Fifth International Conference on the Image, Berlin 29-30 October 2014

I’ve just applied to present a paper at this conference – the abstract is below:

Yet Still, it Moves: How Can Still Images Represent a Temporal World? 

This paper challenges the notion that photography can best fulfil Gunning’s ‘Truth claim’ when produced by instantaneous capture. In our temporal world, experiences are not constrained to single moments in time, ‘decisive’ or otherwise. Continually evolving, multiple perceptions form experiences, modify memories and inspire imagination.

Henri Bergson’s philosophy was grounded in the idea that thinking dominated by spatial metaphors is a category error, because temporality is crucial to our understanding of lived experience.

The paper critiques conventional architectural photography, a profession in which images attempt to arrest time at a building’s completion, portraying them as pristine, lifeless shells. I contrast this with my own practice: multiple digital images, reconstituted into single frames. Intended to inform both architectural design and research, this practice builds on the lived experience of architecture, expressed as an accumulation of encounters.

I argue that, contrary to established opinion, constructed images using digital technologies present a credible alternative, albeit a mediated one. This methodology elaborates on Bergson’s understanding of temporality and Deleuze’s concepts of experiential time. Lying on the indistinct boundary between still and moving images, my practice is informed by Kracauer’s ‘flow of life’,referring to cinema’s ability, over stills, to capture the essence of life.

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