For many things on the Web, a single “click” suffices to transform even the private sphere into a privacy-ferry. What emerge are serv(er)ed realities, realities enriched with the ‘data of others’ and restaged. The leaked image as a practice of appropriation, as a building block for constructed and consumable realities, is also the point of departure for a potential démontage through montage.
The pictorial support that is the living room once more serves as the exemplary framework for a simulation of the private within the public, as a cabinet of one’s own curiosities that sustains the virtual appropriation of real presences. Shifts of perspective and changes of context produce recompositions of proprietary spaces, transforming the private space as a stage into a ‘possible space of public interest.’ Multiple encodings on several levels and a variety of possible approaches enable nuanced readings—people once again go on a journey to see pictures.
“All interpretations are true—and no interpretation is final.” (Oscar Wilde)
The initial impression may be deceptive. It is not the total picture by itself as we grasp it immediately, but only the arrangement of ‘secondary plots,’ ‘marginal phenomena,’ etc., dissolving into sub-images and recognizable in parts as mise-en-scène, that allows for a different view of things. From this point on, the beholder determines the way he approaches something, the detail that is visible.
Today’s wealth of possibilities and forms of representation that ostensibly offer “visual support” create the danger that we lose sight of the image as such, that gaps are closed that should be the preserve of the beholder’s imagination.
“Isn’t a picture that isn’t sharp often just what we need?” (Wittgenstein)
New technologies of photographic recording produce high-resolution imagery—that doesn’t make the customary print formats any larger; the maximum size of a newspaper spread is in most cases still determined by the span of a pair of shirtsleeves.
But if we consider software such as ‘Google Earth’ or ‘Microsoft Maps,’ which handle high-resolution imagery and maps on the Web, opportunities emerge that invite us to experiment online with new formats of representation.
“Appearance and disunion are synonymous.” (Goethe)
Moments of ambivalence become apparent once we take a closer look at details—or conversely, depending on the point of departure, with sufficient distance—and perhaps the interpretation of insights and outlooks may be advantageous, too, as may be “losing oneself in the image.” In an expanded form, the selection of the distance from which we look may enable us e.g. to process information, to depict time, or to disrupt widespread habits of seeing by inserting levels of sharpness and its absence.
(c) Simon Bauer
Translation: Gerrit Jackson