Becoming a Text

The PhotoPerformer is the name I give to my alter ego, a photographer (myself) ‘performing’ the Act of photography in front of another camera. For Vilém Flusser the Act of photography is an act of philosophy: “by photographing we are not changing the world we are living in but we are changing the way we perceive it and as a consequence we are altering our behaviours”.

By considering the modern split between subject and object as artificial and untenable, Latour argues that a subject unaffected by objects has never existed; rather, subject and object both form symmetrical associations at the level of action. In such a network, he argues, things are as much determined by human actions as the latter are influenced by material preconditions. By taking on capacities for action and so mutating into what are known as “actants”, objects intervene in human activities.

Photographs are actants par excellence, active objects with the power to inform and provoke forms of behaviour.

The photographs (actants) created by The PhotoPerformer intend to expose the consumption of Photography, the poetry of its repetition, the disconnection with nature, the absurdity of our imagination, the destruction inherent in creativity, to provoke a reaction (and would hopefully continue to do so in the future).

The actions of The PhotoPerformer are controlled by Photography and the freedom of his action is determined by the camera-object. Such limited freedom mirrors a capitalist economy, controlled by fake need and imposed desire, which the proposed project sick to expose and problematize. For the purpose of this research, the desires of The PhotoPerformer are controlled, at the same, by the equipment developed to implement his knowledge (photographic technology) and my desire to free myself from Photography.

Vilem Flusser has identified the power of possession of the camera with the power of its program. The PhotoPerformer task is not to add photographs that fit a prescribed program, but rather to disturb the program and propose alternative images.