September 15th, 2005

operesque

Caveat viewor

Here are eight pictures from the current batch of snaps downloaded from my Sony Cybershot M1, representing the last seven days of my life in Berlin. You see, in order, a local Friedrichshain graphic design practice making fun of election candidates, a mille feuille of Photoshop windows opened accidentally, a flower in a hothouse at the Botanischer Garten, a display case at the Plant Museum nearby, some squat art featuring Marlene Dietrich's cheekbones and a pile of skulls (a caustic comment on the relation between spectacle and holocaust, perhaps?), a Mitte art opening seen through tall grasses, the Laptop Orchestra performing a Tomomi Adachi piece in clear plastic tents, and the forest at Schloss Lanke, where I played a concert on Sunday.



When you look at my photos, you stand (or sit, squat, or lie) in my place, and look through my eyes at what I see, don't you? Well, not exactly. Caveat viewor — may the viewer beware!

"Just as illusionism of Renaissance linear perspective performed the ideological function of 'positioning the subject', so too did the photographic image. 'The installation of the viewer as subject depends upon reserving a singular place for him or her, the reciprocal in front of the image of the vanishing point "behind" it, the point of origin from which the camera "took" its view and where we now take ours'. French theorists associated with the journals Tel Quel and Cinéthique argued that since the code of linear perspective is built into the camera, photography and film which, whilst appearing to involve simply a neutral recording of reality, serve to reinforce 'a bourgeois ideology which makes the individual subject the focus and origin of meaning'."

If you want seven thousand words more of this—and I know you do—read Semiotics for Beginners, an online text by Daniel Chandler of the University of Aberystwyth. Cracking stuff.