a segment of the fashion world, and also an actor within a certain segment of entertainment, it’s not like the incredible level of some people that I’ve worked with in the past. It’s like a deal being made in front of your eyes. Is the art more famous than the person? And then what do these values mean?

LM: Do you think this series makes clear why you’ve used females more than males?

RP: Go to a men’s line fashion show and there’s just no comparison in currency. Calvin Klein really was able to turn that on its head by employing Bruce Weber to create these incredible images that live through time. By and large, at least with this body of work, it’s obviously 100% weighted on female sexuality because it’s more heavily consumed. It’s presenting an ideal that is kind of a false ideal.

LM: Temporary, too.

RP: Time goes on—did you live up to that ideal in the moment, in your moment? In the moment, I don’t know. If you live up to the ideal of the painting, can you afford it? Can you go see it? Are you at the right party? Are you able to be at that house? What’s your access? Do you have a code? It becomes this thing, like the reading of art when you turn over the capacity to understand to a mediator. Or if it doesn’t follow a chain of understanding and if you go around that and end up at that point anyway, there is a ton of potential.

LM: There are conflicting levels of importance that rely on the viewer’s assignment. It does, however, undeniably elevate the endowment of contemporary art and it’s ability to make things “important.”

RP: This gets back to art viewership, which is really the subject of that body of work. It’s about parsing value systems and what gets value—art objects or the projection, or people and their role of projecting unreachable ideals? You have a multitude of unreachable ideals: one is the masterwork, and the value that is accrued and on display, and then you have fleeting moments of beauty and sexuality that are entirely unreachable. Catrinel is unreachable to 99.9999 percent of the population and yet there she is with the art that’s supposed to be for all in a public sense but is purely in private hands. It’s about exclusivity and rejection and about not being able to participate at all. There’s an enticement and a distortion of those looks—by the perversion of the art and the perversion of the person. The actuality of it is actually a much tougher look, but the toughness is undone by the raw fact of how they’re made. When you pit these understandings against technical realization there’s an unanticipated tension that exists. It’s no longer an homage anymore. Lichtenstein applying the Lichtenstein language to a Matisse was like, on one hand, a backhanded homage because he’s saying, ‘my technique can run over everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s Miro, my thing is gonna happen.’ But at the same time, it’s kind of like saying, ‘Matisse is great, Miro is great, we’re all great.’ What I’m saying is that we’re not all great. This stuff is out of reach, this stuff is perverted, it’s hoarded. The girls and the beauty and the sex, all these things are built into it. It’s a different type of reality.

Richard Phillips, No Fear, 2014. Oil on linen, 102 x 72.9 inches. Photo courtesy of Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin.

Richard Phillips, No Fear, 2014. Oil on linen, 102 x 72.9 inches. Photo courtesy of Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin.

“What makes photography a strange invention – with unforeseeable consequences – is that its primary raw materials are light and time.”

(Quotation by John Berger)

David Maisel’s “Black Maps” series from 1985 has an Ansel Adams calm that dilutes any reverential similarities. Maisel lucked out on these picturesque compositions catalyzed by open air mining in the American West since the turn of the 20th century. Injection of chemicals into the earth to extract precious minerals is inevitably biting us in the ass, as the degradation of clean air and water continue to be problems lacking solutions. (All images courtesy and copyright of David Maisel, via

David Maisel, Black Maps (Bingham Canyon, Utah 2), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Bingham Canyon, Utah 2), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Hikela, Arizona 2), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Hikela, Arizona 2), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Pima, Arizona 2), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Pima, Arizona 2), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Ray, Arizona 1), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Ray, Arizona 1), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Great Salt Lake, Utah 1), 1985.

David Maisel, Black Maps (Great Salt Lake, Utah 1), 1985.


Many debates can sprout from the consideration of photography as truth. This is why I like Max Colson: take an alter-ego, combine him with a photojournalistic project, and voila! I chuckled, I smiled, I brooded. This series, called “Hide and Seek,” investigates suspect vegetation that may be colluding with high-security arenas to influence human behavior. Spurred by the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) model, a theory set in motion by Elizabeth Wood in the 1960s in Chicago, the photographs are accompanied by a thorough Research Document citing his reasons for suspicion and an apology to viewers for stirring souls against plant life. Colson’s series is a provocative instigator that reveals a psychological tilt that may exist in just about any metropolitan construct. (All images courtesy and copyright of Max Colson, via



Gerd Ludwig, Joseph Beuys: an exhibition through Lower RhineI am a sucker for Joseph Beuys, and these images manage to give one a sense of his movements, his countenance. As he wanders around his childhood home of Kleve with Ludwig, there is a surreal sense of detachment, of being with him as he observes a place he’d so long ago forgotten.


March 1, 2014, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Hot off the presses, Treatz | Tags: , , , , , ,


Now read this.