The Shadow Machine: Photographic Practice as the Performance of Democratic Objects.
Rood, Stephen Hendrikus
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The aim of this project is to contribute to the realm of contemporary photographic practice by presenting an ontology that disputes both the image and the human as its central protagonists. Photography is almost by default regarded as the context of how humans experience photographic images with the majority of contemporary investigations into modes of photographic practice positioning the photographic image as central. This practice-led research project explores an approach that goes beyond post-digital and post-photographic areas of discussion. Photography is addressed here as a practice of materials, or as Patrick Maynard puts it, a “technological way of doing things” (2000, p. 7). This enables the objects of photography to be regarded through the lens of flat ontologies that disputes the prioritisation of conventional hierarchies. By de-emphasising its representational capabilities, and reconfiguring its objects, photography is proposed as a performance of objects. This research draws on an investigation into the theoretical realms of new materialism, speculative realism, non-representation and performativity to inform the generation of practical photographic artworks. These have in turn advised the theoretical investigation. Through the exploration of the possibility of an imageless photography, this project seeks to develop a notion of photographic practice. It offers an interpretation of photographic practice that reconfigures its objects to pose them as the sites of knowledges in motion.