Filed under Miscellaneous
The big question is, where does the art reside in this? Is it in the machines themselves ? Dr Jeremy would say no, because although the machine is itself an intentional object (as opposed to a natural one), it has to function as a calculator, so the creator’s intentions were restricted. Or is the art in the pictures? These are also intentional, and Dr J would say that the artist had complete freedom to choose what to photograph and how to present it. But the problem is, we don’t really know what the intention of the machine creator was – we assume it was to make a calculator, but that is circumstantial. The creator might have been an artist who wanted to make a make an object that just happens to work as a calculator (cf the creations of Tim Hunkin – are they art?) If the photographer had not chosen to exhibit the pictures, but had simply kept them to himself then would they still be art? We wouldn’t know about them and any intention that they should be art would likewise be entirely unknown. Without the machines, the photographer would not have the opportunity to create his art, so the machine is an essential part of the work of art with which we are confronted. So the machine and the picture cannot be separated, anymore than the obverse and reverse of a coin can be separated.
All very valid points Paul. Some fine artists would not see this as art. This body of work is just documentary photography, a decorative approach to documenting these obsolescent objects. A revelation of their innards to demonstrate that though no longer useful, they are still beautiful? The art could be more in the way they are expertly lit and photographed. This is a still life project that hints at possible movement. Perhaps more SteamPunk than Fine Art. I chose to collect these images because they evoke nostalgia as well as surprise in the viewer.
I’m drawn to the thought that fine artists are a bit pompous (in a message I sent to Jim Butler I described the attitude as humourless bumptiousness). I think the machines internal workings are very beautiful – on a similar theme you might like http://www.toddmclellan.com/thingscomeapart.
Thanks Paul, hope you’re not implying I’m pompous??
Quite the opposite; being not pompous means you can see that there is actually something to discuss (as well as finding the inner workings of a machine worthy of attention).
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