black nigger

The Interpretation of Dreams (White Nigger), 2001. Photograph: Andres Serrano

“I said, I don’t know about a slave, but I’ll turn you black, and I’ll call the picture White Nigger”

on the dangers of self-expression

The interesting thing about our time is that however radical the message in your art, if you do your criticism through self-expression, you’re actually feeding the very power structure you’re trying to overthrow. The power structure you’re criticizing also believes in self-expression as the ultimate goal.

Capitalism is about self-expression; art is about self-expression. Art is far from being a radical outside movement. It’s at the heart of the modern conformity. That’s why nothing ever changes, because the radicals have gone to a form of expression at the very center of the power structure they disapprove of. So they’re neutered.
The idea of individual self-expression—whilst feeling limitless because the ideology of our age is individualism—looked at from another perspective is limiting because all you have is your own desires. There are other things that could free you from that. It’s a different kind of freedom.
A myth that tries to explain the things you don’t understand and gives you a sense of consolation beyond your own existence. I think that’s really good. We’re missing that. Take a mythical force like religion and talk about things like power that normal, boring, limited, rational technocratic journalism can’t. It dramatizes them beautifully.
Melodrama is the next thing. The heightened sense of things as a way of jumping out of this failed rational technocratic cage that we’re in where finance says you’ve got to do this, or austerity says you have to do that. It’s so limited. It’s so dull.
The trick has to be that it allows you still to feel you are an independent individual. The hyperindividualism of our age is not going to be going back into the bottle. You’ve got to square the circle. You’ve got to let people still feel they’re independent individuals, yet they are giving themselves up to something that is awesome, greater, and more powerful that carries them into the future beyond their own existence. That’s what people are yearning for.

against the grain

Experimental documentary photography was regarded as an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. Interestingly, documentary filmmaking had always preserved a much more vital and sovereign relation to the experimental.

the photographic world of 2016

“I am probably over simplifying many key elements in my rant. It is only that- a rant. I am sure that I am missing other quibbles to have about photography and since I am not being paid to write this drivel, I am simply going to let the problems carry on as this is the truth that I have experienced and there is little I can do about it just as there is nothing I can do about global warming, the world debt (to the Martians?) or any other of the many complexities of any of the other markets that drive photography’s and humanity’s potential into the ground. What I do purport to do is to get these little things off my chest and perhaps give some small insignificant insight into the market, the community and the potential that is missing for photography in a few key categories. I do not have answers and I do not really even care.”