Unstill Life paints a slice of life as an environmental subject, hinting at the looming climatic changes on a large scale. The landscape depicted could be anywhere from the Americas to Europe or Asia, and its density in detail thwarts the eerie absence of living inhabitants. The shock of the foreseeable catastrophe is suggested by the global flooding of the scene, and is accentuated by the jump cut to a serene and unharmed state of the world, as if climate change is just an imagination, a doomsday daydream to be ignored.
On a stylistic level, Unstill Life belongs to the post-photography movement, describing a deconstruction of high definition photo realism. By utilizing the means of simulated photography it constructs an entirely artificial slice-of-life world from geometries, textures and digitally modeled lighting algorithms. Instead of focusing on an synthetic style of computer generated imagery, the deconstruction creeps into the experience of the image by way of abstract camera moves similar to those of 3D editing motions. The notion of an omnipotent human editor culminates in shifts in the seemingly solid “built structures” and apparent “natural environment”.
Apart from its environmental content, the work stresses the end of the era of photography as a technique for validation and documentation of the physical world.
2014, 4k UHD, 1min Loop
with Marian Pramberger
The still photo with a common place topic comes to life as the camera moves freely in the subject but is at the same time what deconstructs the hyper photo realism: the camera movement renders the world weightless, when it moves around swiftly as if by the hands of an omnipotent editor. The catastrophic turn in the middle of the loop lingers in the clean and lifeless construction as a disturbing fragment without consequences.
One characteristic of synthetic photo realism is the independend point of view, as it is not bound to the physicality of a camera anymore. What point of view does the creator of the scene take if anything is possible? One possible answer is given here: all of them at once, which makes them horizontally organized, the hierarchy between them is erased. As a result the importance of the single shot shifts to the movement between the shots, and this effect is exploited aesthetically in this piece.
It is also a nod to contemporary ubiquity of digital photography that the single image or point-of-view loses its significance. The sequence of the shots becomes a mood board, a fleeting experience that is leaving a dense impression of the depicted loci in the viewers mind. What the single shot of the photographer was hiding in analog photography before, the imagination of the viewer was filling in. The photographer therefore was always working indirectly with the elements not depicted. In the case of the digital unstill life the emphasis rests on gathering an encyclopedic view of the place to explore the boundaries of it and expand a space of possibilities.
As the simulation techniques co-evolve with rich databases of objects, textures and motions, these artificial images will become an everyday commodity. The film work at hand can be understood as a precursor to real time experiences where soon the lines between imagination and observation are too blurred to be deciphered. Offering a playful approach to both the end of trust in the image as a document of reality, as well as the reevaluation of playfulness itself, together with escapism as a valid construction of personal freedom.
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