The power of image

by Wolfgang Hock

The main problem today seems to me in this context that the projected lens-based image of photography with its apparent three dimensions dominates absolutely our optical reality (24-hour TV, home video, giant photo-video-advertisement at skyscrapers, digital cinema, internet, glossy magazines etc.) and because of this people again – or still – get confused:

They confound it with reality, for them is that on their giant plasma screen more real than reality itself, they accept that way of seeing as real, but they don’t realize the medium exposing them to a daily brainwashing that their ‘image of reality’ is not any more their own.

Photography, video, film and television are regarded as real.

This is the problem because the world doesn’t look like a photograph, regardless of which photography we are talking about: analog or digital. Each time the respective media changes the image in different way (many people think that before they had been more beautiful, but this comes from the new digital photography which represents different).

The more giant the screen, the 3-D-effect, the definition of the image, the optical perfection, the more veracity and truth is supposed, the more people belief that this is reality itself what you can see there.

They are overrun literally by the permanent technical innovations without any chance to process them emotionally.

The fascination of the always newer and better drives on this confusion.

This all are automatic and unconscious processes not realized by the majority.

This has to do with influence, power, politics and control. The visual manipulation of mass has been always stronger than by other medium (the word e.g.).

This narrowing on one point of vision of things, I feel like very brutal and inhuman, like a prison.

Forcing awareness is worse than killing a human cruelly. The denying of your own way of seeing destroys the soul.(*)

Especially authoritarian systems know very well to use this for their aims.

The church had been using it more than one millennium very successfully (even though it talks always about the power of word …).

Even in the communist China at the time of Mao until today, the western lens-based image of photography is the dominant medium, not the highly sophisticated traditional Chinese painting without our vision with one vanishing point (the Mao-bible was known because of its red color, nobody really read it …).

But in our western culture of today happens this same way: in the commercial area optically perfect images serve as ‘proofs’ of its veracity and quality. Even in popular scientific area are used those methods.

As well our former president Lula in Brazil was very interested in the digital television (Japanese standard) for all Brazilians free of cost during his mandate to make happy really everybody, until the last territories of the Amazon region and the poorest areas of the favelas like e.g. the “Morro do Alemão” in Rio de Janeiro. The poor are simply more numerous than the rich…

That’s the reason why my last aspect of “transformation against the determined image logic of the lens image of photography” is especially important in my pictures, as well as to make aware the rendering of three dimensional reality in a medium of two dimensions, to unmask the confusion between medium and reality.

An old issue, but still explosive, especially now again in our digital age.

Innovative art is always there where you are not expecting it, there where nobody is thinking of it, nobody is calling its name. It hates being recognized and welcomed by its name. It immediately buzzes off. It is like a person who loves the incognito keenly. When discovered, when someone point a finger at it, it escapes. Because it doesn’t look like art, it deceives you. Many deceive themselves.(*)

It’s hard to swim against the current and nevertheless using the new technology.

The magnetization by the habits exerts a very high pressure. The established and accustomed templates are so prepossessing that’s hard to find someone resisting them. A certain “madness” is necessary.

New technology in arts as instrument of awareness, not of naïve admiration of technical perfection.

by Wolfgang Hock