Long Exposure Photography
- Focus, Experiment & the Play on Light – Flow, Movement, Long Exposure
- Auto-Ethnography: Act of Photographing, Alone, within the space of the car, space and enabling areas
- Develope and Discuss feelings of awkwardness, self-perception and experiences.
- Re-read and Research the Mark Durden Piece, Abstraction and Michelle Henning
- Photographically exploring light, explore different times, and lighting opportunities
- Consider the act of photographing, as a lone pursuit to survey and understand, not as an act of voyeurism but as a biographical potential within a particular space.
- Consider different flows of traffic, day and night
- Write something about the act of photographing and your personal experiences, and your experience of taking these images, document your awkwardness or being a solitary photographer, and the space of the vehicle as a protective yet enabling bubble/space.
First Shoot | Long Exposure Light Trails at Night
27th February 2018:
During my first shoot, I visited several locations in and around my local area. I set off, having a few locations in mind; which generally consited of public car parks near main roads. Although, my evening generally involved driving around Swindon for a hour or two whilst discovering and testing our different locations and shots from within my car. One evening, I decided on a whim that when it gets dark that I would venture out and conduct my first attempt at long-exposure photography. Interesting, this is something I havent yet explored… As a photographer, I typically select a strong, sharp, yet shallow focus. Aiming to achieve crisp, focused and detailed shots, traditionally when editing images, any that display even the slightest level of accidental motion blur usually get trashed!
My new-found interest in exploring the effects, limitations and capabilites of long-exposure photography was born from some content covered in the first semester of the Photography & Visual Cultures module. Notable areas of interest includes…
The Optical Unconscious
Photography & Memory
Time, Transience & Fixity
The Snapshot and Timed Exposures
In addition to the above-mentioned elements of the module, I was especially inspired by topics of Abstraction and Time, Transience & Fixity, with particular reference to photographically exploring how ‘Modernity’ and ‘Machine Rhythm’s shook, altered and exploted the human body whilst fracturing natural flows of living. I am really interested in creating a photographic project that will conceptually visualise, explore and encapsulate ideas around modernity, Speed, Acceleration, Machine Flow and its implications on life as we know it.
My fascination around exploring the depths of long-exposure photography also comes from a desire to experiment and push boundaries. As well as a yearning to try new and unfamilar things whilst stretching myself both technically and academically. My degree has flown, and unfortuantley, it is rapidly drawing to a close… consequently, I intend to explore as much as possible whilst I can before I am plunged into the big-bad world! Anyway, getting back to my first experience at attempting long-exposure photography! As mentioned, I visited several locations across the duration of that evening. I embarked on my adventure (the modernised urban flaneur, liberated by the power of my greatest investment; my beloved Volkswagen!), after arriving at my first location… I had decided to park at a little-known car park that is tucked away and fairly quiet at night. The car park also ran parralle alongside with the mainroad that leads to a roundabout and then tapers back down the hill.
After paying for an hour’s worth of parking, I situated myself at the far-left side of the car park, tucked away and concealed by the shadows of nearby hedges and trees. I set up my camera from within my car, and waited. Taking several shots whilst playfully experimenting with my camera settings whilst tweaking my aperture, exposure and shutter speed values as to achieve the best effects.
Equipped with my 70-300mm lens, I was able to shoot at a comfortable distance and from the saftey and warmth of my car. I experimented with different positions, heights and directions as to ascertain what would work best and in which scenario. I pointed the camera out of my passanger window and positioned it in the direction of uncomming traffic which flowed freely across the mini-roundabout. If Swindon has any claim to fame, it would probably be its rediculous number of roundabouts, that aside, I felt that the flow of traffic would make for a decent first attempt at creating these dreamy and surrealist aesthetics. However, it soon occurred to me that this practice of long-exposure photography, is really quite complex… there are so many variables that could potentially effect the outcome of each shot. To name a few…
Camera settings, Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO etc.
Tripod or Sturdy Surface is essential, also Remote Triggers are desirable in these conditions
Brightness, Hue and Adjustment of Lighting (e.g. Older cars have more yellowish or tungsten lighting, New cars have Zenon White light which is brighter, Rhythms, Colour and Intenties of light sources (e.g. Traffic or Street light etc.)
Speed of light source you are shooting, which also needs to be respective to your shutter speed and camera settings
Weather Conditions, shooting in rainy conditions is not idea for nurmerous reasons.
Time of Day/Night, I left fairly late in the evening maybe around 21:00ish, although traffic is still around; its flow varies from location.
Location of Shooting, Photographing at a busy area near the town centre would generally prove more fruitful than parking up in a supermarked carpark on a Sunday etc.
Initially, I felt that my first location being at Swindon Old Town and being near a mini roundabout would be a prime location for some impressive shots. However, I found it very difficult to settle as I quickly grew frustrated as multiple shots were taken, non or which delivered much if any level of satisfaction, acomplishment or fullfillment but rather seemed fairly basic and uninteresting (This may just be me, being overly critical, I dont know!). During my time shooting, I experienced a certain degree of anxiety frim this excersize. Oddly, I felt rather conflicted: feeling liberated by my own driven act of independence whilst simultaneously hindered by the anxiety of being a female, alone in a car with expensive camera equipment. However, this was somewhat aliviated by the protection my car provided… with doors locked and keys in ignition ready to spring alongside a vigalent and watchful eye on my surroundings.
The anxiety I felt was also partly down to the presence of people, walking past, down the road or across the car park. I felt exceptionally awkward as individuals or groups passed by as I silently hoped that they didnt notice me or glance in my direction; for fear of appearing or being considered as some perverse creep lingering in the shadows of a carpark, armed with a DSLR. These thoughts were also down the the space itself. The humble carpark, traditionally recognised as a limnal space, a non-place, a place that someone only visits in passing, not an area to linger or loiter in; especially not at night.
It was interesting to consider the anxiety this experience provoked. Upon reflection, at the end of the day, I had as much right to be out as anyone else. Besides, I wasn’t even photographing any people but merely passing car or other sources of light, not to mention that I was experimenting with longer exposure times; meaning that any human figure would be voided or abstracted beyong recognition. Maybe this was more down to the perceived gap in understanding and my inability to genuinely and sincerely communicate the innocence of my intentions. I mean come on! Lets face it… if I was walking though town at night, or even in the day for that matter and I was confronted by a stranger, parked conspiciously with a camera pointing in my direction; I would expect the worse too! It is interesting actually, due to my consideration of the space I was immersed in, it is pretty uncommon to walk by a carpark and see people sitting in their cars especially at night.
Susan Sontag cites Diane Arbus who states… “… I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favourite things about it,” Diane Arbus wrote, “and when I first did it I felt very perverse.” (1970/2008:13) Yes! This is exactly it! Feelings such as this, and when paired with the immanent distance that my lens allowed me to achieve may have been responsible for my worsened anxiety. There is something inherently poverse or voyeuristic from watching anything at a distance…. Distance is covert, voyeuristic, explotative and non-confrontational.
After a short while, (around 3o minutes) and several shots later, I felt as if I had just about obtained every shot possible on this occation and decided it was best to move on!
En route to my next location, I drove through Old Town and Lawn, down the hill back towards the main road. Whilst in motion, I was confronted by a somewhat tragically picturesque scene. As I decended down the road, a large proportion of Swindon is visible from the top of this hill. What a sight?! Its not this magical during the day! I’ve never even noticed it before! I recall how my mind wandered, envious of those living here, a view such as this would be fit for most portfolios or Instgram posts!. At this point, I was aimlessly driving, hunting out my next potential location. I briefly stopped at another carpark at a small square near a convience store. This stop was exceptionally brief as there was little to no subjects to photograph, not to mention the mminor detail that this was a inhernetly run-down area of Swindon, that isnt a nice place to be alone at night.
On to the next location, I continued on, driving my normal routes, following areas and roads in which I travel daily and feel most comfortable with negotating! Whilst in transit, I decided that a residential road that runs alongside the dual carragway might just provide a perfect balance between action, visibility and shelter. I parked up, near the end of the road, just before it curves downward and joins the carriageway. From here, the road is clearly visible, and the angle only accentuates the gentle curve and meander of the carrageway as it is illuminated by the rear and front lights of the cars that traverse it. It is interesting to mention that, at the locations before I was photographing routes with 30mph restictions and now I have chosen a stretch of a 40mph route (frustratingly, a regulation that little stick to!). I was interested to explore how the varied speeds would affect my shots.
By now, it was getting on for 22:00pm, although cars were still passing, they were becoming more infrequent. Here, I felt nicely tucked away although, I still experienced some level of concern around my positioning and potential vulnerabilities; as now I was parked near houses. 15-20 minutes passed, as cars grew more infrequent, I obtained a few decent shots and then decided to move on. However, although here, I obtained less shots they were seemngly more successful than the last set of images. At last, I had obtained 1 0r 2 shots that I was somewhat excited to examine and edit!
Final stop of the night, I drove to a Retail park, not far from home and parked up, I meticulously aligened myself with the flow of traffic. From the view of my window, I had obtained a privaleged view of a large rounabout. As I had just finished setting up my camera and before I even had time to snap any decent images; it started to rain. This unexpectedly drew my experiement to a close and my evening of fun to an end. I packed up and went home, excited to reutrn on another day.
Although, at first, this experience offered little satisfaction. However, upon reflection, I feel that overall I did well to complete my first attempt at trying out something new and unfamilar. Rather than unsatisfied, I left with a better understanding of long-exposure photography, its limitations and conseuqnces. I look forward with anticipation to my next nocturnal adventure. Although, I will now experiment with different shooting times, not soley limiting my practices to the night by also photography at different times of the day to!
4th March 2018:
After reflecting further on my last shoot, conducting further artist research into different types of long-exposure photography, I decided to give it another go… but this time during the day. Whilst researching, I stumbled across photographers such as David Mar Quinto and Ian Egner whom of which have both created some stunning long exposure photography, but in the daytime! This inspired me to give it a go, as a means to multi-task, on my weekly drive to the supermarket, I decided to take my camera and give day-time exposures ago. However… I quickly learnt that this was even more difficult again as the increased shutter speed over-exposes the entire image! Here are some shots I salvaged! However, in terms of methodological approaches, this was somewhat more successful as I was able to set up my camera on a Tripod and control it via my phone. This allowed me to minimise motion blur from me manually pressing the shutter button allowing me to get crisper images. Nevertheless, after doing some further research into daytime long exposures, I have discovered that I can purchase a Neutral Density Filter that will filter out the surpless light and hopefully allow me to create images these exposures with a little more ease! I have ordered one and it should be here next week. When this arrives I shall test it and keep you informed. Happy Snapping! 🙂
Think Tank | Random Reflection
Traditionally, I have always struggled with the night time. I am a person that needs to remain busy and focused, as a result, for me the nighttime was often problematic because I struggle to settle, relax or wind down. A project such as this allows me a space to re-imagine the night as having a separate temporality; as having a dynamic yet separate flow, rhythm or reality rather than a fixed stasis.
I love the cameras ability to deceive, creating false realities, worlds and temporalities; slowing motion, suspending time, freezing glances and privileging views, dizzying, disorientating the magical mechanical eye.
Experimenting with Layering Exposures | Composite Exposures
6th March 2018:
On a quest to find interesting places in which to try out long exposure photography, I called up help and advice from my partner’s nan! Whom suggested an overpass bridge in Penhill. This proved as one of my most fruitful and successful attempts to date! I was really happy with the images I had captured here, and I was able to leave feeling slightly more positive than usual as I was beginning to get disheartened by the difficulty in achieving adequate images that I felt good about! As mentioned previously, I am finding long-exposure photography quite challenging, and currently, I am still very much in the experimental stage, whereby I am testing out different locations, settings and positions in which to capture traces of movement. Its it interesting to note that the fuzzy and ‘electric’ aesthetic in some of these images is a result of someone walking across the bridge during the exposure, I really like this effect and may attempt this again! Nevertheless, I shall continue to persevere and experiment some more, whilst hopefully getting a chance to experiment and try out long-exposures during the day!
7th March 2018:
As expected, my 10-stop Neutral Density Filter Arrived today! And I was super excited to test it out in and around Bristol City Centre! I specifically ordered a Neutral Density filter as this would hopefully allow me to achieve longer exposures during daylight hours that will have the effect of stilling or blurring motion trails and exploring contemporary abstraction. Today, I arrived at Uni, and I was able to book out a Wide Angle Sigma lens, I wanted to test this out at night, to see if this makes my images look better. Currently, I am alternating my shooting equipment between my 30-700mm UMS Telephoto Lens and my 18-22mm Standard STM Macro Lens, and as suspected, these work best in different conditions and contexts.
I visited several locations in and around Bristol City Centre today, I started out at Clifton Suspension Bridge, although I didn’t manage to obtain any successful long-exposure images there due to the time of the day. I am now more familiar with the area and could potentially return to their at another time before dark! This was a really interesting experience for me as I had not yet visited it or seen it in person! I must admit, I was a little proud of myself to go in search of it alone! Although being solitary is nothing bad! I was astonished at just how breathtaking it is! I fell in love with it from the moment I saw it, and became completely seduced by its auratic beauty! It’s definitely one of those things that the more time you spend there, the more captivating it is to look at! Anyway… after I was able to pry my eyes from its monumental construction, I had decided to visit the Clifton Observatory. It was really cool to be able to experience the Camera Obscura that is set up within the observatory! It is interesting to note that before witnessing and experiencing it first hand, it didn’t quite make 100% sense to me. Its a really odd piece of equipment and I felt slightly conflicted as to whether I was seeing an image projected in colour or whether the saturation had bled from its reflection. The whole process of abstraction and tracing of light makes far more sense now! I always find that I am more of a visual/experiential learner, and I was glad to have experienced this visual trick first hand!
I had then decided to return back to the City Centre and have a go at some day-time long exposures! I planned to visit several locations but as myself, my camera, and my iPhone ran out of energy I quickly realised that I was being overly ambitious with my time. Nevertheless, I visited several locations, namely Castle park, Broadmead, and Cenotaph which proved to be successful locations. I then returned back to uni, as I recharged my devices, edit images and write this up; waiting for my partner to finish lectures at 6:30 pm to which I have persuaded him to go back into the centre with me for dinner whilst I get some additional night-time city exposures this evening!
In reflection to the day so far, I am happy that I was able to achieve some successful daytime exposures with the use of my Neutral Density filter, however, I am still struggling slightly although I guess this will become easier with time and experience. I feel that generally, exposure times are massive balancing acts between context, situation and equipment and sometimes its a hit and other times its a miss. I have found that longer exposures work better in the evenings or night time and daytime exposures are more successful when they are shorter as to capture some evidence of motion rather than complete abstraction! I have also noticed that, during the day; the longer the exposure time, generally the grainier the images, although I guess this is due to heat build up in the sensor of the camera.
As mentioned, out of over 200-300 images, I have only selected around 20 successful ones! However, I feel that it is important to acknowledge that this is a real learning curve for me as it is a difficult task that takes a lot of judgement, experimentation and luck to achieve! Despite this, the 10-stop Neutral Density Filter allowed me to obtain some great images however, it still takes some getting used to…
7th March 2018:
8th March 2018:
19th March 2018:
Typical Route Map for Swindon Shooting:
21st March 2018:
- London Trip…
- Discuss first experiences of london, consider thoughts about modernity and the city, and its affects on the perception and the mind
23rd March 2018:
28th March 2018:
Following some general reflections on the project as a whole, I became really inspired by a Flickr photographer called Cèline Ramoni. She combined brief exposure times of around 1-2 seconds with the extreme speed and velocity of a train, as a mean to capture is motion from within it. The resulting images create a really hypnotically satisfying tunneling effect, this in turn workes to visualise how the train carves its path through the space and lanscape it speeds through, with its unrelenting and violent speeds. Ramoni’s approach is clearly depicting motion, this inspired me to try a similar approach whilst capturing the motion from within a vehicle.
I would argue that when discussing or considering how modernity physically and psychologically alters human perceptions; it is important to consider the forces and hazards that humans are now exposed to. I am interested in examining the force of motion from both a stationary point and an embodied perspective. Consequently, I have attempted to capture the motion of vehicles from a static ‘onlookers’ perspective although, I am also interested in examining how motion can be captured from within whilst immersed in it. I would argue that Cèline Ramoni’s images can provide an informative and aestheticised way of visualising motion and conversely its effects on the body and mind.
It is interesting to mention, that on this occasion; I decided to capture various sections of my route from Bristol to Swindon. (Obviously, I wasn’t driving this time!). Nevertheless, this is a route I travel most days. As a result, when I am commuting, the journey as a whole becomes a blur as I am now so familiar with it. I guess to a point, I engage in a sort of auto-pilot a lot of the time! When reflecting on my route or memorising it, I can only recall sections although this is typically only from a fixed perspective of being inside a car; either driving or being driven! A motorway, is a very liminal space. They are built to get vast amounts of people from one location to the next at higher speeds and shorter times. Thus, for me, this almost completely epitomises the definition of a liminal space. It is rare that you are to ever encounter a motorway from outside the discrete container of a vehicle; unless your broken down or stopped in the instance of an emergency. I often wondered how exposure to these extended distances and higher speeds has effected my judgment of distance… when walking for miles, it seems enduring and long whereas this is in contrast to the hurtling speed and progress of a motorway; as they often disappear with ease.
Anyway, I was armed with my camera, mounted to a tripod that was situated in the footwell of the car. Using my ND filter allowed me to achieve prolonged exposure times in the daylight which can either work really well or can go horribly wrong! Whilst controlling m my camera from my phone, I was able to control and vary my exposure times throughout the journey; creating very different effects. Upon first glance, or from faraway… these images seem imperfect, accidental or even sloppy, yet only upon further reflection; especially when looking at these images when enlarged, they appear surrealist and painterly. I personally, really like these images because, they not only epitomise the reflection or recollection of a journey. Additionally, they also play with Bate’s idea of photographic abstraction in an usual way. Personally, these images epitomise my memory of this journey, blurred, imperfect and open to interpretation, flawed and damaged by the motion in which I am subject to. Secondly, I also really like these images because when looking at them for prolonged durations they can make you feel quite uneasy or ill! As they seeming visualise the motion of being in a car by creating blurred, disorientating and surrealist depictions of motion.
I feel that these images have the potential to create quite visceral effects. Thus, I have successfully used photographic abstraction to capture and visualise modernity’s effects on the human perception! They feel quite contrived and dreamy in places, yet simultaneously, chaotic and panicked. As we go through life, at accelerating and progressive speeds; gradually, day-to-day life becomes blurred and flawed by experience.
In this instance, abstraction has allowed me to mechanically capture and layer imperfect sections of space and time; fixing it in a singular image without post-production. These images are made up of lots of alternating forces and motions that have created a impressionistic blur. I also really like these images because they are starting to play around with lots of content covered across semester 1 such as…
Photography & Memory – in some ways the blurred and delicate tones of these images are similar to that of Julia Margret Cameron’s fantasy images.
Abstraction & Indexicality – Using photography’s materiality and basic light related principles to create an extended exposure of a place, using photography’s fallibility to capture and play around with perception of motion.
Photography & Perception – Exploring how photography can be used to visualise and alter the human perception of time and space.
The Snapshot & The Timed-Exposure – I am playing around with the idea of the prolonged exposure and its ability to incite extended reflection or readings
Photography and the Optical Unconscious – I am using photography as a mechanical and objective tool that can be used to capture a truthful and insightful depiction of motion, capturing the gaps and flaws that are often overlooked.
Questions to consider….
How can photography be used to capture motion?
How can photography be used to create a perception of motion?
1st April 2018:
Favourite Images | Contact Sheet
Experimenting with Digital Photomontage | Digital Abstraction and Interruption
16th April 2018 | Consolidating Ideas
Artistic & Photographic Inspiration | Research:
Koyaaniqatsi – Depicting Modernity and Acceleration of Temporalities
Foe Qi Wei | Defying Categorisation
Andrew Whyte | Painting Light
Ian Egner | Motorway Light Trails
DAVID MAR QUINTO | Long Exposure Street Photography
Gabrio Linari | Long Exposure Photography from around the World
Céline Ramoni – Train Journeys
Zhang, M. (2011) Beautiful Long Exposure Shots from a Japanese Train. PetaPixel [Online]. 9th August. Available from:https://petapixel.com/2011/08/09/beautiful-long-exposure-shots-from-a-japanese-high-speed-train/ [Accessed 7th March 2018]
Shaw, J., Muybridge, E. and Edgerton, H. (2003) Tim[eo]tion. Stockport: Dewi Lewis in Association with Birmingham Library Services and Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.
[Editor, E. and Irith Hadar, I.H. (2013) John Stezaker: One on One. London: Ridinghouse.
Carter, R. (2008) Travelling Still. London: Rob Carter.
Keirmig, L. (2016) Night Photography and Light Painting: finding your way in the dark. [Online] 2nd Edition. (no place): Focal Press. [Accessed 7th march 2018]
“This book conforms to the common usage of the general term “light painting,” which refers to lighting added by a photographer and combined with a long-exposure to make an image, either at night or in a darkened interior. Light painting includes both using added light to illuminate a scene, and any light pointed back towards the camera create patterns of light.” (5)
“The French photographer Nadar was one of the first to add artificial light to a scene in order to photograph it. Nadar photographed the catacombs and sewers below Paris, making about one hundren wet-plate glass nagatives between 1861 and 1862.” (6)
“Ètienne-Jules Marey and George Demeny were French physiologists working together in the 1800s to study and understand movement and locomotion. They were contemporaries of Edward Muybridge, and concurrently developed an alternative method of recording movement that recorded multiple images on a single film as opposed to Muybridge’s method where each image was recorded on a separate frame.” (6-7)
“The Quénu technique involved attaching incandescent light bulbs to the joints of a subject in order to more easily observe movements. Demeny advance the techniques by making long exposure photographs, resulting in what are now presumed to be the first light drawing photographs.” (7)
“Frank Gilbreth began his career as a bricklayer, but was frustrated by the inefficiencies in the way masons performed their work. He beliveed that there was “one best way” to do every tast, and devised a system of motion study using photography that he called stereo chronocyclegraph (time-motion-writing).” (8)
“Like the French physiologists, the Gilbreths had no artistic ambitions; photography for them was a tool to aid them in their work. Where Marey and Demeny’s objective was to study and understand movement, the Gilbreths’ objective was to find the most comfortable and effiecient way to perform a worker’s task, increasing productivity for the company and comfort for the worker.” (8)
“Brandt’s use of lighting was rudimentary, but he often staged his night photographs using friends and family as models. It is Brandt’s use of pre-visualization to create a photograph that he saw in his mind rather than what he saw in his viewfinder that distinguished him from his peers.” (11)
“Mili had photographed figure skaters with small lights attached to their ice skates and made long exposures while they glided across the ice in a darkened rink. The lights traced the path of the skaters’ routines, creating a permanent record of their movements on film.” (11)
“Eric Staller saw the quiet nightmare streets of his neighbourhood as stages waiting to be transformed by his magic wand – the Fourth of July sparkler. In the mid – to late 1970s, Staller drove around New York scouting locations for what he called his, “choreographies of light”. Initially, he used a single handheld sparkler that burned for about a minute to trace objects in front of his camera.” (14) –> Similar to my own practices
“By attaching a newly discovered sparkler that lasted for 10 minutes to a broomstick, he was able to fill large volumes of space with his light drawings, moving in front of the camera while the shutter was open. He was not recorded in the image because he moved constantly, never remaining in any one place long enough to register on the film.” (14) –> Abstraction!
[William Lesch] “He became interested in the appearance of objects that moved during long exposures, first in the work of early photographers who had no choice but to use long-exposure, then later in his own work. He experimented with neutral density filters to extend his exposire times, and began working with colour film about 1980.” (17)
“Photogaphing at night requires one to look at the world from a different perspective. Night photography sould not be considered merely an extention of daytime photography becuase night light transforms the known world into something unfamilar and strange.” (42)
“As the light at night is such a hige part of what makes nocturnal photography special, scouting locations during the daytime is often ineffective.” (42-43)
“There is an old adage in black and while film-based photography that says: “Expose for the shadows, and develope for the highlights.” The ideas is that have as much information in the shadows as you can by giving the maximum exposure that allows you to recover important highlight retail in the development. The ideal RAW fild pushes the histogram to the right where the sensor is tonally rich.” (67)
Osborne, P. (2000) Traveling Light: Photography, Travel, and Visual Culture. New York: Manchester University Press.
McQuire, S. (1997) Visions of Modernity: Representation, Memory, Time and Space in the Age of the Camera. London: Sage.
“The diverse practices, institutions, knowledges and pleasures generated by the camera have been integral to the uneven process of modernization, helping to define the global reach of capitalism and the colonial ambitions of the West, while facilitating the instrumental reorganization of social and political life ‘at home’. The shift to secular, urban-industrial, bureaucratic societies, which has forged the distinct horizons of modernity, is not only unimaginable but practically inoperable in the camera’s absence.” (1)
“Beyond any questions of emprical inadequacy raised by the extreme dispersion of photographic effects, a more intracable concern is the camera’s profound influence on modes of perception, forms of cognition and systems of knowledge which were previously considered to be fundamental.” (1)
“In transforming the basic means through which we encounter the world, the camera has shifted the grounding of both ‘the world; and the ‘we’ who might post the question of this encounter.” (1)
“By decentering the authority of embodied perception and destabilizing the customary relationship between presence and absence, the camera has induced a crisis at the border between ‘representation; and ‘reality’, affecting all contemporary experiences of time, space and memory.” (1)
“Writing ‘about’ the camera must take into account the manner in whcih camera technologies have redefined the rhythms of representation and the horizons of knowledge.” (2)
“The other side of this equation is the mannera in which so many theories of the camera, bound up with the possibilies of disembodied vision that it provides, the spatio-termporal distances it spans, the claims to objectivity it arthorizes.” (2)
“The camea’s capacity to reproduce the primal scene doesn’t so much make the fantasy ‘real’ as alter its conditions of existence.” (2)
“The ability to witness things outside all previous limits of time and space highlights the fact that the camera doesn’t only give us a new means to represent experience: it changes the nature of experience and redefines our procesees of understanding.” (2)
“‘Modernization’ has been synolymous with the disintergration of tradition and the destablisation of links between locallity and identity.” (6)
“Because photography has become synonymous with fidelity in representation, it is easy to forget the extrodinary impact the first photographs make on eye acustomed to painting, drawing, etching and engraving.” (13)
“If there is a unique power belonging to the camera, is always returns to the invisible umbillicus joining image and referent, the link which commands, often beyond reason (is it merely coincidence that Elizabeth Barrett speaks of ‘monstrous’ feelings, Bazin of compulsion, Barthes of madness?) a belief that the scene did exist.” (15)
“I want to defer consideration of this automatism for the moment, in order to place it in th context of the transformation of the scientific ideal of ‘truth to nature’ into a mechanical objectivity. The other path, which concerns me here, is the significance of the camera’s intersection with the privaledge that light and vision have long enlightenment, and the ubiquity of the ‘I see’ find themselves opposed to the shadows of doubt, blindness and obscurity with a consistency that is frequently offered as that of nature itself.” (28)
“The ingenuous tone of Fox Talbot’s celebrated remark while sketching with a camera obscura (‘How charming it could be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint thmeselves durably and remain fixed on the paper’) sets the scene in which the development of the process of ‘photogenic drawing by the power of the sun’s rays’ (as he later put it) seemed to place the fidelity of God’s hand within human grasp. In this manner the camera entered nineteenth century consciousness, not simply as a new mode of representation, but as a news langauge of truth, at a time when the natural claims of language as a vehicle for truth were themselves being tested.” (31)
“As much as the camera the deployed as a tool of observation, it also offered new social pleasures. The invention of phototgraphy immediatly broadened the range of people to whom individual representation was both economically and ideologically accessible.” (40)
“John F. Kennedy’s observation that ‘the camera has become our best inspector’ finds ominous echoes in the advertising slogan, ‘Nothing escapes Agfa.’ If, in Orwell’s wake, this dream of an omniscient sight machine seems less than benign, one should not be too hasty to assume that it is the camera’s only possibility.” (41)
“The swings between narcissism and voyeurism shaping the modern spectacle are undoubtedly conditioned by the manner in which the camera has hardened resistance to believe in the invisible.” (41) *
“To understand the better increasing abstraction of vision in opto-electronics, we need to recognize that, while the camera initially lent itself to the encyclopediac dreams of positivism, it never simply confirmed that paradigm.” (42)
“Photographic images often appear to defy time or, at least, partially to escape its implacable sequence. The ability to withdraw the appearance of the moment and perserve it from time’s dilinquescence looms large in the history of our fascination with the camera. Barthes suggests: ‘looking at a photograph I inevitably include in my scrutiny the thought of that instant, however brief, in which a real thing happened to be motionless in front of the eye.’.” (107)
“Yet, as photographer Harry Callahan once noted: ‘A photograph is able to capture a moment people cant always see with their eyes.'” (107)
“In this ambivalent space between recording and revelation one finds unique possibilites that the camera has brought to the representation of history. Born as a machine offering a novel grop on time, fixing it, freezing it, immobilizing its ineluctable flux, the camera expanded its claims by reconstititing time’s ‘living flow’ in the celluloid ribbons of films which entranced viewers at the gateway to the twentieth century.” (107)
“For Barthes, photography’s primal force lies in its unsurepassed power of authentification: ‘Photography never lies: or rather, it can lie as to the meaning of the thing, being by nature tendentious, never as to its existence.’ The relation of the camera to figuring a past, a history, a memory, is thus an ontological relation: ‘that-has-been’ is the assertion made by every photographic image before it says anything else. Barthes concludes that nothing else can confer the same sense of certainty.” (109)
“From the sight of Niepce’s dinner table (photographed circa 1823) to electronic images of other worlds related across inconcievable distances by the Voyager spacecraft, the camera has formed a unque conduit enabling absence to touch present observers, like delayed rays of light arriving from stars already long vanished.” (109)
“The camera’s capacity to furnish evidence, its facility for documenting and preserving, even the unrivelled ‘realism’ and ‘fidelity’ of its records, all involve a temporal component. Or rather, these terms are themselves already temporalized. The concept of the ‘instant’ to which a photograph might correspond itself depends upon a prior assumption about the nature of time: that time is a continuous but infinitely divisible line, supporting partition into smaller and smaller units, in which the order of the microsecond can be paralleled by the multiple exposure of sequential frames.” (110)
“Under the eye of the camera, it may be that this understanding of time is increasingly forced to confront its own limits.” (110)
“The status given to photographs as a material form of memory, and the deference to photography, film and videotape over the other forms of record and recall, signals an important threshold of modernity.” (110)
“From Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto of 1990 to the scandalous mechano-morphic image of Picabia and Duchamp to the mesmerizing robot in Friz Lang’s Metropolis (1926), the modern world was gripped by powerful fantasies of technological birth which promised absolute liberation from the past. The disire to overreach history, disavowing all legacies and overthrowing all traditions, formed the heart of a modern sensibility proud of its ability to part the curtains of habit and cast off the blinkers of conventions. To be without memory enables one to invent the future, to pluck a new beginning from the wings of time itself.” (113)
“While the comprehension of time as a destroyer is very ancient (the myth of Chronos being one example), the forms and rhythms of destruction have altered significantly in the modern period. Where the most common medieval figure for representing time was the circle (whether refferring to the agarian cycle of planting and harvest, or the movement of the planets around the heavenly spheres), industrial culture replaced the image with that of the line; most strikingly, the endless parallel lines of steel railway tracks puncturing the visible horizon. From this moment, it proved increasingly difficult to concieve of time as a cycle in which birth and death are complementary terms rather than opposites. Instead, time has become undirectional, a juggernaut which threatens to consume everything.” (113 -114)
“Technological developments which regulate socila velocity to an unprecedented degree have themselves become subject to shorter and shorter lifespans: wheeled transport existed in more or less the same form for 2,000 years before steam; Watt’s steam engine was working for 102 years after it was built; contemporary cars are designed with a projected life of under a decade; the computer and software (purchased last year) with which I am writing this text are already deemed obsolete. The emergence of speed as a primary social value, coupled to notions of productivity, effieciency and profit, has allowed the instrumental reorganisation of time to form an apparently self-regulating system: while technology increases social velocity, people find themselves demanding new technologies in order to ‘keep up’.” (114)
“First, work was measured less according to the time of specific tasks (cultivating a field, mending a wheel, etc.) and more in terms of how many hours one worked, the rates of pay per hour, the length of the working day, and so on. (Hence the rise of trade unionism around these issues.) Secondly, labour was less susceptible to direct climatic variations, but was instead rendered increasingly subject to the abstract seasons of the market and the vagrencies of its ‘invisible hand’. Thirdly, and most significantly, the reconstruction of work practices by machine production means that workers lost control over their own working pace. The new machinery demanded clockwork responses: constant work rhythms, unvarying work rates.” (115)
“Taylorist principles of ‘scientific managment’ and the Fordist production lines were both ‘logical’ extensions of the demand to co-ordinate the human body with the order of machine time.” (115)
“Foucault highlighted the way that Taylorist changes in work practices altered classical forms of authority by refining attention to detail, regulating the rhythm of actions, and correlating the relation between body, guesture, and object.” (115)
“The news discipline of time affect not only the industrial workforce, but touches the entire population. As Marx’s analyses consistently stress, the buying and selling of time is at the heart of the capitalist social order. Labour time is all the worker has to sell, while profit depends upon appropriation of the surplus time of others (whether directly through the employment of wage labour or indiectly by utilizing the stored time of technology).” (115)
“Constructing time as an abstract meansure involves the suppression of specific temporal differences in favour of the general equivalance of all periods of time: a flattening of time which Heidegger characterized as the quintessentially modern experience of temporality.” (115 -116)
“This new world order of accelerated social processes and ‘everlasting uncertainty and agitation’ (Marx) demanded a radically different relation to the past. In the rush towards the industrial future, much was destroyed, declared redundent, or simply left behind. History became indespensible, not only as a measure of progress, but as a saftey net; a means of assuaging fears that what Benjamin called the storm of progress might represent time out of control.” (117)
“The concept of progress has always been linked to what might be termed the militirization of time.” (117)
“Today, sophisticate time-based machines not only saturate contemporary modes of production – including the production of signs, images and information – but condition the entire framework.” (117)
“Photographs are constantly drawn into networks of significance and generate much of their meaning frm general classifications such as a subject matter, genre, photographer, or period. Even the most frequently come to exemplify abstract values, ideas and emotions, even to the point – Hilter among the cheering crowds at Zepplinfield, Neil Armstrong stepping down to the surface of the motion – of symbolizing an entire era.” (142)
“The third broad shift entrained by the camera with regard to historical representation relates to the threshold of simulatation. It might be thought that disapointment with the fantasy of the perfect memory machine belongs to a new awareness of the disarming ease with which the truth of photo0realism can be faked. But consciousness of the malleability of photographic truth has a history as long photography.” (144)
“The 21-0ne gun salute celebrating the achievement announced the emmergence of a new era in mechanically powered vehicles would finally server traditional links between force and motion. Subsequent history has been so desisively shaped by this revolution that different incarnations of the engine – steam, combustion, jet, rocket – have been used to mark sucessive thresholds of a modern era which is itself characterised by perpetual movement. The train, the automobile and the aeroplane have completely modified all human relations to distance and speed, approaching a terminal point with rocketry in which the earth itself becomes merely a launching pad for potentially infinate journeys into endless space.” (183)
“If velocity has been at the heart of each of these revolutions, it is not only the increased speed each new wave of vehicles has achieved, but also the ascending rate at which they have transformed soical and political relations.” (183)
“Thsi trajectory underpins the emergence of speed as the prime quotient of modern social relations. When Marinetti proclaimed in his Futurist Manifesto of 1990 that ‘Time and Space dies yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created enternal, omnipresent speed.’, he was voicing a desire which became a density for the new century. Modernization has become synonymous with acceleration across all areas of social life. Speed has been the mechanical sould of modernity; not only for the avant-gardes whose aspirations to burn the libraries and wreck the museums transformed art, but for entrepreneaurs, inventors, adventurers and all the other apostles of progress who were captivated by the impulse to go faster and travel further, to dynamize life and propel it into the future – by force if necessary.” (184)
“Pleasure in the novelty of dynamic vehicles and pride in the ‘conquest of the skies’ concerged with the immense possibiliites for economic growth and colonial expansion that they created.” (184)
“The rapid extension of ‘the West; as a political and economic force in the nineteenth century, which laid the foundation for the systematization of world trade and the global division front by the development of the distinct modern culture of auto-mobility: the Brownian motion of mass urban populations for whom the ‘freedom to drive’ has become a fundamental article of political faith.” (184)
“Under pressure of these new forms of circulation which mobilized people and products on regional, national and transnational circuits, the centres of lives existence have mutated in a process whose ends are still not clearly defined. Suspended between house and car dwells an antagonism internal to modern culture. A fault line stretches between the desire for home as a stable site, a secure space of shelter and enclosure, and the constant drift towards the frontier as a liminal space of perpetual transformations and potneial conquest.” (184)
“Modern identity belongs neither in the home nor on the road, but is perpetually split by the phychic and social contradictions of its attachments to both these poles.” (184-185)
[Cites Marshall McLuhan] “Following Marinetti’s tracks, Marshall McLuhan remains perhaps the most famed post-war prophet of the manner in which transport would be displaced by communion: During the mechanical ags we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, aboloshing space and time as far as our planet is concerned… As electrically contracted, the globe is no more than a villiage.” (185) [Citation: McLuhan, Understanding Media, pp. 11 and 12 – 13]
“The dichotomy between being present in one place and therefore necessarily absent elsewhere began to waver, as physically separated slices of action were bridged and juxtaposed in new ways.” (185)
“Television hybridized the camera with radio the fuse to vision and speed in a new way. Rapid seeing – spanning distance without loosing time – has become the hallmark of modern perception, defined by the ubiquity of live broadcasts which enable vast audiences distributed across continents to see events happening outside the horizon of their own ‘presence’.” (186)
“The camera’s most profound effects on contemporary experiences of time and space are perhaps to be found in those perceptual shifts which have today become so prosiac that they pass almost unoticed: the snapshot, the close-up, the moving-image, montage, the time-lapse sequence, the live broadcast, the instant replay. In what follows, I am most interested in the profound modulation of social rhythms, the reconstruction of living and working spaces, the emergence of new social relationships and the deployment of new forms of power in a world in which every site and situation is subject to potential incursion.” (189)
“In the uncertainty generated by the camera’s disjunctive effects on the authority of embodied perception, qualities of time and space are long thought to be ‘fundamental’ are themselves shifting. In one boundaries and psychic formations: the destabilization of architectural and geographical borders (the room, the nation) as much as the disruption of discursives traditions (the unity of the book, the universality of reason) are part of the crisis of referents and dimensions currently testing the limits of thought and experience.” (189)
“Ever since the invention of the telegraph, decelopments in transport and communication technologies – from the railway and cinema to television and the space age – have been hailed or condemned for engineering the ‘disapearance’ of space and time.” (189)
“Situating the camer ain this scene is critical insofar as camera technologies have themselves generated new spatio-temporal experiencies crucial to the political force lines of modernity and postmodernity.” (190)
“Like the new vehicles which transported people and products across the globe, the camera transported vistas and sights, mapping the earth’s surface and joining the foreign to the familar in new ways. It fused pleasure in seeing the previously unseen to power in the form of a knowledge with seeing the previously unseeen to power in the form of a knowledge with normalizing apsirations. The camera was instrumental in the advance of impreialism, linking the ‘hard’ gaze of military-bureaucratic surviellance with the ‘soft’ panoptic pleasures of the voyager-yoyeur, overlaying territorial dominion with a veneer of culure and psycological domination.” (192)
“By dint of their magnetic realism, photographs offered unique properties of symbolic possession which transplated into an ideal means of collecting and cateloging the world. The new camera;s utility here can be measured by its ubiquity, as photography spanned an immense array of audiences and disciplines.” (193)
“If the city is modernity’s home, modernity is the time of home’s reinvention.” (208)
“The industrial metropolis increasingly subjugates, ‘the country’ around it, draining it of food, water, raw materials and people in which a parasitical relationship which now extends transitionally according to the international division of labour.” (208)
“But, as much as the modern city has been the set for a new image, modernity names the time in which the city metamophosed unto a profoundly different lived environment.” (208)
“The city became a vast perceptual labority, a living experiement in ‘special effects’ whose impact on the human sensorium has shifted the parameters of human identity. New spatial and temporal experiences levied new demands upon representation.” (208)
“Along the horizontal axis, urban landscape was transformed by new generations of vehicles: train bicycles, electric tram, subway, motor bus and private car. By permitting a new elasticity in the distance between home and work, motorized vehicles enable the dispersion of the city into suburban dormatories.” (209) *
“As well as providing the infrustructure for new social and economic relationships, the new vehicles revolutionised perception. The commuting eye increasingly found itself on a collision course with the urban environment, projected into a series of fleeting encounters which transfored the nature of landscape into the abtruptness of arrival and the suddenness of departure.” (209-210)
“Electricity not only powered the new machines of production and transportation whcih fed the acceleration of urban life; it fundamentally alted the city’s visual appearance. The incandescenet light bulb converted night-time streets into arteries of light and shop with spectacular and immaterial qualities previously reserved for specialised show places such as the theatre, diorama and amusement park”. (210) *
“Divsisons between inside and outside became subject to new forces. Not only night and day, but seasonal patterns and climatic variations, began to decline in importance with developments in lighting, refrigeration and environmenally controlled living spaces.” (210)
“The separation of private zones from public domains began to blur as the interior of the home became directly susceptible to the invisible forces theorized in the field theory of new physics.” (210)
“As the power of each metropolis became increasingly dependent on the rapid movement of images and information, as much as products and people, the past suddenly seemed slow in comparision.” (211)
“The modern city-machine, in which all parts had become mobile and all surfaces seemed to permeate and interpenetrate each other, where darkness or opacity was susceptible to the flick of a switch or activiation of a circuit, where the horizon was continually sliced open by the screen of a billboard seen from the window of a speeding train, was a milieu which deeply disorientated its inhabitants. Or rather, it provided so many orientations that it overwhelmed with its abunance, suspending the eye in perpetual fascination.” (212)
“The first decades of this century are crossed by an urgent desire for representation to catch up with life: photography became faster, with the development of new lenses and new film stocks; the ‘snapshot; was invented to seize life on the run. But it was undoubtledly moving pictures which best moved in step with the new rhythms of the city; the traffic, the crowds, the kaeidoscopic displays of lights, objects and forces in motion.” (213)
“Experiences of rapid transit through the electrified day-night of the industrial city and of the rapid transmission of images by motor driven projectors converge in the infinetly mobile eye of the modern voyager-yoyeur. The unity of travel and tracking shot concentrates the essential ambiguity conditioning modern perception: the endless journeys, the fluctuation of borders and contexts, the displacement of the body as authoriativtive centre.” (213) *
“Drawing on Freud’s work on the relation between shock and defence mechanism, Benjamin argued that the ‘battlefield’ of the moderntiy split perception for memory. Overstimulation resulted in numbness. Because survivual in the city had come to depend on immediate response, unreflexive submission to the instant led to a deterioration of experience, compartmentalizing time and space, and ridgidfying the body’s mimetic faculties.” (214)
Arthurs, J. and Grant, I. (2002) Crash Cultures: Modernity, Mediation and the Material. Bristol: Intellect.
“At every moment of every day there is a crash event, affecting everything: transportation, economics, politics, computing, bodies, brains, cups, and plates, birds, agriculture, chemistry, health, banking, manufacturing and so on, without end.” (1)
“As roads and airways congest to the point of stagnation, we proclaim the miracle of modern safety regimes, while remaining haunted by the ghosts of disasters waiting to happen.” (1)
“In analytical terms, every crash reminds us that we have stepped over the line separating the benignly abstract from the horribly concrete, from ‘risk society’ to crash cultures.” (1)
“We approach the crash as a symbolic and material event that can produce insights about the experience of living in a modern, technologically saturated world.” (2)
“It also draws attention to the interrelations between inanimate machines and living bodies – the relations of dominance and submission in industrial societies, or the convergence between them in cyberculture poses new challenges to the emancipatory politics of Marxism and feminism.” (2)
“The crash offered a way to think through the problematic to the extent that it resists representation, being instead an experimental moment in history when time and space are collapsed and reconfigured, The crash seems knowable only through its anticipation and its effects, the time before and the time after.” (2)
“Yet modernity is also fantasised as an untrammelled linear progress into the future in which the material world will be subject to the victorious human alone. It is therefore accompanied by the a horror of the prospect of an equal an opposite reversal, a cessation of evolutionary progress and regression toward devolutionary regress.” (3)
“The crash insists on a failure of modernity’s totalitarian ambitions, bringing us to an abrupt standstill.” (3)
“Our premise is that reproduced images cannot be separated from the world they represent; rather, they have a material existence that are constitutive of that world.” (4)
“…for a materialist semiotician like Barthes, images, rather than being a question of interpretation, are lived in our everyday routines and bodily reflexes.” (4)
“On the city streets, billboards images of speeding cars produce simultaneously both a phenomenal shock to the passer by and a semiotic screen for managing that shock.” (4)
[Cites the proliferation of crash imagery] “But the degree to which we have become inured to the assault on our senses of the shocks of modern life is side-stepped, in their view, by immersive simulations in postmodern, virtual environments. They allow us to regain the intensity of an unmediated experience of the crash, just as cinema audiences responded to the first moving images at the turn of the last century.” (4)
“The saturation of modern cultures with technology produces both utopian and dystopian assessments of the human consequences of our convergence with the machine, a convergence that is figured in the conjunctions of flesh and metal that result from the crash.” (5-6)
“In this view, the billboard advert of a speeding car is of the same order as the speeding car itself in that we respond to both through a semiotic screen of cultural convention designed to manage the shock it produces. For a materialist semiotician , images are not simply a question of interpretation, they are lived in our everyday routines and body reflexes.” (9)
“Yet when technology goes out of control, we invoke the sorcerer’s apprentice: ‘the car seemed to take on a life of its own’. In our struggle to maintain modernity’s escape velocity from magic and the gods, we therefore invoke the ritual of explanation and the scapegoat of human failure: otherwise, therefore, our technology would be perfect.” (10)
“Progressive, linear time stretches into the future with the modern subject in the driving-seat in a relation of intimate convergence with the machine.” (11)
“The narrative, such as it is, consists of loosely linked or discrete shocks, violent events, intense moments, or surprising and disconcerting spectacles. It has been assumed that the prevalence of this violence was a consequence of the technical limitations of early film stock and the shooting speeds of early cameras, which prevented the production of shots lasting over a minute.” (24)
Hill, P., Minghelli, G. (2014) Stillness in Motion: Italy, Photography and the Meanings of Modernity. [Online] Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [Accessed 5th March 2018]
Available from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ZPCeBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
‘Local Colour and the Grey Aura of Modernity: Photography, Literature, and the Social Sciences in Fin-de-Sìecle Italy’. by Maria Grazia Lolia.
‘Eternal Speed/Omnipresent Immobility: Futurism and Photography’ by Giuliana Minghelli
‘Photography and the Acceleration of Modernity: Reality-Commodity-Violence’
’10 Intersections of Photography, Writing, and the Landscape: The Italian Lanscape Photobook from Ghirri to Fossati and Messori’ by Marina Spunta
2. ‘Local Colour and the Grey Aura of Modernity: Photography, Literature and the Social Sciences in Fin-de-Siècle Italy’
“A casualty of modernity, a scarcer and scarcer commodity in a world that was experiencing that rapid and traumatic disappearance of the local – and of colour for matter – both at home and abroad, primarily at the hands of economic and political transformations, local colour mattered so much that the preoccupation with reproducing it, in images and in words, studying it and, occasionally, preserving it, come across as some kind of scholarly, artistic and literary obsession.” (n/a)
“In this chapter, I focus on the pursuit of local colour in the culture of post-unification Italy, a time when the double imperative of becoming Italian – and forgoing local identities – and becoming modern – and giving up the past- fuelled fear of the impending “greyification” of the nation and led photographers, social scientists, and the men of letters into a frantic quest of colour.” (n/a)
“Although in this passage it is not clear whether lithography simply mirrored or rather caused the acceleration of the pace of literature, it is clear that the mere thought of the speed of modern change evoked the wish to memorialize vanishing local colour with the help of lithography.” (n/a)
“Like lithography, photography was perceived as so “especially suited” to producing the illusion of permanence in a world that was changing too fast that it was sometimes invoked as the synecdoche for preservation in image…” (n/a)
“A statement that began with a reference to universal “time” and “civilisation” ended with a poignant allusion to Italian Unification’s role in requiring the “sacrifice” of local specificity.” (n/a)
“Working on the traditions of Calabria, Raffaele Riviello would uphold the same chronology: “From 1860 onwards the innovative spirit of revolution was in everything, whirling and violent …so that the work of a few years equaled and surpass the work of many countries” (Riviello 59). Invoking the usual farrago of joint causes – government, education, the railway, social mobility, fashion, the credit economy – existed for centuries came to an end.” (n/a)
3. ‘Eternal Speed/Omnipresent Immobility: Futurism and Photography’
“Futurism involves a perennial speed, an ongoing overflow of energy, is dispersive and wasteful: don’t save for tomorrow what can be utterly burned today. Ideally, it leaves no traces behind.” (n/a)
“Futurism speaks for the future as “eternal omnipresent speed” and yet, like the feral beasts of old, Futurism does not live for the future; all its energy is spent in the present moment.” (n/a)
“…coscienza di Zeno ends on the most extreme promontories, one though where no spectator is left standing to enjoy the spectacle, and where the crowning act of human self-perception coincides, explicitly with self-annihilation: “There will be a tremendous explosion, but no one will hear it and the earth will return to its nebulous state and go wandering through the sky, free at last of parasites and disease” (Svevo 1,085).” (n/a)
“…it is advisable to approach the old and yet still no modern Futureist mystique of speed, ubiquitous and ever-renewed technology, and aerial perspective by stepping down from extreme promontories to gain a more everyday vantage point. The photograph, a humble, prosaic, and famillar object, will afford such a perspective to explore the Futurists’ idea of modernity. Born at the height of the industrial revolution, and yet still revered as numberless upgrades and mutations as an indispensible staple of our everyday environment, photography embodies in a unique way the epic of newness, ephemerality, and eternal return that marks the historical unfolding of modernity.” (n/a)
“…while keeping up with the times, photography enacts over and over what seems a profoundly anti-modern gesture of stilling the world, of metaphorically story away enegery, while leaving endless traces behind.” (n/a)
“What happens when the “eteral speed” of Futurism is captured by the “thoughtful immobility” of photography? Through an analysis of its photographic production, this essay will explore Futurism’s ambivalent attitude towards this “old” technology.” (n/a)
Forgotten and dormant within the medium, this economy expresses an ethod at odds with Futurism as well as our ongoing modernity. The stilling of the moment suggests the possibility that while moving with the times one can pause, and, by virtue of this guesture, critique the imperitives behind modernity’s forward movement.” (n/a)
“Photography questions modernity’s relation to time in a yet more radical way. The photographic pause works against modernity’s compulsive consumption of energies which, knowing no postponement, relinquishes the very idea of the future and offered instead of the literal “conservation” of human experience.” (n/a)
“…photography can be read productively as a stillness in motion, an interpretation of modernity’s meaning as a twin gesture of commitment both to the future and to the past.” (n/a)
“Photography spies into the future-leaning present, arrests it, and dispassionately achieves it. Nothing could be more alien to the ideal of frenzied action perpetually consumes the Futurist moment. But why should the dispassionate gaze of the camera is perceived as inquisitorial and where does the summons come from? ” (n/a)
“No matter how petrifying to its object, the gaze itself moves through and beyond the image and, as if refracted by it, leaves the sitter behind, eternally marginalised. Photography is both ancestor and descendant, setting up an impossible temporal genealogy for an advent-garde which defines itself as the severance of all ties to a fixed before and an impossibly fluctuating after; which aspires to be an artistic and historical alpha and omega. The Futurists’ attitude towards photography give rise to various attempts, for Depero’s photo-performances to sophistication of Bragaglia’s photodynamisim, to energize photography whilst taming its aloof and god-like impassivity.” (n/a)
“…not all machines are alike and not all of them make good partners. While exclusing action, speed, and danger, the machines the Marinetti sensually embraces are obedient tools which, notwithstanding their anthropomophization and animalizaion, entertain a relation of subalternity with their human operator. Thus, despite the dullness of its silent and passive qualities, the camera should also be appealing for utter obedience to its operator. Yet this submissiveness is deceptive, as in the very moment the camera is used and manipulated, it uses and manipulates human subjects through its reproductive power. Such an uncanny and dangereously anarchic technology which threatens every step to marginalize the man/artist/subject is a very troubling embodiment of modernity.” (n/a)
“The artist who dreams of a “multiplied man,” of fusions between metal and human flesh, of poetic participation in the “lyrical obsession of matter” is that very Marinetti who strenuously objects to his becoming a photograph, arguably the first fully accomplished interfacing between animal and machine, a fusion in a silvery emulsion of animate and inanimate from a common play of light and dark.” (n/a)
“Finally, Marinetti, the impresario of action and velocity, having to bear with photography as an unavoidable tool for self-promotion, ironically rejects the newer and faster technology of the snapshot in order to embrace the least photographic evil, the most passéist and bourgeois of all photographic genres: the studio portrait.” (n/a)
Discusses the emergence of Avant-Garde photography and collage… “Defying the separateness of art and reality, around 1912 Picassio and Braque started to put the world together by lifting objects out of their natural environment (be they newspapers, wall paper, lace) and transferring them to a new context within the artistic frame. The technique is one of displacement and juxtaposition; the effect is one of strangeness and disorientating shock.” (n/a)
“If, as it has been argued, the advent of photography liberated painting from the shackles of imitating reality, it did so in yet another sense, by bringing about a different notion of art making, one based not on mimesis but agglomeration.” (n/a)
Prior, N. (2011) Speed, Rhythm, and Time-Space: Museums and Cities. Space & Culture [Online] Vol 14 (2), pp. 197-213 [Accessed 5th March 2018]
“This article assesses some potential approaches to museums and cities propelled by a theoretical preoccupation with modernity as a condition of speed.” (197)
“…one can extrapolate two variants in the writings and interventions of Marinetti, Simmel, Virilio, and writers in the postmodern tradition: (a) the museum is slow, it is a brake on modernity, it is modernity’s sedentary other and (b) the museum is fast, it is as quick as the city, reflecting modernity’s impulse toward acceleration. ” (197)
“Museums are, historically, urban institutions. Coterminous with the birth of the modern city and the advent of urbanism as a “way of life” (Wirth, 1938), they belong to the vicissitudes of the metropolis—an emblem, in fact, of modernity’s obsession with civic progress, refinement, and social regulation (Bennett, 1995).” (197)
“This article offers an approach to the urban embeddedness of museums. It begins by assessing some potential approaches to museums and cities propelled by a theoretical preoccupation with modernity as a condition of speed.” (198)
“In an interview on the dematerialized city, Paul Virilio argues that the city is a “box full of speeds” (Virilio & Lotringer, 1997, p. 66). No longer places to contain stationary populations, cities are interchangeable places, telescoped in time and connected by systems of instantaneous travel and telepresence. Virilio’s point is that space–distances and geography are being replaced by time–distances and chronography. “This is why,” he says, “the airport today has become the new city . . . People are no longer citizens, they’re passengers in transit” (Virilio & Lotringer, 1997, p. 67). Given the emphasis on permeability and mobility, it is somewhat surprising that Virilio uses the term box at all. Even as a metaphor, “box” tends to reduce space to conventional geometrical groupings and the city to a static enclosed space of emplacement. It conjures up a “Russian dolls” relationship between cities and their component institutions, where the city contains units such as nested subspaces, relatively separate and self-enclosed.” (198)
“In general, the reclamation of space in recent social and cultural theory has emphasized the fluid and processual nature of space. Space, here, is embedded in social relations. It is not a neutral backdrop, container, or stage-set for action but is part and parcel of the unfolding of social relations, part of their production or construction.” (198-199)
“…space is created out of complex webs of relations of dominance, coordination, and resistance such that “localities are not just about physical buildings, nor even about capital momentarily imprisoned; they are about the intersection of social activities and social relations and crucially, activities and relations which are necessarily, by definition, dynamic, changing” (Massey, 1994, p. 275). Here, as elsewhere, a movement takes place from “things in space” to space as lived, represented, and produced (Bachelard, 1969; Lefebvre, 1991; Soja, 1989).” (199)
“In fact, there is an influential social–theoretical lineage that runs from Simmel to Virilio, settling on the dimension of speed as an engine of modernity and assessing the impact of a new urban timespace on the social. In Simmel’s case, the essence of modernity is founded on an increase in objective forms consistent with rational-exchange-based societies. Simmel’s characterization of urban modernity turns on a description of the increasing rapidity of things (Simmel, 1903/1995).” (199)
“In fact, it is evident that Simmel sees the metropolis as infinitely preferable to the small town precisely because it is the condition of intellectual and creative life. In other respects, both Simmel and Tönnies represent urban life similarly, as the site of a fundamental shift in how everyday life is experienced by a newly anonymized urban mass. In both cases, metropolitan life is a life of increasing pace, of density, and the bombardment of individuals by images and information. Modes of experiencing urban life, as a result, have become bound by discontinuities and fragmentations, “of time as transitory, space as fleeting and causality negated as the fortuitous and arbitrary” (Frisby, 2001, p. 2).” (199)
“It is the city where the violent paroxysms of a thousand technological revolutions have ushered in the triumphant progress of science and where, as in Simmel’s essay, a new disjointed spatial and temporal experience can be found. In both cases—denigration and celebration—there is a unifying account of modernization and its time-space quotient, where pace is superimposed or embedded in place. ” (199)
“Defined as “the place where the knots of narrative are tied and untied” (Bakhtin, 1937-1938/1981, p. 250), the chronotope is a means of measuring how “spatial and temporal indicators are fused into one carefully thought-out, concrete whole” (Bakhtin, 1937-1938/1981, p. 84). In some chronotopes – for instance those centered on the road – the trajectory of an individual’s life merges with their spatial pathway.” (200)
“A common perception being that rural areas, landscapes, and small villages enjoy a slower or more “natural” pace of life, whereas cities are units of speed, density, and overload. Geographer Mike Crang (2001)…” (200)
Chronotope was traditionally associated with the public square (from Greek or Medieval texts) Whereas now… “From the 18th century, instead, the interiorized chronotope centres on domestic spaces such as the drawing room.” (200)
“We had thriving public markets and now we have anaesthetized or empty spaces, such as suburbs. This chronotope is particularly well entrenched in modernization theories, then, that position the city as central to the condition of modernity. But other places feature in the modern imaginary, too, from parks and prisons to arcades and museums. Indeed, museums are particular targets for urban acceleration accounts precisely because they occupy a pivotal position within modernity (Prior, 2002).” (200)
“In accounts revolving around the idea of inertia, the museum is aligned with, or perhaps even becomes a metonymy for, a slow and traditional order—modernity’s sleepy other, not the juggernaut but the slug.” (200)
“In its most polemical form, such as Marinetti’s diatribe against tradition, the museum is a backward institution to be tallied with libraries and academies as instances of a reactionary time–space. It is a slow and anachronistic space of conservation belonging to a spiritual idyll.” (200)
[The Futurist Manifesto] “Modernity is to come rushing in on a sleepy backwater and submerge it. “Museums: cemeteries!” the 1909 manifesto declared, “identical, surely, in the sinister promiscuity of so many bodies unknown to one another. Museums: public dormitories where one lies forever beside hated or unknown beings” (Marinetti, 1909/1999, p. 207).” (200 -201)
“Bound by tradition and conservation, museums are antidotes to the principles of a vibrant modernity, for Adorno, ossified relics that sap the present of its needs. O’Doherty adds to this image the notion of the contemporary white cube gallery as a limbo-like structure more akin to the medieval church where, in return for a cloistered formality, the viewer is offered modernism’s super-clean technology of aesthetics (O’Doherty, 1986). Even defenders of the museum idea have projected it as a niche space reserved for silence, contemplation, and slowness, “a kind of holiday resort for thinking, where batteries can be recharged” (De Baere, 1998, p. 109).” (201)
“Indeed, museum directors are as likely to herald their institutions as “safe havens” from hostile urban environments, as they are to identify the essence of the museum in the slowing of movements, lowering of the voice, and concentration of the gaze (Brock, 2001).” (201)
“The museum is calm, sedentary, and cold; the city is chaotic, buzzy, and hot. The image of the museum is particularly important as standing for a set of residual traditions and oppositions that help purify the notion of what it is to be modern: to be “other” than the museum or to let the museum restore what is lost with the advent of modernity itself.” (201)
Modernity’s Variant Tempos: Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project:
“…The Arcades Project, is taken up with a description of how the city’s new technologies of display give the city its phantasmagorical splendor. And in many ways this has to do with a radical proliferation of things—myriad displays of ephemera scattered through the arcades and the quick changing fashions found in Paris at the height of its power.”
“…it is the flâneur who is this milieu’s most revealing figure, for Benjamin. The orientation affected by the flâneur allows him to grasp the magical quality of the city, capturing how “existence in these spaces flows . . . without accent, like the events in dreams” (Benjamin, 1927-1940/1999, p. 106). This is achieved not by participating in the urban spectacle as a man in the crowd but by adopting an insouciant orientation toward flânerie that, in tempo at least, is slow enough to orient to what Benjamin calls “the rhythmics of . . . slumber” (Benjamin, 1927-1940/1999, p. 106). In other words, the flâneur adopts the gait and pace of the idler, strolling the streets as if they appeared as a domestic interior, and contemplating the urban spectacle from the advantage point of the leisured male. Indeed, the gender preconditions of this orientation are significant and have been the subject of several biting critiques (Wilson, 1992; Wolff, 1985). Accounts of flâneurs taking their tortoises for walks on the boulevards in 1839, however, do not only point to the absence of women in urban accounts but also to the absence of other urban temporalities.” (204)
“Ragpickers, sandwich-board men, barrow boys, and costermongers are figures caught in the contrapuntal rhythms of urban modernity—rhythms that vary according to time of day, day of the week, and from place to place.” (204)
“His method of reflection joins objects and spaces in a much more fluid way, running together descriptions of fashion and interiors with exhibition halls and sweeping boulevards, as if they appeared in a dream.” (204)
“He details the micromovements of bodies as they cross the spatial thresholds of this dreamworld with measured paces or imbibe the new urban views opened up by Hausmann’s urban plans. Modernity, in short, is never just experienced as a juggernaut for Benjamin but also as a languid dream with its varying tempos, flows, and excitations.” (205)
“In this sense, “the city is only apparently homogenous; even its name takes on a different sound from one district to the next” (Benjamin, 1927-1940/1999, p. 88).” (205)
“As are the themes, including the notion of the city as a sensuous and fluid form of everyday life. But it is Lefebvre who develops the notion of rhythm most explicitly and in doing so provides us with a more advanced way into the analysis of cities and their various circuits.” (205)
“From Corpuscles to Galaxie”: Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis”
The project is inspired by Lefebvre’s fascination with music as a model for understanding the city, as he watches a particularly busy junction from his flat in Paris. From his window Lefebvre begins to ponder the “garlands” of sounds, circulations, and movements associated with street life. He describes the rhythmic cycles of footsteps, traffic, noise, tourists, routine, chance, and foliage. The interaction of these “diverse, repetitive and different rhythms animates the street and the neighbourhood” (Lefebvre, 2004, p. 30) and to fully grasp the cacophony is to attempt to found a new science or field of knowledge that makes rhythms the center of attention.” (205)
“Lefebvre differentiates the rhythms of the body such as the heart, walking, and intimate actions from macro rhythms such as seasons, epochs, and the circulation of commodities. He also makes a conceptual distinction between cyclical rhythms and linear rhythms, where cyclical repetition is a more endogenous time associated with nature and the cosmos and linear repetition is a “measured, imposed, external time” (Lefebvre, 2004, p. 99), the rhythm of work, the hammer or the metronome.” (205)
“After all, a rhythm works both through measure or repetition and through locations or places. It assumes that rhythms can only be grasped comparatively. One is quick only to the extent that the other is slow. And it locates the body as a constant reference point for the alliances and conflicts of rhythms—not just the anatomical, physiological body, but the body as being-in-the-world, perceiving, acting, thinking, and feeling.” (205)
“More than just a way of sensitizing oneself to speed, rhythmanalysis implies listening to a “plurality of rhythmic interactions; to diverse degrees and levels: from corpuscles to galaxies, one more time” (Lefebvre, 2004, p. 42). It is this consideration of diverse rhythms that gives us some purchase on the museum and the city, not in terms of singular tempos or accelerations but as assemblages of different beats. We can then begin to think of Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis as a challenge to make sense of the various frequencies characteristic of museums and their relations with broader contexts.” (206)
Toward a Rhythmanalysis: Buildings, Collections, Bodies
“To start with material space, the museum building is itself suffused with variant rhythms: from the site-specific routines of work to the zoning codes enforced by urban authorities, from the museum’s opening hours to the spatial coordination of front and back stage regions, from the social life of the toilets to the spatial production of silence.” (206)
“In this sense, the building’s materiality is culturally inscribed with powerful regulatory interests but its everyday uses are variable and dynamic. It plays host to the everyday movements of bodies, but it is also part of something greater: an urban ambition, a global topology, a locality, a corporate badge (Sirefman, 1999).” (206)
Benovsky, J. (2012) Photographic Representation and Depiction of Temporal Extension. Inquiry [Online]. Vol 55 (2) pp. 194 – 213
“The main task of this paper is to understand if and how photographs can represent and/or depict temporal extension (duration), given that photographs themselves are static images. In order to do this, a detour will be necessary to understand some features of the nature of photographic representation and depiction in general. This important detour will enable us to see that photographs (can) have a narrative content, and that the skilled photographer can “tell a story” in a very clear sense, as well as control and guide the attention of the spectator of the photograph.” (194)
“In order to evaluate these claims, we first need to make a clear distinction between photographic representation and photographic depiction, and as Le Poidevin does, we can borrow this distinction from Currie (1995). A photograph depicts what is immediately accessible to the spectator via a direct perception of the photograph, through visual resemblance. A photograph of a mountain depicts a mountain by visually resembling a mountain. But a photograph can represent a larger and richer content than what it depicts. Let us examine the two photographs below of the just-married couple (an example that will be of use later as well).” (195)
“Unlike depiction, I believe that representation is strongly linked to the narrative powers of photographs: in short, photographs depict what is directly visually accessible and they represent what they narrate, where narration strongly exploits imaginative and inferential capacities of the spectator of the photograph…” (195)
“The analogy between our temporally extended experience of a photograph and a temporally extended experience of film is thus only superficial, since the two cases do not work in the same way. A photograph can here be said to represent movement, change and temporal extension, but not to depict it: it represents it by “narrating” it, as we have seen in the case of the photograph of the ladybug. What we learn here is that a photograph can represent temporal extension via its narrative function but that it cannot depict it in this way since no change or movement is visually directly accessible to the observer of the image.” (202)
“The very words in which I just described this photograph suggest movement and change: I am talking about a man who is standing up (and so, who is changing his position) and about a train that passes by (and so, that is changing its spatio–temporal location). A photograph of this kind is special in the sense that, unlike the photograph of the skier, it makes us plainly see the trajectory of these two objects across space–time during a non-instantaneous interval of time.” (203)
“Such an image makes us realise a trivial fact about photography that is sometimes left aside: any photograph records what takes place during a non-instantaneous interval of time, simply because taking a photograph takes time, even if most often it is very short.” (203)
“In the case of the photograph of the man at the train station, however, the exposure time is long enough to allow for the man’s and the train’s movements to be recorded on the image, where their spatio–temporal path (movement) is thus visually accessible.” (204)
“Indeed, the photograph of the man at the train station seems to suggest a perdurantist1 ontology and conception of change. According to perdurantism, material objects like human bodies or trains are extended in the three spatial dimensions but also, literally, they are extended in time. Contrary to endurantists who claim that material objects persist through time by existing entirely at different moments of time, perdurantists defend the view that material objects persist through time by having temporal parts at different moments of time.” (205)
Collins, J. and Jervis, J. (2008) Uncanny Modernity: Cultural Theories, Modern Anxieties [online]. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. [Accessed 07 April 2018].
“This encourages us to ask about Baudelaire’s use of ‘phantom’ here, so as to understand how the figurative can, at times, vibrate the always insecure boundary that insulates it from the literal and conversely, insulates the real from the fantasies that necessarily partake of it. And the ‘synthesis’, that has to be ‘extracted and recorded’?.” (10)
“This synthesis of a phantom, itself phantasmic, reminds us both of the spectre of the past – apparently past yet with us still – and the fantasy construction of the whole in representation: the imaginary unity of the image, figuring what cannot coherently be grasped. The spectral can figure a state of ontological undecidability or tension, where there is an insistence, a presence of whatever resists us, recalcitrant to our understanding.” (10)
“…then, is an exploration of ‘presence’ as a possible object and context of experience; its relation to our sense of time; our ability to capture it through representation, particularly as image; the resulting instabilities in through representation, particularly as image; the resulting instabilities in the experiential field that can generate ‘presences’ our of what is conventionally ‘absent’; and how all this relates to our sense of the modern, of the modern, of ourselves as as modern.” (10)
“‘Presence’, one might say, can only be experienced, not represented, in which in turn means that even its status as experienced is problematical; it cannot be known as experience, even as it is experienced. The gap that is opened up here, the ’empty space’, is both a gap, a distance within the self, and is also that place of the image, as an image, as an attempted fixing of the present moment, giving us the imaginary plenitude of presence even as it disappears.” (11)
“This image always carries a past with it, that very past is constituted through this disconnection from presence, the disconnection that renders the image free-floating, and thereby carries with it the permanent possibility of the uncanny. In a sense, then, the present is always an awakening, and this awakening is also a remembering. And history has to be understood as a stream of disappearing traces, each alienated in the very moment of its appearance, hence giving us that sense of modernist distance, in Baudelaire and beyond, ‘as if the modern artist is committed to a moment in which he can never be properly inserted’, for the heroic immersion in the now actually invokes a past, forever, impossible to escape.” (11) **
“Freud defines the uncanny as ‘that class of the frightening which leads to what is known of old and long familiar’; this reminds us that it is first and foremost a sensation, a feeling, a shudder of apprehension or fear. It disturbs deeply held, taken-for-granted assumptions about what is real and unreal, or imaginary, about the world, and the entities within it; whether these entities are dead or alive, animate, or inanimate, natural or artificial, self or other.” (11)
“The uncanny shakes fundamental categories of knowledge and experience and understanding, given the world we (think we) live in. We cannot, therefore, ‘locate’ the uncanny; we cannot ask where it ‘belongs’. ‘If it belongs, it is no longer a question of the uncanny.’ Thus it disturbs our sense of atmosphere, makes ‘apprehensive’ in our apprehension of ‘presence’, of the here, the now, of time, the taken for granted framework of experience.” (11)
“The uncanny therefore incorporates suspense, the experience of the possible presence of the past in the present, stretched out indefinitely, hanging between past and future, the present as impossible infinite.” (11-12)
“Yet no more than the painting can the photo represent the very absence that makes it possible, the presence of the present, for it can never overcome the gap in time, space and experience that constitutes its very ability to purport to represent presence, but renders presence forever inaccessible.” (12)
“This gap corresponds to a well-know paradox of the image: its capacity to represent what it, itself, is not; its capacity to replace, defer the real, in the very act whereby it calls attention to the real, ‘presenting’ it to us even as it aspires to abolish its own role, render itself transparent, the invisible film over the surface of the real.” (12)
“Mapped onto linear time, this ‘difference’ of the image becomes a necessary inability to attain presence; hence the pastness of the image becomes its own explosive presence, locking it into a reality that is neither – or both – past and present. Given the modern sense of a discontinuity in the nature of the image – its status as ‘mere’ image, separate from the real – the image has a resultantly obscure ontology, a place in the twilight, caught between past and present, real and unreal, always liable to float free of its moorings, always potentially phantasmic. Haunting the tracks of the modern experience, the uncanny thus reveals presences, traces of the past in the present, and of the other in the self.” (12)
“It suggests an atmosphere, concentrated in a ‘presence’ located uneasily between time and space, and between material and immaterial, real and unreal – a sense of the world as unfamiliarity, of our own presence in its as ‘unbelonging’. (12)
“It reminds us of our own inability to be sufficiently present to ourselves, the limits of reflexive awareness, suggesting that there are always potential surrogates, ‘presences’, for this necessarily absent presence, particularly what are, in secular modernity, those necessarily absent or displaced presences: the dead, and one’s past self.” (13)
“These possible experiences of the uncanny are linked closely to the role of the image as a product of modern technologies of the visual, involving a sliding of representation into experience, their mutual penetration as intently productive of the uncanny.” (13)
Apparitions of the Self
“We see the impossibility of representing my death, the death of me, myself, the spirit that animates the body and that can, itself, only be represented as separate, in its impossible separation from the body, an impossible separation that is, nonetheless, opened up as possibility by representation itself., its non-existence as that through which and by which a reality beyond is pointed to, so that if the pointing succeeds, the gesture abolishes itself.” (16)
“By that very same token, representation makes itself real, abolishes reference, asserts its self-suffiuncincy. It oscillates between real, and unreal – like the ghost; and the self. Thus Cixous suggest that the ghost, as the ‘direct figure of the uncanny’ is the ‘fiction of our relationship to death’, and that ‘What is intolerable is that the ghosts erases the limit which exists between two states, neither alive nor dead.’ We can superimpose the impossible materiality of representation on the impossible immateriality of the self, producing the represented self as spectral body: the very image of death.” (16)
“If narrative is productive of the fiction self, this is true in both senses: the self in fiction, and the self as fiction. And this narrative productivity is always troubled, for if our sense of self is inseparable from the images through which memory is constituted and accessed, then these images will not coexist seamlessly with the narratives wherein we seek to recuperate them.” (16)
“But this is no less powerful if it is allowed to troubled the inside/outside boundary itself; as Royle suggests, the uncanny ‘disturbs any straightforward sense of what is inside and what is outside’, and is hence ‘an experience of liminality.'” (17)
Ghosts and Soft Furnishings
“Ghosts prefer their apartments to be furnished, it would seem. And as homes, these excessive furnishings remind us of another excess, the excess of domestic feeling, the intimacy and affection that is so central to the ideology of the domestic sphere. Indeed, this suggests a sense in whcih the sentimental and the uncanny is strange in the ordinary, the ordinary extended into the strange, the ordinary rendered other, so the sentimental is the brought closer, the other rendered homely, the excess of the homely.” (18)
“In these over-stuffed rooms, the objects that jostle jealously for space are never sufficiently accountable in terms of their function, even if they have one at all, yet their obsessive, insistent presence makes demands on people, reducing them to props, doll-like, simultaneously real yet mysterious, like everything else in the twilight.” (18)
“These object conjure up memories, a past, their vestments, always slightly faded, and dated, remind us of those who came before; they embody dreams, delusions of presence now past. They possess aura, or transmit live memories of aura under the aegis of its decline. They remind us that aura in modernity is ‘experienced primarily in its withdrawal or destruction. This is why they aura is always a matter of ghosts and specters. Ans one can see the closeness of the links between aura, the uncanny and the sentimental by recalling that aura is, for Benjamin, ‘the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be’.” (19)
“We can see what Benjamin means by referred to ‘the immense forces of “atmosphere” concealed in these [everyday] things’. ‘Atmosphere’: a distinctive presence that materialises into presences, poised between the real and the unreal in the liminal experience of twilight.” (19)
“It is only later that the ‘living doll’ becomes potentially uncanny, after the child has internalised the key distinctions that set in place the modern ontology of the real: the distinctions between living/dead, organic/inorganic, natural/artificial. If the ghost is uncanny through raising issues of life as representation, the self as spectral, as living image, the doll attains this status through raising issues of life as reproduction, the body as inorganic, as mechanism.” (19)
“‘Decadence inhabited the domestic; the apartment was a world in which moral and sexual codes were reversed’, a place in which luxury and soft furnishings cohabited easily with perversion. For her, home becomes ‘the figure for universal loss, grief, and desire.’, a place of familiarity where the secrets invariably raise the spectre of taboo and transgression, with their profound consequences for identity.” (20)
Muybridge, E. (1985) Horses and Other Animals in Motion: 45 Classic Photographic Sequences[online]. New York: Dover Publications. [Accessed 07 April 2018].
Walter, M. (1928) The Time Magnification of Motion: Slow Motion Photography and Momentary Visual Exposure. Journal of General Psychology. Vol 1. (4) pp.592-595
“In a dark room, placing the photographic film on the wall, he revolved the mirrors at such a rate in reference to the radial distance from the film as to produce a tangenital speed at the photographic surface of 5000 meters per second. The photographic image of the electric spark proved to be entirely sharp, indicating that it had not been distorted by this rapid movement of the light beam. So far as Dr Bull’s experiment had been able to prove, the spark had been absolutely instantaneous.” (593)
“Doubtless science will continue to use instantaneous photography and momentary view as useful tools in the future. Slow motion photography, combining as it does a large succession of these almost instantaneous pictures, makes possible the extension of the motion or its expansion over a time period, usually from 2 to 8 times that which is natural for the event. By means a certain event too brief for direct perception can be so recorded as to be later examined with great ease and accuracy.” (593)
“With the slow motion picture the opportunity to analyze what is ordinarily a rapidly occurring even depends upon a time distortion mechanically provided for in taking the picture and in projecting it. All features of the picture are distorted in time. A large part of the entertaining value of the slow motion picture is this fact.” (593)
“The new mechanisms are specifically designed to aid in the study of rapidly-moving machinery, where as a rule the movement is repeated. The principle is used in two form, (a) momentary illumination, and (b) momentary exposure.” (594)
Cresswell, T. (2006) On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World [online]. New York: Routledge. [Accessed 07 April 2018].
“Moving your hand, walking, dancing, excersing, driving to work, moving home, going on holiday, marching, running away, immigrating, traveling, exploring, attending conferences. All of these are forms of mobility but they rarely enter each other’s orbit in social and cultural enquiry. The slippery and intangible nature of mobility makes it an elusive object of study.” (1)
“It is a fundamental geographical facet of existence and, as such, provides a rich terrain from which narratives – and, indeed, ideologies – can be, and have been, constructed.” (1)
“Mobility, it seems, is also ubiquitous in the pages of academia. It plays a central role in discussions of the body and society. It courses through contemporary theorisations of the city. Culture, we are told, no longer sits in places, but is hybrid, dynamic – more about routes than roots.” (1)
“Finally, but perhaps most importantly, mobility bears a number of meanings that circulate widely in the modern Western World. Mobility as progress, as freedom, as opportunity, and as modernity, sit side by side with mobility as shiftlessness, as deviance, and as resistance.” (2)
“And yet mobility itself, and what it means, remains unspecified. It is a kind of blank space that stands as an alternative to place, boundedness, foundations, and stability.” (2)
“How, in other words, mobility has emerged as an object of knowledge in a range of practices from psysiology to international law, dance nonation to architecture, and simultaneously, how imaginations of mobility have informed judgments about people and their practices over the last several centuries in the Western world. In order to provide an interpretive framework for these explorations it is first necessary to start, as it were, at the beginning.” (2)
Movement & Mobility
“Mobility involves a displacement – the act of moving between locations. These locations may be towns or cities, or they may be points a few centimeters apart. This is the simplest understanding of mobility as it appears on maps of movements.” (2)
“Movement, therefore, describes the idea of an act of displacement that allows people to move between locations (usually given as point A and point B in abstract and positivist discussions of migration).” (2)
“We can think of movement, then, as the dynamic equivalent of location in abstract space, contentless, apparently natural, and devoid of meaning, history, and ideology. The critiques of abstract space and location are well known. Movement, as the dynamic equivalent of location, has not been given the same attention.” (3)
“If movement is the dynamic equivalent of location, then mobility is the dynamic equivalent of place. Place is a word we use in all manner of contexts in theoretical expositions and in the everyday life. Within geographical theory and philosophy is has come to signify meaningful segments of space – locations imbued with meaning and power. A place is a center of meaning – we become attached to it, we fight over it and exclude people from it – we become attached to it, we fight over it and excluded people from it – we experience it. The same cannot be said of location.” (3)
“In this book, mobility as socially produced motion is understood through three relational movements. First, when talking of human mobility, we are talking about mobility as a brute fact – something that is potentially observable, a thing in the world, an empirical reality. This is the mobility measured and analysed by modelers, migration theorists and transport planners.” (3)
“These representations of mobility capture and make sense of it through the production of meanings that are frequently ideological. Mobility means this. Mobility means that. Thus the brute fact of getting from A to B becomes synonymous with freedom, with transgression, with creativity, with life itself. Third, mobility is practiced, it is experienced, it is embodied. Mobility is a way of being in the world.” (3)
“Human mobilty is an irreducably embodied experience. Our feet hurt as we walk, the wind might blow in our face, we may not be able to sleep as we fly from New York to London. Often how we experience mobility and the ways we move are intimately connected to meanings given to mobility and the ways we move are intimately connected to meanings given to mobility through representation. Similarly, representations of mobility are based on ways in which mobility is practiced and embodied.” (4)
Cites David Delaney “As David Delaney has written, “human mobility implicates both physical bodies moving through material landscapes and categorial figures moving through representational spaces.” Mobile people are never simply people, they are dancers and pedestrians, drivers and athletes, refugees and citizens, tourists or businesspeople, men and women.” (4)
Movement, Time and Space
“Movement is made up of time and space. It is the spatialisation of time and temporalization of space. Any consideration of movement (and mobility) that does not take time and space into account is missing and important facet. Time and space, as Kant reminded us, are the fundamental axes around which life revolves – the most basic forms of classification.” (4)
“Time and space are both the context for movement (the environment of possibility for movement to occur) and a product of movement. Moving people and objects are agents in the product of time and space.” (4)
“Thus Marx was able to write of the annihilation of space by time. The success of railroad technology in the nineteenth century and the new modes of technology in the nineteenth century and the new modes of mobility that it enabled meant that things were, for all practical purposes, a lot closer.” (4)
“Both time and space, it has been argued, have been taken our of the world of nature and immediate experience and place, instead, in the world of abstraction – abstraction ruled, for the most part, by the demands of trade and capital, but also by various forms of patriarchy, colonialism and imperialism.” (4) *** Abstract Time and space…
“Mobility, as a social product, does not exist in an abstract world of absolute time and space, but is a meaningful world of social space and social time. Mobility is also part of the process of the social production of time and space.” (4)
“Wolfgang Schivelbusch has described how the invention of the railroad and its rapid spread across the surface of the globe forced a fundamental rethinking space. Distances were practically shrunk as it became possible to travel farther in a shorter time. The metropolis was conversely allowed to expand in the new suburbs as it became possible to travel farther between work and home. Indeed work and home became functionally separate spaces because of the new modes of mobility.” (4)
“As more and more people traveled at new speeds in trains, a new panoramic perception of space (as seen from the train window) emerged. For the first time it was possble to see the world as a continuous blur.” (5) ****
“Finally the new modes of mobility enabled by the railroad reduced the distinctiveness of places – their auras. Without effective mobility over long distances at high speed, places served as local and unique markets selling their own products, which were tied to seasonal production. Transportation changed these products into commodities, as goods began to lose their spatial presence and became instead products of an increasingly expansive market.” (6)
- Railroad and danger, new hazards for humans to experience, navigate and avoid
“Clearly, then, mobility is not just a function of time and space, but an agent in their production. While the movement of the train (from Paris to Lyon, say) occurs in abstract, absolute space and time, it plays a central role in the production of social time and space. Here, movement becomes mobility.” (6)
Ideology, Scale & Mobility
“Mobility seems a chaotic thing – chaotic in the sense that moving things are often chaotic in the way we experience them. Stationary, sedentary life, on the other hand, is hard to see a chaos.” (6)
“Movement is rarely just movement; it carries with it the burden of meaning and it is meaning that jumps scales. It is this issues of meanings that remains absent from accounts of mobility in general, and because it remains absent, important connections are not made.” (7)
“My aim, then, is to provide a way of thinking that traces some of the processes that run through the different accounts of human mobility at different scale, and ties them into a single logic without negating the very important differences between them.” (7)
“Consider the flow of blood through the body and the circulation of traffic in the city.” (7)
“Health came to be associated with circulation. Just as the blood circulated through the body, so air circulated through the city. City managers and planners in the eighteenth century began to clean dirt off the streets and instigated the construction of intricate sewer systems.” (7)
“Urban planners and architects sought to maximize flow and movement. Words such as artery and vein began to appear in the texts of the new urbanists. They believed that blockages created bad health in the urban body.” (8)
“Although this language is not being taken directly from human physiology textbooks, it is clearly that a similar process to that which linked Harvey’s blood circulation to the urban environment took place. Meanings given to mobility inside the human body – meanings with highly gendered connotations – are being translated into the politics of space race. Mobility, here at least means masculinity.” (8)
- Mobility is gendered – Biologically comparative — Used example of sperm and menstruation… Challenge mobility and modernity as violence and masculine…
“What these two stories show is that the bare fact of movement – the observation that things like blood and sperm, city traffic, and spacecraft move – is rarely just about getting from A to B. The line that connects them, despite its apparent immateriality, is both meaningful and laden with power.” (8)
Historical Senses of Mobility
“The rise of abstraction and mechanisation in a dance such as the Can-Can for instance, must be seen alongside changes in the work place such as Taylorism, the arrival of mass production and new forms of mechanical transport.” (10)
“Social kinetics is the history of socially structured movement; it points towards the political and theoretical necessity of seeing mobility as operating within fields of power and meaning, and the crucially larger contexts of changing senses of movement.” (10)
“In his essay, Bryson points towards one key transformation in the sense of movement, or as I would prefer to call it, sense of mobility. This transformation is one that can be seen to mark the advent of high modernity – a moment when mobility became increasingly regulated and regular – marked by timetables and mechanisation.” (10)
The Feudal Sense of Mobility
“Mobility in European Feudal Society was a luxury item. The vast majority of people stayed pretty much where they were. To people who lacked transportation facilities and were, for the most part, tied to the land, movement beyond the local was feared and forbidden.” (10)
“To be mobile was to exist on the margins. Wander minstrels, troubadours, crusaders, pilgrims, and some peripatetic monks existed, for periods of time, outside of the obligations of place and roots.” (10)
“For all but a very small minority, to be mobile in the Middle Ages was to be without place, both socially and geographically. Minstrels, for instance, were thought of as lecherous and irresponsible fly-by-nights. Minstrels had no obvious place in medieval life. They were neither peasants nor nobility, and they were frequently wandering through the countryside looking for employment.” (11)
“It was these vegabonds who created the need for new societal-level state ordering system. The vegabond was scary because of his apparent freedom to move and escape the status of adscriptus glebae, as well as the mutual gaze that ensured premodern order. This new movement was seen as unpredictable.” (12)
The Early Modern Sense of Mobility
“The city was that one place where an increased level of mobility was acceptable. The rise of mercantile capitalism necessitated the mobility associated with trade. This commercial mobility gradually loosened the rootedness of feudal society as guilds emerged to protect commercial interests.” (12)
“For the first time there were associations made between freedom, mobility, and city life. “The city air makes men free” the saying went, and hand in hand with this freedom went mobility. A “new freedom of movement” Mumford wrote, “that sprang up with corporate liberties claimed by the medieval town itself.”…” (12)
“They were without place. These new “masterless men” were considered extremely threatening because they did not appear to be part of any recognisable from of oder. These were new vegabonds – “people too listless and too numerous to be tamed and domesticated by the customary method of familiarisation or incorporation.”…” (13)
“New types of mobility called for new forms of social surveillance and control. All manner of meaning were devised to achieve this. Vegabonds were branded like sheep to make them visible.” (13)
“Mobility as a right accompanied the rise of the figure of the modern citizen who was granted the right to move at will within the bound of the nation-state.” (15)
“The tourist world. he argues, depends upon the paraphernalia of modern life, on the fact of displacement as a wide experience, and on the increasing interest in the past as distinctly premodern and marginal – a place to visit.” (15)
“Both citizens and tourists depend on excluded others from their identities. Citizens allowed to move freely, depend on the noncitizens, the aliens who are not free to move in the same way.” (16)
Western Modernity & Mobility
“Mobility seems self-evidently central to Western modernity. Indeed the, word modern seems to evoke images of technological mobility – the car, the plane, the spaceship. It also signifies a world of increased movement of people on a global scale.” (16)
“Before modernity, he argues, time was etched into life markings in a tree. With the coming of modernity, however, time becomes separated from life and nature and is instead a property of measurements – an abstraction.” (17)
“James Scott’s critique of high modernity emphasises the spatial ordering of society. His argument is that high modernity has been characterised by a particular way of seeing, which sought to impose order on the chaos of life. The straight lines of trees in modern forestry and the grand plans of Brasilia and New Delhi are examples of tis.” (17)
[Scott] “Intriguingly, Scott notes in his introduction how the issue of legibility arose from another research direction entirely. He set out to “understand why the state has always seemed to be the enemy of “people who move around. As an example he cites the experience of nomads and pastoralists, gypsies, homeless people, and runaway slaves. The imposition of legibility through space, in other words, was in some way related to the lack of fixity of important marginalised groups in modern society. This sense of anxiety about mobility in modernity is far more extensive than these state reactions to the perpetually peripatetic. There is a more pervasive sense in which mobility has been a source of anxiety in modernity.” (17)
“Traditional, rural life, he argued, had been slow and habitual, and the onset of modern urbanity, and especially the development of a money economy and clock time, meant that people were bombarded with sensations that led to an increasingly abstracted sense of self and society.” (17)
“Life became a matter of intellect and the “blasé attitude.” This accelerated modernity was a source of both anxiety and important new freedom as citizens became increasingly cosmopolitan. This sense of anxiety prompted by modernity was also evident outside of classical sociology.” (17)
“…George Beard describes the causes of a specific disease he called neurasthenia. Beard describes how “modern civilisation” is marked by five elements “steam power, the periodical press, the telegraph, the sciences, and the mental activity of women.” As with Simmel, Beard looked to modern conceptions of time and the increased velocity of life to show how the capacities of the nervous system were being stretched to the breaking point.” (17)
“Perhaps most famously Marshall Berman adopted Marx’s warning about capitalist modernity – “all that is solid melts into air” – to provide a vivid portrait of a modernity where everything was in a state of flux.” (18)
“Berman’s modernity is one where nothing is fixed or secure. It is chaotic and forever on the move.” (18)
“The Flâneur – a figure free to stroll freely along Paris’ new boulevards – has become a central figure in discussions of modernity and mobility. The migrant has been given the additional burden of signifying a modern condition.” (19)
“Modernity, therefore, is a perpetual battle between makers of order and the incessant change which is a condition of modernity. It is clear, then, that mobility is central to what it is to be modern. A modern citizen is, among other things, a mobile citizen.” (20)
“Again, the development of the railway provides an illustrative case in point. Just as the railway was instrumental in ordering modern life through the production of abstract time and abstract space, so it was the source of new anxieties.” (20)
“As the railway historian Ralph Harrington put it, “Railways could be seen as a symbol of progress, promising economic and social betterment, democracy, energy, freedom from old restrictions, all the benefits and opportunities of the constant circulating liberty of modern, mechanised civilisation. Yet they were also associated with pollution, destruction, disaster, and danger, threatening and destabilisation and corruption of the social order, the vulgarisation of culture, the despoliation of rural beauty, the violence and destruction and terror of the accident.” (20)
“More generally, modernity has been marked by time-space compression and staggering developments in communication and transportation.” (20)
“The celebrated technologies of mobility simultaneously open up the possibility of an increasingly transgressive world marked by people our of place at all scales.” (21)
“Mobility is both centre and margin – the lifeblood of modernity and the virus that threatens to hasten its downfall.” (21)
Mobility – A Critical Geosophy
“One of these is mobility. Mobility is a fact of life.To be human, indeed, to be animal is to have some kind of capacity for all but most severely disabled bodies.” (22)
“Mobility, in human life, is not a local or specific condition. To talk of the social construction of mobility, or the production of mobility, is not to say that mobility itself has somehow been invented and can made to disappear.” (22)
“I argue that mobility, like place, inhabits a middle ground. It is inconceivable to think of societies anywhere without either, and yet any particular way we have of thinking about them is self-evidently socially produced. They are social productions but necessary ones.” (22)
“The fact that our bodies allows us to move meanings, which are produced in a myriad of ways and are mapped onto mobility are all the more powerful. This ubiquity of mobility makes it possible for particular mobilities to be portrayed as more than particular – as fundamental, as natural. It is not possible to do this with automobiles or novels, as their historicity is obvious.” (22)
“Stasis and mobility, fixity and flow, are the subjects of deep knowledges that inform any number of ways of seeing the world.” (22)
Kent, J. (2014) Still Feeling the Car – The Role of Comfort in Sustaining Private Car Use. Mobilities [Online] Volume 10 (5) pp. 726-747 [Accessed 30 October 2016]
Featherstone, M., Thrift, N. and Ury, J. (2005) Automobilities. London: Sage Publications.
“There has been an upsurge of interest in recent years in the significance of flows, movement and mobility in social life.” (1)
Cites R. Barthes (1971: 88) “Roland Barthes (1971: 88), for example, suggests that because cars are both used and ‘consumed in image’ by the whole population they should be seen as ‘the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals’ (Urry, 2005: 58).” (1)
“The visibility and influence of the car as a key object of mass production (Fordism) and mass consumption, the impact on spatial organisation through roads, city layouts, suburban housing and shopping malls, are undisputed.” (1)
“The term automobility works off the combination of autonomy and mobility. In its broadest sense, we can think of many automobiles – modes of autonomous, self-directed movement. The auto in the term automobility referred to a self-propelled vehicle (a carriage without a horse).” (1)
“The promise here is for self-steering autonomy and capacity to sear out the open road or off-road, encapsulated in vehicles which afford not only speed and mobility, but act as comforting protected and enclosing private spaces, increasingly a platform for communications media, that can be enjoyed alone or in the company of significant others.” (2)
*** “…cars are positioned traversing the wild parts of the planet such as deserts and mountain passes, but something which also speaks to powerful cultural dreams of adventure and freedom: the capacity to go anywhere, to move and dwell without asking permission, the self-directed life free from the surveillance of authorities (cf. Bell, 1976; Cohan and Hark, 1997; Eyerman and Löfgren, 1995).” (2) *** Links to the idea of transgression
“Social life has become locked into the modes of mobility that automobility generates and presupposes.” (2)
“As time-space structures becomes refigured there is a concomitant shift in forms of sociality, living together and inhabitation.” (2)
[Mobility] “It encourages and demands an intense flexibility as people seek to juggle and schedule their daily set of work, family and leisure journeys, not around a train timetable, but on the calculation of the vagaries of traffic flows.” (2)
“The traffic accident is denied because it is not seen as a normal social occurrence, but more as an aberration. The victims are dispatched to the hospital, the car to the repair garage or scrapyard and the road is quickly cleansed of traces of the crash by the accident services and the ‘normalcy’ of traffic flow is restored.” (3)
“To update the figures: in 2002 it was estimated that 1,180,000 people were killed. This regular murder of human beings and frequent physical injury is largely accepted as something unavoidable.” (4)
“Miller (2001: 2). For example, suggests we should take into account ‘the humanity of the car’, that is makes little sense to focus on the car as a vehicle of destruction without also considering the ways in which it has ‘become an integral part of the cultural environment with which we see ourselves as human (Miller, 2001:2).” (5)
“This makes the automobile both part of the vast transportation system with all its dangers, but also part of intimate and personal life, as something subjected to a great variety of cultural uses, practices and coding.” (5)
“The motorized landscape contributes to our sense of place, of ‘being in the world’ within a familiar context. Road signs, street lighting, telephone booths, the architecture of petrol/gas stations and roadside cafes/diners all contribute to our sense of national identity.” (5)
“Micheal Bull (2004/this issue) in his piece ‘Automobility and the Power of Sound’, examined the ways in which the experience of the aural has become the definitive form of car habitation for many contemporary car drivers. Many drivers automatically switch on the radio when they get into the car and talk about the feeling of discomfort if they spend time in the cars alone with the sound of the engine. Mediated sound, therefore, becomes a component part of what it is to drive. It provides a ‘sonic envelope’, a sealed world which functions as a personalized listening environment. This form of management of experience provides a greater sense of time control, to the extent that drivers often prefer driving alone; in the effect, the car becomes a sort of refuge.” (9)
“Baudrillard’s remarks suggests the car as cosy cocoon belies the engineering design input which makes it a projectile, something with the potential of a weapon.” (9)
“Part of the enjoyment of driving, despite the hazards of traffic and potential crashes is this sense of being in control, of the communicative world and comforting refuge zone as something which can be opened, closed and blended at the touch of a switch.” (9)
“At the same time this prospect seems to derive from a centred vision of a unitary car culture following the alleged panoptic logic of modernity. It is also a vision founded on Western economies with the pattern of traffic flows.” (17)
“”2. the major item of individual consumption after housing which provides status to its owner/user through its sign values (such as speed, security, safety, sexual desire, career success, freedom, family, masculinity); through being easily anthropomorphized by being given names, having rebellious features, seen to age, and so on; which disproportionately preoccupies criminal justice systems (Miller, 2001).” (26
“The term ‘automobility’ captures a double sense, both of the humanist self as in the notion of autobiography, and of objects or machines that possess a capacity for movement, as in automatic and automation. This double-resonance of ‘auto’ demonstrates how the ‘car-driver’ is a hybrid assemblage of specific human activities, machines, roads, buildings, signs and cultures of mobility (Thrift, 1999: 282-4)” (26)
“This system of automobility stemmed from the path-dependent pattern laid down from the end of the 19th century.” (27)
“Driving requires ‘publics’ based on trust, in which mutual strangers are able to follow such shared rules, communicate through common sets of visual and aural signals, and interact even without eye-contact in a kind of default space or non-place available to all ‘citizens of the road’ (See Lynch, 1993).” (29)
*** “To inhabit the roads of the west is to enter the world of automatized machines, ghostly presences moving too fast to know directly or especially to see through eye.” (29-30) ****
*** Communities of people become anonymised flows of faceless ghostly machines. The iron cages conceal the expressiveness of the face and a road full of vehicles can never be possessed. There is no distance and mastery over the iron cage; rather, those living on the street are bombarded by hustle and bustle and especially by the noise, fumes and relentless movement of the car that cannot be masted or possessed (See Urry, 2000: ch. 4, on the senses).” (30) **** Iron Cage –> Modernity!!!
“Large areas of the globe consists of car-only environments – the non-places of super-modernity (Auge, 1995; Merriman, 2004).” (30) –> MOTORWAYS!
“The driver’s body is itself fragmented and disciplined to the machine, with eyes, ears, hands and feet, all trained to respond instantaneously and consistently, while desires even to stretch, to change posiition, to doze or to look around are being surpressed.” (31)
“The car becomes an extension of the driver’s body, creating new subjectivities organized around the extraordinarily diciplined ‘driving body’ (see Freund, 1993:99; Hawkins, 1986; Morse, 1998)” (31)
“The car can be thought of as an extension of the senses so that the car-driver can feel its very contours, shape and relationship to that beyond its metallic skin.” (31)
“The body of the car provides an extension of the human body, surrounding the fragile, soft, and vulturable human skin with a new steel skin, albeit one that can scratch, crumple and rupture oce it encounters other cars in a crash (see Brottman, 2001, on ‘car crash cultures’).” (
Delanty, G. (2000) Modernity and Postmodernity: Knowledge, Power and the Self. [Online]London: SAGE Publications Ltd. [Accessed 18th April 2018]
“My argument is that the postmodern impulse has been with us from the advent of modernity itself and that the discourses of modernity began earlier than the conventional watershed of the Enlightenment, which was less a rupture than a culmination of a process that had begun much earlier. Modernity, for me, entails the very experience of scepticism that is normally attributed to postmodernity, which is not, consequently, the radical and ruptural break that it is often held to be.” (2)
“Modernity is itself founded on a scepticism concerning some of the central dimensions of human experience, in particular relating to knowledge and power, but also the very idea of the self.” (2)
“…revised for the epistemic culture that modernity brought about was one of a deepening of uncertainty which came with the conviction that human cognitive powers can wield merely cognition of possible worlds, for knowledge is always constrained to be mediated experience.” (2)
“Under the conditions of modernity, transcendence is simply the awareness of limits and is expressed in the belief in the finitude of knowledge and the unattainability of perfection. The critical power of knowledge derives from this recognition that all forms of human experience are mediated.” (2)
Quendler, C. (2011)Rethinking the camera eye: dispositive and subjectivity. New Review of Film and Television Studies. [Online]. Vol. 9 (4). [Accessed 25th April 2018]
“Metaphors of the camera eye are among the oldest and most powerful troped to depict human vision and subjectivity.” (395)
“As a proto-cybernetic metaphor that lends itself to anthropomorphic and mechanomorphic readings, the camera eye has become a double agent of subjectivity.” (395)
“By projecting similarities and differences between the camera and the eye, metaphor of both media and the mind. The camera and the eye in these uses function metonymically as they stand in for the entire human and cinematographic (or photographic) apparatus, respectively.” (395)
“Only this time the return promises the entrance into a cybernetic paradise that is entirely the creation of a human engineer. If the camera, which stands in for the medial dispositif, and the eye, which stands in for the human perceptual and cognitive disposition, are united, and their horizons seem to converge into one and the same screen, which in ‘outlining’ the discourse that is projected onto it may be likened to the rhetorical notion of the dispositio.” (396)
“This paper revisits the relationship between dispositif and subjectivity by examining how figures of the camera eye align with regimes of visibility with discursive regimes. How are orders of the discourse informed by regimes of light?…” (396)
“In retrospect, the camera eye appears like a relict of a bygone modernity, a time long before the differentiation of human and technological organs in the digital matrix.” (396) **
“The camera eye has become above all an emblem of cinematic modernism, where camera vision promised to synthesize the experience of modernity (see, e.g. Casetti 2008; North 2005; Ranière 2006). Modernist invocations of the camera are often paradoxical; they emerge as vanishing points where a number of opposites converge: the objective and the subjective, the real and the imaginary, the conscious and the unconscious, the organic and the mechanical, the inside and the outside, the private and the public, the pure visibility of the spectacle and the ordering principle of narrative (or, as Jacques Rancière  has put it, opsis and muthos).” (396-397)
“A camera may be ‘seen’ to express mental and bodily states or encode mechanisms of the unconscious.” (397)
Barthes, R. (1980/2000) Camera Lucida, London: Vintage Books, pp. 10-15; 30-32; 35 and 80-89.
- Barthes | Indexicality and links with the ‘Trace of the Real, Tracing Light Trails at Night…
“This disturbance is ultimately one of ownership. Law has expressed it in its way: to whom does the photograph belong? Is landscape itself only a kind of load made by the owner of the terrain?” (1980/2000: 13)
“Photography transformed subject into object, and even, one might say, into a museum object: in order to take the first portraits (around 1840) the subject had to assume long poses under a glass roof in bright sunlight; to become an object made one suffers as much as a surgical operation…” (1980/2000; 13)
“For me, the Photographer’s organ is not his eye (which terrifies me) but his finger: what is linked to the trigger of the lens, to the metallic shifting of plates (when the camera still has such things).” (1980:2000: 13).
“…cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing.” (1980:2000: 15)
“Photography has been, and is still, tormented by the ghost of Painting.” (1980/2000: 30)
“I say: no, it was the chemists, For the neome “That-has-been” was possible only on the day when a scientific circumstance (the discovery that silver halogens were sensitive to light) made it possible to recover and print directly the luminous rays emitted by a variously lighted object. The Photograph is literally an emanation of the referent.” (1980:2000: 34)
“…as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.” (1980/2000: 34)
“…it is because I am delighted (or depressed) to know that the thing of the past, by its immediate radiations (its luminances), has really touched the surface which in its turn my gaze will touch…” (1980/2000: 34)
“What matters to me is not the photograph’s “life” (a purely ideological notion) but the certainty that the photographed body touches me with its own rays and not with superadded light.” (1980/2000: 34)
“Here are some Polish soldiers resting in a field (Kertèsz, 1915); nothing extraordinary, except this, which no realist painting would give me, that they were there; what I see is not a memory, an imagination, a reconstitution, a piece of Maya, such as art lavishes upon us, but reality in a past state: at once the past and the real.” (1980/2000; 35 )
“What the photograph feeds my mind on (though my mind is never satiated by it), by a brief action whose shock cannot drift into reveries (this is perhaps the definition of satori), is the simple concomitance.” (1980/2000: 84)
“Photography offers an immediate presence to the world – a co-presence, but this presence is not only a political order (‘to participate by the image in contemporary events”), it is also of a metaphysical order.” (1980:2000: 34)
“The photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been. This distinction is decisive.” (1980/2000:85)
“…but the Photograph is indifferent to all intermediaries: it does not invent; it does not invent; it is authentication itself; the (rare) artifices it permits are not probative; they are, on the contrary, trick pictures: the photograph is laborious only when it fakes.” (1980/2000: 87)
“Every photograph is a certificate of presence. This certificate is the new embarrassment which its invention has introduced into the family of the image.” (1980/2000:87)
“…like the ectoplasm of “what-has-been”; neither image nor reality, a new being, really: a reality one can no longer touch.” (1980/2000: 87)
“…the photograph, they say, is not an analogon of the world; what it represents is fabricated, because the photographic optic is subject to Albertian perspective (entirely historical) and because the inscription on the picture makes a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional effigy.” (1980/2000: 88)
“…The photograph was an image without code – even if, obviously, certain codes do inflect our reading of it – the realists do not take the photograph for a “copy” of reality, but for an emanation of past reality: a magic, not an art.” (1980/2000: 88)
Sontag, S. (1971/2008) ‘Plato’s Cave’, in On Photography, Hammondsworth: Penguin pp. 3-24
- Sontag | Sublimation of the gun [Soft-Murder]
- Considering my practices and experiences and the act of photographing alone.
- Considering my roles and actions as a photographer, making solitary decisions.
- Exploring the boundaries between Covert and Overt Photographic practices.
- Parking Outside Houses in order to obtain a view of the main road and traffic flows at night
- Public Car Parks, Sometimes uncomfortable and Awkward for experiences and positioning at to obtain a best view to reveal detailed and interesting light trials
“To collect images is to collect the world.” (1971/2008: 3)
“Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognise as modern. Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood.” (1971/2008: 3-4)
“To photograph is to appropriate the thing being photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge – and, therefore, like power.” (1971/2008: 4)
“Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire.” (1971/2008:4)
“Photographs furnish evidence.” (1971: 2008: 5)
“The picture may distort: but there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like whats in the picture.” (1971/2008: 5)
“In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects.” (1971/2008: 6)
“…which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as painting and drawings are.” (1971/2008:6-7)
“Those occasions when the taking of photographs is relatively undiscriminating, promiscuous, or self-effacing do not lessen the didacticism of the whole enterprise. This very passivity – and ubiquity – of the photographic record is photography’s “message,” its aggression.” (1971/2008: 7)
“There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera.” (1971/2008: 7)
“The subsequent industrialization of camera technology only carried out a promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experiences by translating them into images.” (1971/2008: 7)
“It is mainly a social rite, a defence against anxiety, and a tool of power.” (1971/2008: 8)
Vernacular and Tourist-based photography | “Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun.” (1971/2008: 10)
“Photography has become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of participation.” (1971/2008 :10)
“Taking photographs has set up a chronic voyeuristic relation to the world which levels the meaning of all events.” (1971/2008: 11)
“A photograph is not just the result of an encounter between an event and a photographer; picture-taking is an event in itself, and one with ever more peremptory rights – to interfere with, to invade, or to ignore whatever is going on.” (1971/2008: 11)
“Our very sense of the situation is now articulated by the camera’s interventions. The omnipresence of cameras persuasively suggests that time consists of interesting events, events worth photographing.” (1971/2008: 11)
“After an event has ended, the picture will still exist, conferring on the event a kind of immortality (and importance) it would never otherwise have enjoyed.” (1971/2008:11)
“Photography is essentially an act of non-intervention.” (1971/2008: 11)
“Even if incompatible with intervention in a physical sense, using a camera is still a form of participation, Although the camera is an observation station, the act of photographing is more than passive observing.” (1971/2008: 12)
“To take a picture is to have an interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged (at least for as long as it takes to get a “good” picture), to be in complicityly with whatever makes a subject interesting, worth photographing – including, when that is the interest, another person’s pain or misfortune.” (1971/2008:12)
Sontag cites Diane Arbus… “…I aways thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favorite things about it,” (Diane Arbus wrote, “and when I first did it I felt very perverse.” (1970/2008: 13) YES! This is exactly it!
“Being a photographer can be thought of as naughty, to use Arbus’s pop word, if the photographer seeks out subjects considered to be disreputable, taboo, marginal.” (1970/2008: 13)
“Between photographer and subject, there has to be distance. The camera doesn’t rape or even posses, though it may presume, intrude, trespass, distort, exploit, and at the farthest reach of metaphor, assassinate – all activities that, unlike the sexual push and shove, can be conducted from a distance, and with some detachment.” (1970/2008: 13) ****
“The old-fashioned camera was clumsier and harder to reload than a brown Bess musket. The modern camera is trying to be a ray gun.” (1970/2008: 14)
“Like a car, a camera is sold as a predatory weapon – one that’s as automated as possible, ready to spring.” (1970: 2008: 14) ***
“Like guns and cars, cameras are fantasy-machines whose use is addictive.” (1970/2008: 14) ***
“Still, there is something predatory in the act of taking a picture. To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.” (1970/2008: 14)
“Just as the camera is a sublimination od the gun, to photograph someone is a sublimated murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.” (1970/2008: 14-15)
Cites Samuel Butler, “…complained that “there is a photographer in every bush, going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” The photographer is now charging real beasts, beleaguered and too rare to kill.” (1970/2008: 15)
“When we are afraid, we shoot. But when we are nostalgic, we take pictures.” (1970/2008: 15)
“Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” (1970/2008: 15)
“A photographs is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence.” (1970/2008: 16)
“Like a wood fire in a room, photographs – especially those of people, of distance landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past – are incitements to reveries.” (1970/2008: 16)
“The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is enhanced by distance.” (1970/2008: 16) *** The act of photographing from the position of an unknown onlooker.
“Photographs may be more memorable than moving images because they are a neat slice of time, not a flow.” (1970/2008: 17)
“Each still photograph is a privileged moment, turned into a slim object that one can keep and look at again.” (1970/2008: 19)
“Photographs are valued because they give information. They tell one what there is; they make an inventory.” (1970/2008: 22)
“The photograph is a thin slice of space as well as time.” (1970/2008: 22)
“Through photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, freestanding particles; and history, post and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque.” (1970/2008: 23)
“It will be a knowledge at bargin prices – a semblance of knowledge, a semblance of wisdom; as the act of appropriation, a semblance of rape.” (1970/2008: 24)
Bate, D. (2016) ‘Daguerre’s Abstraction’, Photographies, Vol 9 No 2, pp. 135-146
“…however, it is argued, also “linked to the rise of digital technology” (Squires 9). The indexical, the trace, the real or even “light” are all terms invoked, symptomatically, to highlight the question of photographic materiality.” (2016:136)
“Contemporary photographic abstraction – non-objective or non-representational photographs – are read and understood as an implicit response to the overly automated regime of “digital photography”, where there is little or no “artistic” control. Abstraction is claimed (again) as a return to basics, a new beginning, a degree zero.” (2016: 136)
“From this perspective, abstraction is a condition of representation, rather than premised on this absence, and makes its appearance in highly specific circumstances – circumstances which relate not to any specific crisis of art or representation, but to the issue of what is represented.” (2016: 136)
“No, More usually, these striking scenes are used to demonstrate a “flaw: in the early photographic process. Daguerrotypes required rather long exposure times, somewhere between 4 and 60 mins to register an image, which makes transient movement difficult or impossible to register.” (2016: 139)
“Abstraction functions to signify the presence and absence of the human being in photography.” (2016: 139)
“Photography invests a new conception of time, one that will come to dominate twentieth-century thought. The photographic image organises a new temporality of signification in the dichotomy: stillness = presence, movement = absence, stasis is linked to visibility and movement to invisibility.” (2016: 139)
“This ghostly presence is also the first worker to “appear” in a photographed, yet, paradoxically, he, too, is absent, abstracted from the image precisely through the very activity and motion demanded of his labour.” (2016: 140)
“…Marx’s view is that abstraction is a kind of negation. Negation – and there is little difference here between Marx and Freud’s concept or negation – is denial or disavowal rejects the material signifier and replaces it with a psychically invested substitute.” (2016: 140)
“The individual promenaders strolling at leisure are abstracted into a crowd; the crowd is abstracted into a distant view, as an impression of life.” (2016: 143)
“The accidental effect of the fuzziness joins photography to the abstractions that already constitute the body of the viewer’s unconscious. Abstraction draws on the viewer away from the discipline of geometry and language as representational symbolic systems, negating them, and moving “positively: towards the emptiness of the image.” (2016: 144)
Henning, M. (2017) ‘The Itinerant Image, in Photography: The Unfettered image, London and New York. Routledge.
“…the example speaks to me of the ways in which a technologically-altered experience of space and time had seemed into everyday life, even into practices that overtly positioned themselves outside, and against, technological modernity.” (2017: 79 [reader])
“…speaks of the different movements and materials of photographic images: the downward plummet of those glass plates; the reappearance of these anti-technological paintings on the liquid crystal screen; the paper photographs, postcards, and book illustrations of the “savages” of the Empire…” (2017; 79 [reader])
“The constellation is irreducible to the stars that comprise it, the stars irreducible to their place within the larger grouping of celestial bodies, a group which brings them together without destroying their identity.” (2017; 81 [of reader])
“For Benjamin, the constellation also referred to the combination also referred to the combination of past and present in an image of history: the past “comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation” (1999,462).” (2017: 81 [of reader])
“This idea of a constellation offers one means to think about how to situate photographic history within a wider cultural history…” (2017: 81 [of reader])
“To treat it, in other words, as an imbroglio in the sense that Bruno Latour uses it: a tangled knot of human social practices and concepts of the material, technological, chemical properties of things (Latour 1993). Or, perhaps, another term Ballungen will serve. I am adopting this German word from a very different context (the logical empiricist writings of Otto Neurath) where it is used to describe clustered, congealed and imprecise concepts that make up everyday language and that cannot be disaggregated (Cartwright, et al. 1996, 157-158). Ballungen indicate the impossibility of fixing meaning, which is always communal and plural, and the impossibility of a pure semiotic system.” (2017: 83 [of reader])
“History deals in stuff, for we only know the past through its present traces, which are shaped by processes of obsolescence, material degradation, of fashion, contingency and happenstance, and filtered through an accumulation of dust, stains and marks.”(2017: 83 [of reader])
“…maintain this sense of the thingliness of photography even as I emphasize its fleeting mobile qualities: refusing to see the most virtual, evanescent and hallucinatory images and projections as anything other than material.” (2017: 83 [of reader])
“…photography needs to be understood in terms of the setting free of images, a concept inspiring first of all by the historian Michel Foucault…” (2017: 84 [of reader]
“Foucault’s writing allowed me to think of images as itinerant, unfettered, released by technologies of photography, at the same time as the physical materials of photography (glass, chemicals, paper and so on) bind it to place and time.” (2017: 84 [of reader])
“By being digitally networked, they can be exchanged and circulated at the swipe of a finger across a screen. Images on screens are constantly refreshed, moving and discontinuous, and there is now a blurring of the boundaries between photo and video (both now produced by the same devices). The digital photographic image is time-based or durational, appearing and disappearing with a mere gesture of the hand.” (2017: 85 [of reader])
“Since the invention of photography, not just since digital networks, images – all images – are unsettled, displaced, drifting. Rather than see photography as “fixing” a fleeting reality we might see it as helping to produce images as transient and fleeting. The fact that photography makes images mobile, or accelerates and increases their mobility, is characteristic, rather than incidental.” (2017: 85 [of reader])
“…the idea of images as migratory. journeying, wandering and vegabond, against the grain of a theoretical and historical discussion which tends to represent photographs as static, fixed and relatively unchanging, at least until the advent of the digital networked image.” (2017: 85 [of reader])
“There is a connection between the perception that photographs represent frozen moments, and a negative view of photography as a practice and of photographic images.” (2017: 86 [of reader])
“For Sontag, life is “flow”, it is “not about significant details, illuminated [in] a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are” (1977, 81). In Sontag’s book, this idea of photography as isolating and “fixing” a moment is a negative thing, and it is connected to a larger distrust of photographs (and by extension, of photographers).”
“She associated the act of taking a photograph with distancing, emotional detachment, and which with complicity in other people’s suffering, because the person who is taking the phootgraph cannot intervene.” (2017: 86 [of reader])
“Sontag’s is one of many critical and theoretical accounts that recognizes the photograph’s mobility but treats it as suspicious. The meaning of photographs can so easily be subverted or undercut with a loss of a caption, or change of context.” (2017: 86-87 [of reader]).
“…Susan Sontag wrote, “A photograph is only a fragment, and with the passage of time its moorings come unstuck. It drifts away into a soft abstract pastness, open to any kind of reading@, she identified nothing specific to photography – all historical objects become harder to read the more distant we are from the culture that produced them, all are also fragments of the larger culture, and certainly they become more ambiguous, if not more polysemous, the less we know about their origins (1977, 71). ” (2017: 88 [of reader])
“As with Fordist standardization and Taylorised labour, the process involves a certain abstraction, in this case of characteristics and personality types, and arguably also produces alienation, in the sense that the sitter no longer recognizes themselves in the picture.” (2017: 90 [of reader])
“There are two interconnected qualities found in photographs that produce this sense. One is the accumulation of seemingly random, unselected detail (constituting a kind of extra-semantic “noise”) in the photograph; the second is the appearance of the photograph as a “trace” of what is in front of the lens. In combination, these produce the impression that the camera has the ability to be an objective, impassive recorder of events” (2017: 91 [of reader]).
“The appearance in early photographs of contingent, unexpected details that had not been noticed by the photographer reinforced a sense that photography was essentially an automatic process and that these were pictures authored, not by the photographer, but by the sun itself.” (2017: 92[of reader])
[Daguerretypes] “The belief that photography is mechanical and automatic plays down the role of the photographer, who is seen as little more a machine operator.” (2017: 92)
“In the understanding of the time, the photographer was somewhat between a showman-illusionist and a scientist, whose role was to harness the latent potential of the sun.” (2017: 92)
“Additionally, sharpness, clarity, and precision were seen as qualities of the daguerreotype that set it apart from painting and from Talbot’s process. Photography appeared to have great potential as a scientific tool, an instrument of positivism, knowledge producing due to its capacity to record even the minutest of detail with great accuracy.” (2017: 92 [of reader])
“…the peculiar “gaze” of the camera in terms of a kind of flattening out of perception: the photography “shows us what we would see if we were uniformly sensitive to eveything that light imprints upon us, and to nothing but imprints” (1970. 164)” (2017: 92)
Durden, M. (2000) ‘Empathy and Engagement: The Subjective Documentary’ in Mark Durden and Craig Richardson (eds) Face on: Photography as a Social Exchange. pp. 27-37
Warner, M. (2009) Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the Twenty-First Century, pp. 205-218; pp 221-235; pp. 236-248
Gunning, T. (2003) ‘Never Seen this Picture Before: Muybridge in Multiplicity’, in Prodger, Phillips (ed) Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement, OxfordL Oxford University Press. pp. 223-258
Henning, M. (2017) ‘Streams and Flows’ in The Fugitive Image: A Cultural History of Photography, London and New York: Routledge.
Ramamurthy, Anandi (2009) ‘Spectacles and Illusions: Photography and Commodity Culture’ in Liz Wells (ed) Photography: A Critical Introduction, 4th Edition, London and New York: Routledge.
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