What appear to be a sequence of old snapshots in faded colour have been framed and hung on the gallery wall. They look as if they had been dug from some forgotten trunk in a family home, yet they show only backgrounds—walls, garden lawns, a deserted tea-table, an empty pram. An artist, Stephen Murphy, produced these pictures by digitizing old snaps and replacing their figures with a plausible background sampled from the surrounding area. On close inspection, shapes slightly differing in tone trace the effaced subjects in outline; these photographs are both a glimpse of a future world depopulated by some catastrophe, and images of our passing and forgetting.
’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’
By the same author:
Memory and Icons
Fate of the photographic icon of war in the age of embedded journalism and the digital camera: why so few images of the conquest of Iraq are recollected, and so many of the fall of the Twin Towers pre-selected? The importance of counter-narratives for fixing meaning to shots of fighting or suffering, and the latent possibilities of the democratization of image-production today.
Radical Camouflage at Documenta 13
Dispatch from dOCUMENTA, the quinquennial art exhibition in Kassel, where a rhetoric of diversity and ‘anti-logocentrism’ serves as smokescreen for the contradictions and complicities of the art business.
A tonic for cyber-babble from the pages of Mute magazine, assessing the real impact of new technology on politics and cultural life. Can this valuable source of critique survive in a cold recessionary landscape?
The Hockney Industry
Bucolic themes blend with hi-tech commercialism, in the output of a British national treasure.
Museum Photography and Museum Prose
Julian Stallabrass surveys the work of Jeff Wall, its critical reception and incorporation into the circuits of institutional art. Mutual accommodations of museum and photographic medium, under the light-box’s commodiﬁed glow.
Spectacle and Terror
After Gopal Balakrishnan’s engagement with Afflicted Powers in NLR 36, Julian Stallabrass turns to the Retort collective’s conception of spectacle and its Islamist antagonists. Does a Debordian optic occlude the oppositional potential of modern technologies?
Julian Stallabrass on Sam Williams, Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman’s Crusade for Free Software. The iconoclastic hacker who is challenging Microsoft’s dominion, using ‘copyleft’ agreements to lock software source codes into public ownership. Cultural and political implications of treating programs like recipes.
Sebastiao Salgado and Fine Art Photojournalism
In and Out of Love with Damien Hirst
Empowering Technology: The Exploration of Cyberspace