Still-Life, Still Conscious, Still

2010/08/04 § Leave a comment

The nineteenth-century art critic Théophile Thoré objected to the French term for still life, nature morte, proclaiming, “Everything is alive and moves, everything breathes in and exhales, everything is in a constant state of metamorphosis… There is no dead nature!” The Czech photographer Josef Sudek tersely echoed this thought when he said that to the photographer’s eye, “a seemingly dead object comes to life through light or by its surroundings.” via Threepenny: Smith, Still-Life Photographs.

Still-life could be said to be a lazy format, as it’s subject matter is already close to the creative mechanism of it’s capture; a sort of freeze-drying the music of the soul. It has always intrigued me, as I shake my head, ‘So, why bother?’

But now I view it as a staring outwards from the self but without reflection, without a mirror, and without introspection. More as a wide-spectrum apperception. A notice or consciousness without the buzz of self(-reference); a non recursive moment of attention when words fail our intentions, a nod to the end of a story and the return to camp with a basket of fruit, or a brace of game.

The little essay quoted above, the spur for this post, explores another area why. No they are not dead, but very, very still, smelling a little funny perhaps.

trash log 1095

Another area it’s importance lies is in documentation. (The documentary moment, the turn to list and archive.) Trashlog has been going for many years now and it’s always has been one of my favourites, and is a project close to one I’ve had for nearly twenty years, and which, I hope is now finished. It will draw together these three areas that the frame of the still moment explores that the intention of self can use to document a case (Fall oder Einfall).

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