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The fascination with uncertainty

posted by Matsuo, on 02/06/2009


Singular images never really attracted me. What am I interested in are images that come in a set or a series, images which are embedded with a system of provenance.


Unlike singular images, images in an archive are empowered with provenance. Unlike objects or images of a single snapshot without a continuum, these archive photographs constitute an event, like film stills splattered across a page. On the contrary, a displaced singular image (one without context) just demonstrates the fundamental incompleteness and uncertainty of the photographic image.


When an image is part of a group of images, it becomes embedded in a web of provenance in the archive. It has relationships to other images, which could be in the form of parallels, echoes, contradictions and reinforcements. In this way, a set of images, when seen together, create their own coherence, consistency and correspondence.


In archivist school, I was taught that provenance can be a useful tool to counter the uncertainty of photographs.


I have been gathering a great amount of archival materials since 2007 which in themselves and the process of collecting become a subject of this project. To amass this archive is a leap of faith that somebody will find all these useful one day, and that the documents will speak for themselves.


They are both a paradox and a solution, problematic and full of solutions, probing questions and carry uncertain consequences. This act of taking apart and rebuilding is more a trial in exposing some of the factors, processes and motivations of an archive, it is an attempt to articulate the conditions that exist for a document’s individual life, and the forces that confront its perceived reality.


Copyright 2010, Institute of Critical Zoologists