the limit of the limitless
January 6th 2017
This editorial is written in January to be online in February.
Can I write for the future? How long is the storage time of thoughts?
Before starting writing today I read the lyrics of a song by False Prophets. I started to listen again to records I own. This one is from 1990. Compared to today’s music it is a different expression, a different style of music but it still rings a bell. I still support what this music is standing for.
I follow my memory, remember the concerts, the friends, political activities, punk, the beginning appearance of neonazis in united Germany. Uprising racism as an issue. Aggression against people that seem to be different instead of approaching “the other” with curiosity. People closing their mind, instead of supporting learning through exchange and discussion.
The limit of the limitless
I come (humbly curiously)
into your land, into your heart
with fresh eyes willing to see
but be not be deceived
may I stand beside
beside the work you have done
commit my own seeds into your soil
our soil our toil, our soil our toil
(sewn together with gut fiber) False Prophets 1990
This record is a piece of artwork shared with all the people who bought it. At the same time it is for me a document of a time, of an attitude to life. It is reminding me people, places, good and bad experiences. I can listen to it and follow my memory. I can listen to it following the lyrics, I can listen to it and dance along….
I compare this to the use of documents: Once they exist it is a question if they are used and what they are used for. I could even separate the record from its function to conserve and play music and use it as an object, black, round with a whole in the middle.
The computer - or better a website that I opened on my computer asked me if I am a real person, a human… Aren’t robots yet capable to read these funny images? “Captchas «completely automated public turing test to tell computers and humans apart»”. It takes me only one minute to know: Yes there are several software to read captchas. So this is no longer a method to distinguish me and a computer. The need to recognize robots regains urgency since possible manipulation on elections - as a vision or actually taking place - is discussed worldwide.
Like objects and documents, technology can be used in any direction. The important task for us is to give it a thought, to keep on making our own decision, to look at the possible material we can access, make up our mind and act consciously.
Photo by Andrea Keiz
John Berger died the 2nd of January at the age of 90. I watched a documentary on him shown on arte - a French German TV program with an online mediathek. The documentary was watched 18,430 times in 10 days. It is dubbed in German. The original is a BBC production from 2016. You can find it on youtube. Not dubbed…
John Berger - the art of looking
Berger was already 89 years old in 2016 - I am impressed watching him talk and think and look.
Inspired by this, I watched the series of the original BBC programs, broadcasted in 1972. The first one that I saw has been watched 645,211 times since it was published on the 08.10.2012.
John Berger / Ways of Seeing , Episode 1
I made some notes watching this - partly because he is sharing thoughts, that I state myself while teaching as a consequence of working in a critical manner with image production, some because I find them politically very important in any context you live and work.
“A large part of seeing depends on habit and convention.”
This is not good or bad. We should just be conscious about. That is why I think experiments in the field of visual representation and documentation are so important. We have to follow the path of reproducing what we know in order to step into an unknown place and create something new and surprising.
In the documentary he is telling a dream: He dreamt about a secret to get inside whatever he was looking at. He lost the secret in his dream, but I think in his live he got very close to an understanding of what he was looking at. Drawing for example in order to see better and understand. Discussing pictures. Being aware of the perspective that we have - a perspective given by our eyes when we walk through the world. He is pointing out the change that the camera brings. A technical tool offers us a predetermined perspective, as well as it bring sights to us that are far away.
“What are you doing to understand what you look at?”
Documents that are not initially addressed to us - how do we read them? How do others read them? What are documents used for? The definition and determination of a document might change a lot according to the interest of the reader/user.
The same document can be used in the interest of those in power either politically or economically, as well as by everybody who has a non-profit or revolutionary utopia. Pretty often documents allow an interpretation in a broad sense. As I refer now to John Berger in this text according to my interest, connected to my understanding of the world and to my political interest, someone else might quote very different parts.
Although I think the main message of Berger is clear enough to prevent misinterpretation.
But again - this is my opinion. There is a necessity to discuss - to speak in person, to find a dialogue about our interests and believes. It is a responsibility and a gift at the same time: that we can gather information, think independent and train and develop our opinion in discussion with peers. We should do so face to face and we can use the platform of idocde.net to broaden discussions and get in contact with other artists and collegues.
“[...] you receive images and meanings which are arranged.
I hope you will consider what I arrange - but be sceptical of it.”
all quotes by John Berger
Andrea Keiz, January 2017