Caren Kaplan: Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above (2018)

16 January 2018, dusan

“From the first vistas provided by flight in balloons in the eighteenth century to the most recent sensing operations performed by military drones, the history of aerial imagery has marked the transformation of how people perceived their world, better understood their past, and imagined their future. In Aerial Aftermaths Caren Kaplan traces this cultural history, showing how aerial views operate as a form of world-making tied to the times and places of war. Kaplan’s investigation of the aerial arts of war—painting, photography, and digital imaging—range from England’s surveys of Scotland following the defeat of the 1746 Jacobite rebellion and early twentieth-century photographic mapping of Iraq to images taken in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Throughout, Kaplan foregrounds aerial imagery’s importance to modern visual culture and its ability to enforce colonial power, demonstrating both the destructive force and the potential for political connection that come with viewing from above.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, 2018
Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies series
ISBN 9780822370086, 0822370085
xiv+298 pages
via André

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Jorge Ribalta: Universal Archive: The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia (2008) [CA, ES, EN]

18 August 2016, dusan

“This guide has been published on the occasion of the exhibition Universal Archive. The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia (2008-09) that analyses the idea of a document in the history of photography on the basis of the study and staging of a number of debates about the genre during the 20th century. With the aim of assessing various hypotheses about the meanings and mechanisms of the documentary, it traces a historical itinerary that gets under way with the beginning of the hegemony of photography in the illustrated press in the first third of the 20th century, before arriving at the purported crisis of photographic realism in the digital era at the end of the century. For all that, the exhibition is not a history of the genre, nor does it exhaust its possible definitions, but instead attempts to study how the photographic document has been constituted — in a consistently ambivalent and polemical way — in certain historical contexts. ”

Publisher Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona, 2008
ISBN 9788489771703
99 pages
via MACBA

Exhibition reviews: Max Andrews (Frieze 2009), David Evans (Photography & Culture 2010), Art Tattler (n.d.).

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Arxiu universal (Catalan, 2008, PDFs)
Archivio universal (Spanish, 2008, PDFs)
Universal Archive (English, 2008, PDF, 3 MB)

Kaja Silverman: The Miracle of Analogy, or, The History of Photography, 1 (2015)

3 April 2016, dusan

The Miracle of Analogy is the first of a two-volume reconceptualization of photography. It argues that photography originates in what is seen, rather than in the human eye or the camera lens, and that it is the world’s primary way of revealing itself to us. Neither an index, representation, nor copy, as conventional studies would have it, the photographic image is an analogy. This principle obtains at every level of its being: a photograph analogizes its referent, the negative from which it is generated, every other print that is struck from that negative, and all of its digital “offspring.”

Photography is also unstoppably developmental, both at the level of the individual image and of medium. The photograph moves through time, in search of other “kin,” some of which may be visual, but others of which may be literary, architectural, philosophical, or literary. Finally, photography develops with us, and in response to us. It assumes historically legible forms, but when we divest them of their saving power, as we always seem to do, it goes elsewhere.

The present volume focuses on the nineteenth century and some of its contemporary progeny. It begins with the camera obscura, which morphed into chemical photography and lives on in digital form, and ends with Walter Benjamin. Key figures discussed along the way include Nicéphore Niépce, Louis Daguerre, William Fox-Talbot, Jeff Wall, and Joan Fontcuberta.”

Publisher Stanford University Press, 2015
ISBN 9780804794008
203 pages

Reviews: Todd Cronan (Nonsite 2014), Emily Una Weirich (ARLIS/NA 2015), Burke Hilsabeck (Critical Inquiry 2015).

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