The Tourist #8


“Photography anthropomorphises others as – ‘pre-modern, exotic, sexual and available for visual consumption.”


Staging the exotic and the sexual?

Which sexual?

Was it not always entirely clear that the 2.4 children was a sort of boring joke of which the participants were the punchline?

Does the anthropologist not participate in rituals at all?

Are there not far stranger things in your own culture? Does everyone not understand their own culture to be alien and strange and constructed? Delivering us our desire and doxa, our intuition and illnesses.

Everyone around you behaves differently all the time, what is different about another culture is only the pretend parts which “socialise” us, those parts which were always already going to be ridiculous and performative and contrived.

Turn your gun on yourself.

I will turn my gun on myself. I will go abroad and be a tourist. When I go abroad I don’t feel any less at home than I do here. I feel like I am there, like when I am here I feel that I am there.

Oisin Keohane brought up De Bottoms one, ever, interesting point which is about travel, that when you get there you are still there. The interesting thing, I thought, which Oisin seemed not to like or get or agree with or something, was that I liked this sentiment too, and remembered precisely this part, too, because I always thought the next step was so obvious and clear and I wondered why he didn’t make it -

When you go on holiday you still aren’t there.

I take pictures because I struggle not to feel powerful or at home or in control but because in doing so, in making something, there is a self of sorts in the things. In the patterns of things there might be a shadow which looks like me. I don’t know, though.

When I show my photos to other people they find the pictures look alien, which is to say not like photos they would take, or particularly like to look at, I suppose. I suppose I understand it, I find it quite alien, here. There. I like the immanent beauty of the alien ordinary.

I would like to communicate those things, that alienating ordinariness, the vertigo of ordinary beauty. I remember also, in a talk, with Robin Gillanders I think, that I was talking about the idea not of the extraordinary in the ordinary as photography seems always to pretend to be about, but rather precisely the ordinary in the ordinary. That is, really, what I am interested in. Normal. Neon grey. The most beautiful colour.

I would like to take pictures of things that communicate far beyond language and analysis and critique. It is not that critique isn’t occasionally interesting, and it isn’t that analysis isn’t important, it is rather that they have limits. If I wanted to analyse or criticise I would play there. I don’t. God doesn’t write or participate in readable sign systems. Abraham told a fib and look where the fuck it got us.

Are pictures not more akin to numbers? Cifra.

Enormously complex patterns which evade deciphering. One could make a list of them, write down the values of them, but one couldn’t keep the whole list of numbers in ones head, and even if one could one could not speak it, couldn’t feel it emerging from your body as words do in your voice. If you told me all of the numbers from which the picture was composed you would be mad, you would seem mad, you would be like a clock or a machine or a computer or a child saying “Do it again”. You would be like nature, inhuman.

Numbers are eternally immanent. As soon as they become prosaic they are not as they were, they are not so, Es ist nicht so.

Paint is there, too. Paint is there because you still talk to me. Nature seems lonely so you talk, I am nature. I think you talk to me because I am lonely. I seem to you to ask to be loved, you think I am stupid nature pleading with you just to be loved, you think even though I do not speak that I am asking, silently, to become human, so I paint on the photographs. It is silent also, it doesn’t make all those vulgar sounds that paint sometimes makes. Prayers are silent.