Images of a Fractal Century I

Chapter I

Ali Alışır- “Virtual Places” – 2011
Until 20th century the most important feature of art was to “truly” reflect the thing that society sees as “valuable”. Along with the invention of photograph the unity of imitation-representation and space-meaning in painting, disappeared. Photograph art that once caused to the emergence of new art movements; in due course, has deprived the painting of being unique by taking pictures and replicating it. By doing so, it enabled a work of art to be visible not only in its original place, but in many places.
It was now possible to print a work of art in a museum on calendars, posters, books, and t-shirts. The work that was “unique” in its original place loses meaning once its image is replicated and place is changed.  The meaning of the work is no more same with the one in the museum; it gained a disparate meaning within daily life. For example, the meaning of Da Vinci’s painting La Jakond in a butcher, is not same with the one in museum any more. Intermingling of these meanings brought about the discussions on the effect of copy on its original.
News papers, magazines, computer and television screens superseded photograph, which was once effective on the image of the work of art and able to reproduce it. As a result, today, the dominance of images in our lives jumped out of the dimension of art and emerged within daily life. Images started to show more reality than they represent (they even show the ones that we do not want to see). Contents of the images are spread out through the screens that are under the hegemony of technology and media corporations.  This bombardment of image is composed of a reality, in which images supersedes the original, like in the case of painting.  That is, it can be argued that a reality, of which content is twisted, started to dominate our lives.
(Today public opinion researches determine policy, tests determine advertisements, consumer forums determine songs in radio, questionnaires determine the end and posters of movies, ratings determine television shows).
Maybe the biggest change that has ever been experienced from past to present is the fact that today the control, production and distribution of images are transformed into digital processors, artificial memories, and technological communication mediums.
For instance;
“While 2 Barbie dolls are sold in every 2 seconds; every day 2.8 billions of people work for less than 2 dollars. Also, while one million Coca Cola productions are sold per hour in the world, there are two millions of unemployed in Europe. “
While constructing contents of such real news, which make comparisons of two different poles; and distributing visual templates, power and control are not coming from the source of the news anymore. The fact that control of images is out of our power, constantly decreases and changes the density of this reality. Intermingled images and their continuity lose the significance of the news in process of time.
In this sense, technological progress of image production gives us a risk warning about its political, religious, and economical structures as well.
The facts that we cannot find anything to see among this plethora of images and nothing leaves mark on us, emerge as a result of the fractal structure of this system. Therefore, art, which produces images far from reality, becomes a projection of this system.
Past has the features of documenting reality as it is and using it as evidence; these are transformed into a power of manipulation in modern period. Photography does not deal with the contents anymore its scope is the image. It started to change the meaning and substance of “essence” by reproducing reality.
Because of the bombardment of images people are alienated from themselves; and nowadays they experience deformation in their perception of reality. The short but rapid history of photography drives our memories into a corner through the development in media network and technology.
And we are only at the beginning of this century….
Ali Alışır /
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