Morpheus, the god of dreams in Ovid's epic account of Greek mythology, seems an appropriate guiding spirit for this issue of Aperture, likewise entitled "Metamorphoses." For it is out of a kind of dream that we awaken today into a world of digital, or electronic, imaging; "virtual reality" (a distinctly late-twentieth-century oxymoron); Photo CD; and a variety of related technological developments in communications and the arts.
Photography emerged in a century during which history and temporality collided in the realm of representation. The transformation of experience through the nineteenth century was increasingly one of time and contingency; the maturation of modernity fragmented long-comforting narratives of nature and culture.
BY APPROPRIATING IMAGERY FROM PHOTOGRAPHS (PRIMARILY OLD PRINTS FOUND IN JUNK SHOPS, FLEA MARKETS, AND garbage bins) and combining these images in the computer, I create a kind of visual photomontage. The computer's ability to overlay images, combined with the historical verisimilitude of the photographs, gives the resulting works the aura of relics.
"Photographic reality" is an expression that has defined our notion of visual truth for the past 150 years. Pedro Meyer's new digital photographs call into question this long-lived concept. His wry images challenge the essential truths and myths surrounding the documentary aesthetic.
Graham Nash is a man of many interests. He is probably best known as the soft, dreamy voice in the rock group Crosby, Stills and Nash. His previous band, the Hollies, rattled off a string of hits in the 1960s with a decidedly English feel, different from CSN's down-home, radical American hippie sound.
In 1839, faced with the invention of photography, Paul Delaroche is supposed to have declared, "From today, painting is dead!" A little over 150 years later everyone seems to be talking about the death of photography. This outburst of morbidity appears to stem from two related anxieties.
IT IS THE UNSEEN, INTERIOR STRUCTURES OF NATURE AND THOUGHT THAT INTEREST ME: THE BORDER BETWEEN PHYSICAL, OBJECTIVE SPACE AND INCORPOREAL, SUBJECTIVE SPACE. My work is concerned with issues of restructured reality as evidenced in encrypted messages of presence, absence, and transformation.
Museums are repositories for evidence: evidence that events have occurred, phenomena have been noted, human expression persists. Museums remind us that we are not and have not been alone. But many cultures exist without museums. In cultures such as the Balinese, evidence is stored in the collective memory and preserved by being spoken.
VIRTUAL REALITY CHECK: AN E-MAIL INTERVIEW WITH BRENDA LAUREL
The following interview with Brenda Laurel took place via electronic mail over the course of four weeks at the beginning of 1994. The coding before the first question and response is standard transmittal information for messages sent over the Internet, the world's largest information network.
A DEFINING REALITY: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF NANCY BURSON
Elevator doors part onto main exhibition space of the Jayne H. Baum gallery. The scene resembles a children's birthday party more than a sedate SoHo opening, despite a sizable representation of black-clad adults. Kids tear around trailing silver balloons on strings.
Aperture # 133, "On Location," elicited unusually strong response—| most enthusiastic, some critical—from subscribers and members of the photographic community. Although we do not ordinarily run a Letters to the Editor column, we felt that one letter in particular, from the photographer Robert Adams, demanded publication.
GEOFFREY BATCHEN, an Australian cultural critic, currently teaches in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego. NANCY BURSON's photographs have been seen in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Omni, and American Photographer.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs were digitally created, altered, or enhanced, and are copyright by, and courtesy of, the artists. Sizes refer to exhibition format with height listed first. Front cover: computer photomontage by Shelly J. Smith, output as a 30 x 40" Iris ink-jet print on cotton rag paper or cotton canvas;
There are many people who helped make "Metamorphoses: Photography in the Electronic Age" possible. Charles Traub, at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, was especially helpful at the outset of this project, and put us in touch with a number of talented younger artists working in digital media.