AUTHOR: IVO MARTINS
EDITION: (Catalogue) Centro Cultural Vila Flor DATE: April 2016
THE ART OF DECEIVING THE MACHINE
Interestingly, in a book on music we find several sentences that describe the photographs on display, “There are
dancing rhythms, quirky changes of tempo, alarms and noises, colours, fleeting moments, albeit firmer in reality,
patterns of defective machines emerge, of a fantastic strangeness...” The excerpt suggests the relationship
between sound, word and image. For many people the interaction between these three elements forms a natural
whole. This means that it’s now difficult to see an image without a text; read a text without sound or listen to a
sound without it being accompanied by an image.Nothing exists in a pure state...
In today’s world, in which we are saturated with images, we no longer have the virtuosity of classical
photography, from the period when man was closer to Nature. The distancing that has occurred propels the
imagination towards a present/future, a technologically evolved society, sustained by a post-biological culture
where everything is communicated via the image. This advanced world unleashes a new concern: the hypothesis
that, in a techno-apocalyptic revolt, the cyber systems might boycott their own functioning, thereby creating the
need for an existential retreat, where everything goes back to being mechanical or analogue. In the case of
photography this would represent an evolt of the machine through the purity of the image, i.e., an image stripped
This would fulfil the old utopian dream of returning to the primordial paradise of ideas, devoid of the power to
manipulate. It would fulfil the imperative to reinvent the romantic photograph; the photographer would be
responsible for reproducing reality, liberated from the programme of the photographic camera; a process that
would condense the simple formula of summarising his art: the talent of deceiving the machine.
Assuming that machines are stupid, the artist’s praxis would be a creative quest against the impositions of the
apparatus, against conformity, even if he was unaware of the scope of his acts.
On the last page of his book Towards a Philosophy of Photography, after an interesting discussion of ideas
related to man’s relationship with the camera, Flusser concludes: In other words: the philosophy of
photography is necessary because it is a reflection on the possibilities of living freely in a world dominated by
apparatuses; to reflect upon the ways in which, despite everything, it is possible for human beings to give
significance to their lives in face of the chance necessity of death. Such a philosophy is necessary because it is
the only form of revolution left open to us.
TRANSLATION: MARTIN DALE