in defense of the poor image

http://www.e-flux.com/journal/10/61362/in-defense-of-the-poor-image/

Carlos Saladén Vargas – Fish story (detail). 2016

“The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.

The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances, ranked and valued according to its resolution. The poor image has been uploaded, downloaded, shared, reformatted, and reedited. It transforms quality into accessibility, exhibition value into cult value, films into clips, contemplation into distraction. The image is liberated from the vaults of cinemas and archives and thrust into digital uncertainty, at the expense of its own substance. The poor image tends towards abstraction: it is a visual idea in its very becoming.

The poor image is an illicit fifth-generation bastard of an original image. Its genealogy is dubious. Its filenames are deliberately misspelled. It often defies patrimony, national culture, or indeed copyright. It is passed on as a lure, a decoy, an index, or as a reminder of its former visual self. It mocks the promises of digital technology. Not only is it often degraded to the point of being just a hurried blur, one even doubts whether it could be called an image at all. Only digital technology could produce such a dilapidated image in the first place.

Poor images are the contemporary Wretched of the Screen, the debris of audiovisual production, the trash that washes up on the digital economies’ shores. They testify to the violent dislocation, transferrals, and displacement of images—their acceleration and circulation within the vicious cycles of audiovisual capitalism. Poor images are dragged around the globe as commodities or their effigies, as gifts or as bounty. They spread pleasure or death threats, conspiracy theories or bootlegs, resistance or stultification. Poor images show the rare, the obvious, and the unbelievable—that is, if we can still manage to decipher it.”

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contemporary art is rubbish

http://www.theguardian.com/global/shortcuts/2015/oct/27/modern-art-is-rubbish-why-mistaking-artworks-for-trash-proves-their-worth

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Carlos Saladen Vargas – ‘news’ (2009)

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Carlos Saladen Vargas – ‘news’ (2009)

Carlos Saladen Vargas – ‘news’ (2009)

Carlos Saladen Vargas – ‘news’ (2009)

“But still, the cleaners keep chucking stuff away (cussed working-class critics of modern art who are the last bastions of criticism)”

The story behind a photograph by Carlos Saladen-Vargas

http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/the-story-behind-a-photograph-15

Carlos Saladen-Vargas, Fantasma, 2010

Carlos Saladen-Vargas, Fantasma, 2010

“Back in 2010 we were staying in Choroni, a beautiful town in the coast of Venezuela, it was around 8pm and we were getting ready to go out for dinner, I was laying on the bed, chilling, had my Hasselblad on my hands and there was some random commercial playing on the tv. I noticed the lighting and contrast between the lamp and the tv and decided to take one photo, just for the sake of it, you know, another wasted frame, who cares… As soon as I pressed the shutter I had a very weird feeling, a bit scary, I though I have seen something like a face or a ghost on the television, it was so fast that I was not sure I have seen it or it was just my mind playing games… Anyway I waited (even forgot about it) for the processing of the film, a few months later, I was surprised when I saw the negative. So what if someone asks me if I believe in ghosts? Or what about photography’s ability to capture the supernatural? Well, not easy to answer anymore…”