torsdag, februar 24, 2011
onsdag, desember 08, 2010
Denne gangen er kjernekraftverket i Barsebäck utgangspunktet. Dette er i seg selv uvant i McAlindens produksjon, for illusjonen ligger ikke lenger bare i en iscenesettelse av et motiv, men bildene leker med det dokumentariske og iscenesetter seg selv som dokumenter fra et spesifikt sted. Det som videre gjør illusjonen sterkere, er de to andre elementene i utstillingen ved siden av McAlindens tre store fotografier; en tretrinns industritrapp, og et relieff i rustfritt stål. Relieffet fra 1969 er laget av Ivo Kosek og er en utsmykking laget til kjernekraftverket og utlånt til denne utstillingen. Det særegne ved valg av verk og objekter gjør at jeg leser utstillingen som en helhetlig installasjon; The total McAlinden show. Utstillingsrommet blir en narrativ vandring i det Barsebäck kunstneren velger å vise oss. I det du kommer inn døren, følger motivenes perspektiver bevegelsene dine til du ender opp ved den lille industritrappen. Og fra toppen av trappen ser du ned i brenselcellebassenget i stedet for å stå i gallerirommet og se inn i et bilde. Illusjonen gjøres nesten total, og du blir stående igjen i et mentalt vakuum hvor illusjonen bekrefter seg selv. Du vet du blir lurt, men lar deg likevel lure. Samtidig som du er usikker på balansen. Det er ingen rekkverk å holde seg i, og selv om det ikke er langt ned til gulvet er det uhorvelig langt ned til bunnen av bassenget.
Det dokumentariske aspektet understrekes videre i titlene McAlinden gir bildene sine. De er steds- og funksjonsbeskrivelser av det som er avbildet. Dette føyer bildene inn i den tyske deskriptive tradisjonen etter Bernd og Hilla Becher. En tradisjon som i perioder de siste 20 årene har vært synonymt med fotobasert kunst. Det kan virke som et noe sent tidspunkt i en karriere å tre inn i denne tradisjonen, og om bildene skal leve alene etter utstillingen vil de tvinges inn i denne tradisjonen. Da vil også grunnlaget for at nettopp Barsebäck ble valgt som motiv viktig, og de hintene som gis i galleriteksten om at dette kjernekraftverket var sentralt i post Tsjernobyl-debatten i 1980- og -90-årene, bli mer som nostalgiske minner å regne enn potente innlegg i en realpolitiske debatt.
Denne kritikken hører til i Billedkunst nr. 7 2010 (Se lenke over.)
tirsdag, desember 07, 2010
mandag, desember 06, 2010
tirsdag, november 30, 2010
lørdag, januar 17, 2009
The Face of Coffe
Jean Paul Sartre in Nausea
Dreaming of coffee
This photograph1 is an advertisement for Nespresso coffee makers that I found in Time magazine published 18th of December 2006. Thus being an advertisement for a product in current circulation of the time I’m writing the analysis. This will certainly lead me to find other connotations than if it was an advert belonging to times passed. Because I’m living at present with the ad, and I’m an occasional Time Magazine reader, thus potentially in the target group of the advertisers, and I’m also a coffee drinker. The table is set for ingestion of influence, and discovery of recipes.
The image contains three main elements; a machine, text and a man. In addition to this the colour black is prominently present, covering more than fifty percent of the image surface, making the objects depicted appear as coming out of the dead silent night, as fluent images in a dream. To invoke dream like imagery in an advertisement makes perfect sense if we are to take in to account Freud’s statement that dreams are basically wish fulfilments.2 A crucial difference between the dream and the advert is that the dream in sleep constitutes itself internally and the advert-dream is constituted externally, thus observed/fed to us while awake. Thus to fulfil the dream presented in the advert one needs to experience the product, and this means, in most cases, to buy the product.
Going back to the Nespresso. “Let us try to ‘skim of’ the different messages it contains.”3 The machine looks like something taken out of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a space Odyssey. As a matter of fact the name of the machine printed on its lower left front side is le Cube, phonetically quite similar to the film director’s surname. In the mid section of this movie we are present in, or it is presented to us that in a near future man have peaked to a state close to perfect symbiosis with his technological surroundings. Surroundings being as beautifully designed as they are technically advanced. Nothing is left of the steam machine aesthetics of welded joints and large bolts. Everything is smooth, cool and in harmony. With its brushed aluminium and polished steel surface, and what seems to be a small elevator, on which is placed a small translucent coffee cup, filled with freshly brewed espresso, the Nespresso machine gives this same aura of beauty, elegance and high technology as that of Kubrick’s visual future to come. I’m almost inclined to believe that by placing one of these machines in my surroundings I can come one step closer to experiencing the future to come, in body and soul. The ad reminds us of this with the small printed text in the bottom right corner of the image, ‘Nespresso® Coffee, body and soul.’ This text puzzles me. Nespresso is self evident since it is the name of the product. It informs me that this is the name to look for if I want to enact the ‘dream’. Coffee has also got is rightful place since it is coffee drinks that is the product of this machine. If we go on to look at the next photograph present in the image we might find the justification for body, or at least body-parts. But what about soul?
Over the photograph of the machine body parts of a man emerges from the black. Only intersected by a rhetorical question, presumably asked by the person who the body-parts belong to; ‘Nespresso. What else?’ In fact the question is put forward by a recognisable man. The two hands and the head presented, belongs to the rather famous and respected Hollywood actor George Clooney. He is holding a similar cup, also filled with coffee, like the one on the elevator, establishing the link that it is coffee from that very machine he is about to pour into his body, subsequently invigorating his soul? However farfetched I’ve arrived at a justification for soul as well.
I’ve already cited Barthes once from his essay ‘The Rhetoric of the image’4, and it strikes me that it might be in its place to do so again. Even though he spoke of the French language when he found a flavour of ‘Italianicity’5 in both the product name and the colours of his Panzani ad, I find such an ‘Italianicity’ in my current ad of choice. Espresso, probably a national drink in Italy, is incorporated in the product name. The suit jacket Clooney is wearing might as well be of Italian design. Luxury fabrics and tailor fitted suits go easy with the popular impression of Italy, so doe’s the sophisticated design of the coffee machine, all smelling of catwalks and high fashion, very common connotations of Italy and Italian.
Since we are looking at photographs we might as well comment upon qualities belonging to the technical sphere of photography. First of all the lighting is a great meaning bearer in the two photographs making up the whole. A warm light, yellow coloured, falls slightly from the back, on to Clooney’s left side, suggesting an intimate sphere between Clooney and the coffee cup. He is clearly enjoying the smell and taste of it. The warm light also enhances the suit jacket, and the luxury of the garment it is made of. The other light, falling inn on his face from his right front side is cooler in colour, has the purpose of describing his trustful and charming look. The cooler light also distances the viewer from Clooney; he is more intimate with the coffee than with us, thus securing the possibility of putting of the potential male buyer who might not want a particular intimate relation with him.
The same warm light is not used on the machine, the warmth belongs to the human and the latter’s relation to the (hot) coffee. Highlighting that it is coffee we are essentially talking about. The machine is only a step on the way of reaching that soulful state, but while you wait for your coffee you can enjoy the implied soulful design of the machine, neatly presented in the cooler descriptive light.
The advert builds its reasoning upon style, in design, luxury and sophistication, and the recognition of its product by a celebrity. Let us just hope Clooney won’t emerge out of the black surface of my coffee next time I take a sip, as he emerges in the photograph, and I can do nothing else than to wait and see if he turns up in my dreams.
1 See picture
2 Sigmund Freud ‘The Dream Work’ in The Interpretation of Dreams (Hertfordshire,1997) p 213
3 Roland Barthes, ’The Rhetoric of the image’, in Image Music Text (London, 1977) p 33
4 See note 7
5 Roland Barthes, ’The Rhetoric of the image’, p 33
søndag, desember 14, 2008
lørdag, desember 13, 2008
I've been updating, and deleting on this blog. I've removed stuff that to me seems sort of unfitting here; in retrospect. That is also admitting that ones judgement evolves, or maybe it only changes according to fashion, or the social circles one currently is part of. In time I'll be transelating all posts from norwegian to english; or rather reinterpreting. What once was writen is now understood i a new way, and put forward in new words and in another language.
Please take time to revisit older posts, and comment if you feel like it.
(The image in this post is part of the unpublished book "The Lowly Duet". A romantic yet post-modern look at an alienated view on nature and landscape.)
fredag, desember 05, 2008
Just honest or pure speculation?
The holy-days approaching further underlines the religiosity in this campaign. So what is happening here? Have the merchant society tuned to religion to help them out of the current financial crisis? Or should it be understood in the way that the consumer is god in the church of shopping so now in the greatest of needs the merchants turn to prayer?
An extremely sad fact is that even our financial minister Kristin Halvorsen's (from the Socialist Left party) answer in these crazed times is; keep on shoping! The religious believe in the market as self contained power is spreading all over. Human beings are the ones trading, the market is a human construction. So humans need to regulate it. It is beter that we do it our selves, than leaving it to the priests of economic theory, and comercial companies. Let Oslo City burn in depresion hell, let them keep praying. One can see this latest campaign of theirs as the most honest confirmation yet of the consumer as boss aka god. If we don't shop; they'll drop.
lørdag, mai 24, 2008
fredag, mai 23, 2008
lørdag, oktober 13, 2007
mandag, august 13, 2007
I have been living in London without stable conection to the nett for about a year, and will continue to do this for about a yer, but will come back strong in the near future on the quest for strong blogging.
The featured image is the one for my graduation exhibition in September. The series is called White out. I'm trying to subvert the message in outdor advertising and create a space for personal dreams and contemplation. A space that inspires a walk away from the prefabricated set of material and highly utopian dreams prodused by our consumption based way of living.
fredag, desember 01, 2006
There are some really weird constellations of personalities at the Madam Toussaud's wax museum: Superman, Indiana Jones and a retired James Bond. All of them male fantasy figures. Both figures of fantasy and figures for the male aspiration, or subject for the day dream. So they all come from the same place, but the thing is you’ve never seen them together. Whit so many things in common, one should think that they would have something to chat about?