The return to the past--to a historical artistic culture of the 20th century -- is a precarious one: in seeking stimulation from the past we are in danger of being overwhelmed
by it, and that we become epigones—a copy
or a replica---and caught up in nostalgia. We can also make creative use of history by fashioning new metaphors/images to fashion a provisional visual vocabulary for the present.
What immediately stands out in looking back on this journey into a photographic/visual culture is how the digital disruption has changed the way we look at images. They have become disposable, easy to make, and there has been an explosion of images on the internet. With the digital camera photography has been thrust into our visual culture at an impossible to keep up with. Though film based or analogue photography--- in its different forms-- belongs to a different era it survives as a niche practice and a form of resistance to a mass digital culture.
What then stands out is the way that artists are reprogramming existing work, inhabiting historical styles, making use of images, using society as a catalog of forms and investing in fashion and media. These practices have in common the recourse to already produced forms. They testify to a willingness to inscribe the work of art within a network of signs and significations, instead of considering it an autonomous or original form. The already existing materials is the data to build their practice on and so we have a new culture of reusing the existing.
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