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One cannot keep Benjamin out of this. Groys reminds us that when we move the digital image from its original status of non-image to its status as visualized image, we engage in a "massive loss of aura" in the Benjaminian sense. This is because Benjamin maintained that nothing has more aura than the invisible. Groys explains that "in the world of digital images, we are only dealing with originals." Each visualization of the image file has its own story, perils, and site-specific contexts and abnormalities. This then leads to the near requirement that the curator bring it back into musealized space. When we exhibit these, we reverse the copying: it transforms a copy back into a performed original. And it is here, where, Groys says, we can contemplate both the superstructure that is at work on the image, but also its material base—the hardware/ software used to perform the image data.

 

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AuthorMike Pepi

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One of the most urgent topics Groys handles in Art Power (2008) is the aesthetics of digitalization. While once an escape from the museum, the digital image is now part of the museum system - a new confinement. Yet digital images are a new kind of "strong" image because they can be shown without institutional context, according to their own nature. The original data of the image are invisible. Therefore each time we see the image it is being "performed." Further "the digital image is a copy--but the event of its visualization is an original event, because" Groys states, "the digital copy is a copy that has no visible original." Here again, the curator rises to a point of great historical importance, for "the curator does not simply show an image that was originally there but not seen..." but in fact, going further, the curator "turns the invisible into the visible." Groys states that the digital image turns the curator "not into the exhibitor but the performer of the image."

 

Posted
AuthorMike Pepi

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Groys makes several excellent points in Art Power (2008). The first is that, contrary to the avant-garde’s proud history of museum bashing, the museum is a critical part of our conception of reality, and not, as we often think, the opposite of “real life.” The desire for artists to break out of its confines is actually a move that enters them into the global mass image market. This destroys the art subject and weakens the artist's historical position. Second, the museological tactics of art history do to the modern art object (i.e. the readymade, installation, art documentation) what Kierkegaard describes as the “difference beyond difference,” which is like the “non-difference” achieved between Christ and his appearance as a man.  More on this soon. 

 

 

Posted
AuthorMike Pepi