Paris Photo 2019
7 - 10.Nov 2019
Exhibitions > Paris Photo 2019
The more we know, the more we know what we do not know. There is a profound wisdom in this contradictory sounding truth.
Our desire to know things is the insatiable urge that has and continues to drive our kind to its greatest heights and its darkest depths. As our knowledge of each other has grown we have also gained a larger understanding of just how large the world is in which we all live.
The news, a natural product of our need to prfioritize the granular aspects of our existence, has become a common base line of knowledge. As all things that develop out of a necessity, the news has become a tool kit for the movement of mass information be it true or false. Although chances are that it will be somewhere in between more often than at either extreme, at least for most of us who’s access to information is limited to that which has passed through the filters of national security and political correctness.
These well formulated truths serve to help us make sense of a world so much larger than the numbers any of us can actually digest.
7.7738.603.459 people populate the world as of 23:09 CET on October 21,2019. By comparison an 80 year life consists of 2.524.608.000 seconds.
Our ability to know the world is a fallacy that we tell ourselves in order to make the sheer scale of this life we live in seem somehow containable.
In an 80 year life a person could meet a maximum of 4.891.428 people if he/she/they start at 18 and did nothing but sleep and meet, spending 5 minutes per soul. I could also have a 10-minute conversation with every person living in Paris if I spent 62 years doing nothing else.
This is all absurd of course. The fact is that we do not want to meet every person. In fact, we prefer to keep our world controllable. We trust the well formulated truths that we consume based on our conviction, like those presented by Fox News and/or CNN. It makes the scale feel human. This is a fundamental survival tool that we are all born with. We forget the horrors of our youth and render that period of our lives in a warm nostalgic glow regardless of our understanding that children are monsters, and that we were all children.
The truth is by nature, never fully true. The parts we remember are particular to the meaning they have for us.
That is how memories becomes important. We remember the things through experience and repetition. The more often we are reminded of any given event or construct the deeper it will be engraved in our memory.
None the less it is important to understand that what we see is brought to our attention in part by the conviction of others. Indeed, this whole fair is filled with images that someone thought was important enough for you to see. The reasons for why the work is shown here will fade, what will remain is the impact the image leaves on you. This is where the curation of our personal experience begins, in the selection of what we remember.
The works I have chosen to show you here and now satiate a desire in me. This is a tribute to the news.
The reaper drone by Sean Hemmerle is an image of mechanical perfection. A machine capable of preservation or destruction of life as in a computer game. Echoing the vision of Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett as they wrote the ground breaking script for “Alien” in the late 1970’s, the physicality of this image reminds me of the Aliens head and the precision of their purpose. This is a personal association of course as all art must be.
Oliver Abraham’s portraits with their austerity confronted us with the still physiognomy of the individual sitters. Abraham has condensed a conversation with each of these individuals into the one resonating moment. It is a group of conversations that monument the profound impact of the people rendered.
Xu Yong shows us what an idea can become, even when the larger news narrative tried to remove the events from the history books. “Negatives” show people who are standing for what they believe in.
What you take with you depends on what you bring to the experience. News is as little true as it is false. In the end we decide what the truth is, both individually and as a society.