Tuesday, March 18, 2014

hito steyerl

After reading Steyerl’s essay regarding poor image, I would argue that 99% of the images that we look at are, to some degree, similar in nature to the image that she is describing. I would continue to argue that photographs are the poorest of all images. Probably the most widely distributed as well… and positively the most excessive. What constitutes a real image, in that case? I agree with Hito in her argument that once an image is put on the Internet it then belongs to the world, in a sense, and is at complete mercy of its compression, reproduction, and distribution. The image becomes debris, more or less. What we’ve begun to see, however, is the acceptance of this result, the exaggeration of this sacrifice. It’s the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach to the risky business that is cyberspace. The submission to this method of distribution doesn’t necessarily jeopardize the original, per say, but instead creates a parallel, a conversation about accessibility and transparency. The privilege of making images with “art status” inherently creates a harsh separation between author and audience. Poor images give the audience agency over the production. In this way, the need for the poor image allows for a participatory pool of creativity amongst those that would otherwise not consider their input valid. The deliberate creation of hierarchies that occur as a result of the insistence of optimal image quality is built upon the idea that an authors’ work will not hold up unless it is elevated into isolation. But what good does it do in that space? It is my belief that art should never be sacred. Art should be as widely spread as possible. Reserving it for reasons such as purity or preciousness only perpetuates its commodity status. After all, art serves little to no purpose. Why isolate it?