Photography and Images of Political Powers

Ali Alışır – “Virtual Places” – 2011
Today there are such chaos and thought turbulences that cannot be imaged. Opposite concepts and opposite poles are intermingling with each other. The concepts of virtual and reality emerge as two phenomena that have the surprising potential of transforming into each other, rather than being opposites.
The era in which we live in, changes its shell rapidly from reality to virtual and hyper reality; from space to cyberspace; from society and state to cyber culture and cybernetic states.
This rapid change, together with proliferated communication networks and mediatical effect, causes the information and news to appear and disappear swiftly.
In modern period photography, which typically gets strength from a rational reality, completed its transition to the level of computational image. In computational platform meanings of images are changeable (and it is not even required to have “true” or “real” knowledge on the basis). Furthermore, from this point on it will not be possible to compare it to any kind of reality.
Digital image production, in fact, gives us a lot of hints about today’s political structure. This “revitalization”, which is actualized by codified images, enables the reality to reproduce forever.
In this stage of reproduction, processing the computational codes are easier compared to past; because, simply changing the order of a number within the code would be sufficient to affect the entire result. For example, in order to obtain the negative image it is enough to change “1” with “0” within the image.
Today this simple shifting technique for images is commonly used within media to change the real meaning of an image. The meaning of an image is destructed by changing it with the other image next to it (1-0-1-1-0-1). In a way, this means to manipulate the reality.
News contents and their broadcasting are subjected to change in accordance with these codes. The events in television are presented as if they are the same thing with the description of the events (the places of 1 and 0 were shifted). Also, along with the effect of the mass communication mediums, it became possible to reproduce reality artificially.
No doubt, this has become a kind of weapon in the hands of political powers holding the power of mass communication mediums. Political powers are not getting strength from a rational ideology anymore. Competence became a kind of manipulation skill in the hands of political powers. Political structures, which constantly produce pictures through mass communication mediums and ruin images, destroyed the difference between reality and artificial.
Throughout this process the functions of photography such as documenting past and reflecting reality, were dominated by the power of manipulating history and the present day.
These moving and fixed images, which are codified by photography and have almost all features of reality, are reproduced by political powers all the time, like a virus. The original one, on the other hand, lost its power and content and transformed into copies. The connection between history and social memory weakened.
Economy and policy became the parts of this resolution.  Virtual economy took the place of real economy; and new media order took the place politics.
This situation makes it impossible to retrieve what is real. There is no particular model any more that is unknowledged and produces fictional and new images. For this very reason it is not the target of reality at all.
It is no more possible to stop the information flow of the mass communication mediums, which are broadcasting all the time. It is not the case that turning off television or plugging off the computer will annihilate the existence of electricity or network; likewise, today it becomes impossible to reproduce images and remove their manipulative effect on society.
Ali Alışır – 2011
ali@alialisir.com /   alialisir@hotmail.com
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