One of our most influential commentators on photography investigates the future of visual media as the digital revolution transforms images, changing the way we conceptualize the world. From photos of news events taken on cell phones to the widespread use of image surveillance, digital media has fundamentally altered the way we receive visual information. Simultaneously, the increased manipulation of photographs has made photography suspect as reliable documentation, raising questions about its role in recounting personal and public histories. In a world beset by critical problems and ambiguous boundaries, Ritchin argues that it is time to begin energetically exploring possibilities created by technological innovations, and to use them to better understand our rapidly changing world.
Slitscan imaging techniques are used to create static images of time-based phenomena. In traditional film photography, slit scan images are created by exposing film as it slides past a slit-shaped aperture. In the digital realm, thin slices are extracted from a sequence of video frames, and concatenated into a new image.
Computer-generated effects are often blamed for bad Hollywood movies. Yet when a critic complains that «technology swamps storytelling» (in a review of Van Helsing, calling it «an example of everything that is wrong with Hollywood computer-generated effects movies»), it says more about the weakness of the story than the strength of the technology. In Digital Storytelling, Shilo McClean shows how digital visual effects can be a tool of storytelling in film, adding narrative power as do sound, color, and «experimental» camera angles–other innovative film technologies that were once criticized for being distractions from the story. It is time, she says, to rethink the function of digital visual effects.
«Take 16 minutes to learn something about Bolivian history. Or maybe not. Claudia Joskowicz’s two new video works, shown at Thierry Goldberg Projects, depict historical moments dramatically poised on the brink of a violent eruption. At first glance, the actors we see appear frozen even though they’re alive, as if God (or the artist) has buggered off, time has stopped, and the drama can’t or won’t conclude naturally. In Vallegrande, 1967, we slowly approach a dilapidated shed in a rural setting. A few curious locals have gathered to gawk at a dead body lying inside. Nude and supine, the dead man is watched over by soldiers and an eager photographer, who has climbed on the makeshift bier in order to get a better picture. In Round and Round and Consumed by Fire we are again in a rural village of mud bricks and shingled roofs. Two light-skinned men bearing pistols stand in front of a façade. They stand guard, perfectly still, awaiting the arrival of a band of soldiers who appear in the distance.»