works by MARC LAFIA    


    The Event of Imaging (1998)
The Event of Imaging
Watch Camera Images

The black and white Casio watch camera images presented  
here - and the particularities of that instrument, the digital - 
lead me to a reconsideration of imaging. This was furthered  
with the Canon Digital Elph S110 camera. Both 'cameras' led  
me to the an idea about photography as an event - and my  
relationship with the camera and the image.  
What's interesting about these digital cameras is that they're  
cameras, but they really aren't. That's the uncanny part, the  
fascinating part, they mimic the camera and are cameras but  
they are also something else. It is this something else that  
this work is about. 
Roland Barthes observed in Camera Lucida, 'in photography  
what can be reproduced infinitely occurs only once'. But what  
is it that occurs only once, the moment in time, or the  
occurrence of imaging? 
It was this idea of the event of the image, the occurrence of  
imaging that I began to see as an approach that I took  
everywhere in imaging, from environmental spaces to  
photographs, friends, strangers, myself, video, cinema, books,  
objects, architecture, staged events, - anything in my purview  
of interest I saw with the idea and application of this approach  
to imaging, to the image. What the work is in pursuit of is not  
the image per se, but the imaging of the event of myself with  
the camera in the occurrence of these things being imaged.  
As such the images are presented always in series, or  
continuum, or as a traversing of the event of these things  
becoming image. Let me try and explain. 
In the past year I have become interested in the very notion  
of imaging and what remains there in the presence of the  
image. In modernism, artists explored the unique qualities  
inherent in photography, from composing the exact moment,  
finding varied subject matter and with cultivating a signature,  
and of course exploring the very properties of light exposed by  
lenses and the properties of the darkroom in the last thirty  
years, with the advent of conceptual art, artists moved away  
from photography's aesthetic or formal properties and used  
the photograph as an instrument of documentation,  
appropriated photographs, constructed photographs  
photography was not so much continuous with the world as it  
was an instrument for the invention of one's own world and  
though appropriation, the re-contextualization of the image  
and its very sense. In the nineties photography is recovered  
with the work of the objectivist school of photography, but  
photography as a medium in art stakes out positions in  
multiple and combinatory trajectories. 
With the advance of digital photography, the image becomes a  
set of numbers or instructions, as well as with the vast  
amplitude in the register of the camera, both in terms of  
effects, light sensitivity and number of images that can be  
stored at the time photographing imaging is the very text  
of images the camera, a simulated or software camera,  
instructions itself, performs the camera but indeed it  
something else. There is something about it as I mentioned  
that is strange and uncanny. 
Having worked in computation and the network with the  
algorithmic and databases, the idea of the image as indexical  
or sample of a scene started to grow on me as a way to think  
of the photographic. Digital photography instruments became  
a way to examine photography; in a similar way that video  
became a way for Godard to look at Cinema. The digital both  
mimics or imitates photography, never quite being  
photography and becomes something of the uncanny of  
photography. For me digital photography is the image of  
disappearance, is the recording of recording. All photography  
now is in a sense conceptual and about materialization, the  
materialization of something in the event of a kind of  
Perhaps there is an image of the image, the image imaging.  
What could this mean? In this work I am as interested in  
recording as an occurrence, as a complication and fabrication  
of time, as much as in the image as an index, a moment,  
particular to recording. The moment of the image is not a  
prized moment but one of many moments that involve the  
surveying of a site, the site being an event, a photograph, the  
cinema, all the things mentioned above. It was this same  
procedural approach, this rules based approach, which in a  
sense moved me out of the picture, and allowed for the  
getting on of imaging for the work to become algorithmic and  
for me to proceed by way of approach and not result. 
The this, or thus ness of this work as photograph (which it  
really isn't, it's an image that reads backwards as a  
photograph or carries forward with the aura of the photograph  
and as such is given those attributes) is turned to imaging  
photography itself. It turns the occurrence of time to the  
occurrence of imaging. 
Marc Lafia 
New York, August 2002


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