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Photography, Magic and Reality
International photography exhibition
Curators (Membrana): Jasna Jernejšek, Jan Babnik
Artists: Marion Balac (France), Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger (Switzerland), Miha Godec & Valerie Wolf Gang (Slovenia), Simon Menner (Germany), Špela Škulj (Slovenia)
Since the invention of photography, our relationship with the medium – the image-taking social apparatus and photographs as objects – has always been invested with a set of beliefs in the potent, almost magical power of photography.
From the early belief in the power of photography to ‘steal souls’ to the present-day belief in its power to ‘steal data’, our understanding of the origin of the medium’s special power has changed and evolved – from being anchored in the perception of photography as a magical emanation of reality to currently stemming from its embeddedness in data systems (and its power of manipulation) within the omnipresent apparatus of social surveillance.
In practices as diverse as photojournalism and spiritualism, photography has been invested with the notion that it can reveal more than the human eye, piercing the reality and turning unseen into seen, absent into present, distant into close, transgressing both the limitations of human perception and physical limitations of space and time. That is builds illusory and fantastical landscapes, whilst dispelling illusory perceptions of the world. Photography has created a new – expressly photographic – dimension of seeing and has never ceased to excite our explorative spirit in probing into the unknown, invisible, incomprehensible, exaggerated, enchanted – i.e. the world of magic.
This special power of photography has persisted to this very day, with the difference that the onetime ‘analogue’ magic has been replaced by a new, much more elusive, uncontrollable and inscrutable magic of algorithmic equations, machine vision, virtual and enhanced realities – the magic of our dystopic future. Photography has never been denied its original mystical aspects – and thus continues to be one of the most magical modern-day technologies.
In cooperation with Membrana Institute and Fotografija magazine
V sodelovanju z Zavodom Membrana in revijo Fotografija